Mountain Trax – Vauxhall Motors Cycling Team Twentyfour12 12 Hour Solo
Report by Tim Dunford
Last Saturday July 27 Tim Dunford raced Twentyfour12 at Newnham Park, Plymouth, resplendent in his new custom 12 Hour National Championships jersey. Here is his report on a great weekend for his team:
I’d not been to Newnham Park for a couple of seasons so was really looking forward to Twentyfou12 as it’s one of my favourite venues. A quick practice lap on Friday evening confirmed the course was as good as ever with an excellent mix of punishing climbs, fast, rocky descents and everything in between. My favourite section was Cottage Return which starts with a couple of rocky bomb holes before entering a blindingly fast, dusty and rooty singletrack descent, the grin factor was very high!
Midday on Saturday and the sense of anticipation was tangible as Matt Carr did a great job as MC as usual. We started behind the quad bike with a short neutralised section before we were let off the leash. I started well but decided to let the riders doing teams go – not sure I could keep that pace up for 12 hours solo! For the first couple of laps I was behind one of the Mondraker riders. I did start getting a little nervous as I was pushing quite hard but we were locked at the same distance. I kept cool though and to what felt like a pace I could maintain. I reeled him in around the third lap as he made a jelly baby stop!
Once in the lead I focussed on being smooth and eating and drinking. The course was pretty rocky so punctures were a risk. We kept stops to a minimum, I took on a new bottle each lap with a USN gel attached to keep the fuel levels topped up.
The dark clouds that gathered mid afternoon only resulted in a few light showers and by evening the clouds cleared and we were treated to a beautiful sunset. With my super-bright Exposure lights fitted I headed on into the darkness.
As the end loomed I was close to lapping second place rider Ajay Pandit, a multiple winner of the Yak Attack race, who reportedly weighs less than 50kg. I caught him at the bottom of the climb, which was unfortunate as I weigh a little more! Perhaps Ajay was under team orders not to let me past as on seeing me he sped up the climb as if we were just starting a cross country race! I decided against chasing and rolled round the last lap enjoying the sweet sections of singletrack.
In the end I managed 20 laps, around 140 miles so a good ride. The event was brilliantly organised as usual, in an amazing setting and if you haven’t been, make sure it’s on your list for next year.
Big thanks to my teammate Ben for looking after me and for all the encouragement. Finally, a big thanks to all our sponsors for their continued generous support.