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Dirt correspondent Nick Hamilton is a whirlwind of ideas and creativity when it comes to anything to do with bikes. Here he tells us why he thinks dual slalom racing should be king again.

From Dirt Issue 147 - May 2014

Words by Nick Hamilton. Photos by Duncan Philpott.

Two of something? A fight between two? Or two bikes raced head to head, ridden by two riders, on two tracks, twice. This is Dual.

I have organised lots of Dual Slalom races over the past few years. It all started back in 2009 at Steve Peat’s Wharncliffe Weekender charity do. The lads had built a pimp new dual track with a great series of berms and tables but no one was stepping up to actually run the race. At the time, I had never raced dual let alone organised a race before, however, I loved it; the format, the racing, the competition. I was hooked. Dual then became a staple of mate’s races because it can be so simple to do. A few cut down pieces of overflow pipe for posts laid out in a some woods or on grassy field, two stopwatches, some mates and you have yourself a race. Add in some bike lights and you can do it all winter shortening those long miserable nights.

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With our regular mate’s races in Sheffield dual still proves to be a perennial favourite. This winter has been particularly tough with some of the worst Wednesday night weather we have ever had to cope with. During the second race a blizzard blew in resulting in near white out conditions and hypothermic racers. We’ve had biblical rain storms, gale force winds which stopped riders in their tracks, and yet still dozens of riders turn out to race. There is a strange draw that is about much more than picking up series points; dual seems to have a unique joy that racers can’t get enough of. Peaty puts it down to three things, “It’s a short track, with intense racing and you get two goes".

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I’m trying to lead the renaissance of dual in the best way I know how; getting people to race it. Once you’ve dualled, there really is no going back, you just need more. From grassy hills to buff berms, the fun is in the format. With Steve coming second at the Sea Otter dual last year it demonstrates that dual will never get old.