VC10 / Hup riders battle the elements at Merida Brass Monkeys – Round 1 2014

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Driving rain and rivers of mud were what the riders faced at the first round of the Merida Brass Monkeys XC Enduro mountain bike race series on Sunday.

Hup’s Creative Director, Phil Fryer Ward, describes what the course at Minley Manor in Hampshire was like to race over.
I was racing for VC10 in the two-hour category in what turned out to be extremely tough conditions. The inclement weather did not put off the racers with nearly 80 riders at the start. Lap one was very fast paced and the quicker riders soon carved out a lead over the rest of the field. The torrential rain affected the course with many sections quickly becoming unridable and by lap two, chain suck and dismounts for running became the norm.

I had to dig really deep to meet the cut-off time limit and managed to get in a third lap with more than 10 minutes to spare. By now, the course marshals were out changing the route to try to ensure that the competitors made it round. It was a real testament to the efficiency of the organisers that they attempted this. By the end, it looked like my bike and I had picked up half the mud in Hampshire. And, despite technical issues throughout the second and third laps, I managed to come in 19th overall. I was really very pleased with the result as it meant was able to take away some valuable series points.

Other VC10 riders Pete and Patrick Christopher also braved the challenging conditions, both managing 3 laps. Pat achieved a superb second place on the day in the juniors with Pete 21st in the 2 hour veteran category.

Round two will take place on Sunday, December 14, at Tunnel Hill in Pirbright, Surrey.

Photo courtesy of Kevin Sheldrake

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