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Pearce Cycles Hopton Gravity Enduro race report

Marc Beaumont wins the first Pearce Cycles Gravity Enduro at Hopton while a 40 year old loses his virginity!

Words and Photos: Steve “The Butcher” Walker

40 year old virgin seeks golden Labrador…

I’m 40 and a virgin. However I do have two kids and have been married for 8 years. The virgin part is in relation to racing at a ‘gravity enduro’ and I needed the Labrador to act as a guide dog, as I did my race runs completely blind, which was stupid, but at the same time exciting…

After spending most of the year riding a 20” bmx race bike I (and the rest of the heathens in the DIRT office) thought it was about time I got my skinny ass (I’m now quite thin again) back into the woods to ride root, mud and off camber, down-a-hill (or so I thought).
You know that t.v. programme, an idiot abroad? Well my situation was similar, but different. I had to drive a white van to Hopton woods, with zero budget on a bike with the biggest wheels in the world (it was actually a specialized camber 29er) and nobody to take photos.

So my story begins…

The fact is anyone who rides a 5/6 inch travel trail bike, have been waiting for the Pearce Cycles people to run an ‘enduro’ type race for a long time. They run the best DH races in the country, but would they succeed with the logistical nightmare of an ‘enduro’ type format?

‘SOMEONE LEFT THE CAKE OUT IN THE RAIN’…

The cake was wet. It must of rained Hopton way and rained quite bad, but thankfully our cake was still quite edible. Now this here cake had four layers (well actually stages). The race format consisted of 4 timed race runs. Stage one followed by stage two, then back to stage one and yeah you guessed it back over to stage two. No seeding runs were needed (which is good in my opinion) as this was a one day charity event to raise money for Jason Brennan who was badly injured at a DH race late last year.

STAGE 1 (to hell and back)…

Stage one was a mixture of ‘trail centre’ type riding with a twist (and lots of them). There were no sections that required a FULL drop of the ‘circus’ seat-posts most people are using and thankfully the ground wasn’t wacker plated and filled with rocks for drainage. It was left muddy, slippery and natural. But here comes the biggest twist of all. Stage ‘uno’ was epic…the fast boys were just under the ten minute mark, with most people hanging around 10-12! That’s 12 mins, flat bollock out, on your lactic thresh hold, with some brutal, lonnnnnggggg up-hills that you had to attack flat out. A lot moaned. At times it was hell, but I loved it…

Stage 2 (you just canna beet a good ROOTin)

This stage was nothing like stage one (apart from one up hill). It didn’t resemble a ‘trail centre’ in anyway and had more roots (well the top half anyway) than Jack’s beanstalk. Stage 2 actually justified owning a six inch travel bike as it was slick, rough, fast and scary. Think old school downhill in its finest form and (in my opinion) a stage that required a full face helmet. It was crazy, (on a bike with 100 mm of travel) but good. I loved this stage also with no complaints from anyone.

WALKING ON THE MOON…

It’s hard to walk on the moon. Its something to do with the atmospheric pressure (or lack of it). Enduro type mountain bike racing is kind of the same. It lacks atmosphere. This is down to the fact that everyone is spread out over the hill. It’s great if you are competing, but lacking if you are a spectator. Bring in air horns and cowbells and bring them in fast…

TEACHERS PETssssss.

The Pearce team did a fantastic job of their first attempt of enduro racing. They are simply the best in the business at organising mountain bike racing and would never require an ‘off sted’ inspection.

GIVE ME MORE, GIVE ME MORE (did u get very far)…

Enduro racing is what we need. Everything about it is what mountain bike racing should be. Bike skills, bike time, fitness and all on one bike that you can use on a Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday…

MAN ON FIRE…
It’s impossible to mention riders at an endure race when you’re riding yourself. However Marc Beaumont was on fire. He pissed it. It’s good to see a rider of his status at a grass roots event. Tell your mates Marc.

E-BOMBING…

This is what we need to do. E-mail Pearce cycles. We need more of the same (but more often). Dave and Lyndsey Pearce are like the Mother and Father of the mountain bike race world. If you pester your parents enough, they will usually (if they can) get you what your asking for.

Pretty, pretty please…

‘butch’ (who isn’t so pretty).

(Virgin on the ridiculous, Butch was flying in his first ever Enduro race, a 2nd and two 3rd places but pulled up on the last stage to take photos for this report, thanks very mutch Butch!)

Pc12 Gravity Enduro 211012 Event Ranking

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