The Honey Series Rd 3 Avery Woods
The 5th May 2013 saw a little known piece of Hampshire woodland opened to riders for the first time. Avery Woods near Alton was ‘discovered’ by local and Gravity Project godfather Adam Bowden while out on a sunday stroll. Seeing the potential in this stretch of hillside he approached the landowner who was happy to use it for a downhill. Over the winter a handful of volunteers/slaves turned it from a thick steep hillside of brambles and scrub into a tight and twisty dh run of about a minute long.
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The Honey Series is going from strength to strength with this round (despite being on a bank holiday) attracting 70 entries, although 2 entries were from 1 rider who decided to ride both a DH rig and a hardtail over 6 runs!! Asking for punishment! Many riders took the opportunity to practice the day before, especially because this was such a new venue.
The track was dry and dusty thanks to a large helping of warm sun in the days before and it was getting better and better as it became increasingly ridden in. Being so dry it was quite washboard like in places so your suspension was working hard. You started at the top of the hill in thick woodland surrounded by a wash of bluebells straight into a tight off camber section through 3 tightly spaced trees followed by some fast paced pedal strokes to launch you across some tricky roots which led into a narrow ribbon through the scrub. Along the way there are a couple of jumps which lead into a very tight section of turns, a few more frenzied pedal strokes then you have to get set up for the jump “through” the hedge into the field of spectators. The jump provided a great opportunity for some whips and spectator viewing.
Many spectators lined the course with the now standard heckling as riders rushed past. One group went a little further by bringing broken bike frames with them turning them into giant musical triangle like objects which could be heard up and down the hill. With course times of about 1 minute race times were tight which gave some close battles throughout the field with many riders changing places each run.
I would like to take a moment on behalf of everyone just to say what a great job the marshals, medics and organisers have done and do every event. Gravity Project events just run like clockwork (until a rider took out the expensive timing gear!). So much work goes on behind the scenes and it can be quite easy to just turn up, ride and take for granted what has been done. Many many hours are spent behind the scenes to pull these events off and the dedication of those involved makes GP events first class. I know most people do but if you can just say thanks to those who have picked your bike up, put you back together or gave you your race number as it will be much appreciated.
Thankfully we were all lucky with the weather which was just glorious, the track was ready in time and as always the event was a big hit with spectators and riders alike. The 3rd round is over in this 5 race series which now heads to another new venue, Queen Elizabeth Country Park. The QECP Collective have been busy behind the scenes building a DH course which will be another great new venue, and it will hopefully provide more close riding action. Ride On!