Riding or Racing? Discuss...

Mountain Biking Magazine



Riding or Racing? Discuss…

Dirt designer Jon Gregory poses the question: Riding or Racing?

I just wanted to raise a point to discuss and debate. The Chicksands 4X track was changed for ‘better racing’ around this time last year. I have been a regular visitor to the bike park for the last three years or so and I have definitely seen a drop-off in attendance of riders every time I have been since. The new 4X track may have been improved in terms of making the racing more watchable and exciting – but at what cost? Personally I don’t want to ride it anymore as it has lost its flow and essentially it is not as fun. Friends have expressed similar opinions.

It used to be balls out/flat out and now it has become awkward and it is a real battle to carry any serious speed. You need to pedal like you are racing all the way down and there are a couple of really awkward jumps thrown in for good measure.

I guess I want to throw the question out there to any other regular riders and visitors to see what their opinions are and the people involved as to why it is the way it is? There is no national being held there this year so I can’t really see the appeal in making it a ‘racing’ track. I could just be looking back at the old track through rose tinted glasses but it used to be way more fun. I’m sure of that. Is the pull of close by Woburn a bigger and better one?…I stood looking at the 4X track this weekend at Chicksands and apart from a couple of local talented 4X specialists nobody was riding it.

On another note, the new and improved dual track is where I prefer to hang out these days…providing hours of shoulder to shoulder berm sliding fun. It more than makes up for things personally. Top marks to the Chicksands team on getting this one so right. I also bumped in to World Cup 4X racer Tom Dowie at the weekend and he was up there with a small team putting the finishing touches to the all new pump track on the freeride side of the hill. Once they have had some rain to put some final shaping work in it should be good to pump. By the looks of things this should hopefully help pull in the riding masses again.

Jonathan Gregory.

Let us know what you think below:

Eliot Simmons taking the pro line over the infamous triple on the Chicksands 4X track


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