We heard about this race going down last weekend and it sounded like a good laugh. Friends getting together for a bit of fun racing before the Swedish winter fully sets in, Hanna is the better half of Mr Joe Bowman (he films This is Peaty by the way) and has raced dual with the This is Sheffield crew for ages. Great to see these races popping up, maybe we should do a series!?
What’s the one thing I miss most about living in England? Easy question – dual slalom races in Endcliffe Park with the This is Sheffield crew – Hanna Jonsson
Words: Hanna Jonsson Photos: Petri Paananen, Patrik Rising
Moving back to Stockholm a few years ago I realised that racing in this part of the world meant serious business. It’s all good to be serious but where was the fun? Where was the “I’m gonna smoke my mates racing down some flat grassy turns” – spirit? This had to be changed…. So together with my friend Lina Skoglund we set out on a mission – to create the Scandi version of the This is Sheffield dual races.
We have gone from a very tentative bunch of about 16 people, who made it out that grey November day two years ago, to triple the amount of racers, all sliding their way down our main ski hill in Stockholm last Sunday.
By now, Lina and I have pretty good routine setting up these events– Lina’s the pro-hook up marketing manager and I am the (wo)man with the plan. Our dual poles (that we bought from a farm shop for electric fences two years ago) have taken a few beatings. I have no idea how many have seen an early death due to excessive sliding, crashing and out of control racing. But rounding up the few ones left, together with some basic stopwatches, two walky-talkies and a notepad for writing down times, we were once again ready to go!
Last Sunday was ‘slightly’ different to our last dual race in April – glorious sunshine and summer heat had been washed away by November rain and grey skies. We couldn’t have been more excited – it was perfect dual weather! The flat, wet, grassy corners meant we were up for some slip-n-slide racing… and crashing.
Just as we’d finished setting the course, riders started turning up. As practice started more and more people were walking up the hill to join in on the fun. Families, girlfriends, boyfriends, kids – everyone was there to race, watch, cheer, take photos and help out! It’s cool to see that the concept of ‘mates races’ really has gained some momentum! We saw some very excited old faces (the ones that ask months in advance when the next race is) and we saw some slightly more nervous first timers. What’s so great about this concept is not only that it’s easy to organise but it is a race for everyone – beginners or experts, men and women, young and old. We had every category represented! We had so many riders we had to create a second race…
Practice saw some entertaining racing, awesome crashes, and plenty of sketchy riding. As the track got more and more bedded in it also got a lot slippier. It was turning into a proper slop-fest, and in instead of those tentative Swedes I saw when I first moved here, there were smiles, crashes and banter everywhere!
Quali divided the racers with the fastest 32 in the A-race and the slower ones in the B-race. It was tricky not to get over excited and slide out in the first few corners – first rounds saw some spectacular crashes. One guy even missed the last pole and rode straight into the timing-crew. It was carnage on two wheels and people were loving it.
As people were getting knocked out, the faster racers remained and created exciting and tight racing! After I don’t know how many riders racing down towards me (where I stood for the timing) in high speed and slightly out of control, sprinting past the finish lines inches away from me, we finally had a winner!
Yet again, in true Swedish spirit of equality, our spectacular prize table was any ones game. Top 3 – Niel Arnold, Daniel Rivera and Jimmy Nyman – got to pick a prize first. Then it was all down to the luck of the draw.
Thanks to a couple of poles, bit of organisation, and a bunch of stoked bike riders last Sunday was anything but grey! Sprits were high, crashes were everywhere and racing was on! Thanks to Lina for awesome teamwork (as per usual), Maria Nyholm for always giving us a helping hand and everyone who raced, cheered, helped out and made it such a good day! Also, massive thanks to our sponsors POC, Bikester Sverige, Addnature, Houdini, FiveTen and Kask of Sweden!
See you next time?