Howard Street Dual - slalom invades the centre of Sheffield
On hillsides lit by headlamps and in the dark forests of South yorkshire, Nick Hamilton has forged his reputation as the Mates' Race King. On Saturday he finally had his day in the spotlight as he took his famous Dual formula to the centre of the Steel City.
Dual slalom may have fallen out of favour in the racing mainstream but it's probably the most relatable race formula out there. Two riders start and the winner stays on, keep going until the fastest guy is the last man standing.
Despite this, there's probably only one city in Britain that could host a dual slalom race that runs right through the centre and get away with it - Sheffield. With the backing of 'Mayor' Jon Dallow and as part of The Outdoor City Weekender, the ThisIsSheffield crew were allowed to close off Howard Street from Hallam University (big props to those guys for letting 40 rowdy mountain bikers rip through their grounds) down to the train station and hold what could be the world's first Urban Dual Slalom race.
The course was compact but filled with obstacles. The starting stair set seems eager to rip off chains and there weren't many riders who didn't have to stop and refit theirs at least once in the day. A set of wooden rollers then led riders up a short rise onto a stepped grass bank with slalom turns.
Next came the dreaded carnage corner. The left hand lane saw riders skittering off some steps round a tight concrete plinth, the right hand lane had them dropping off the bank and taking a wider corner on some rubber matting. Riders in both lanes were grateful for the bouldering mats used as padding.
The course then got back on the grass with a couple of kickers, some swooping flat turns, a road crossing then a dive down a bank across the finish. Total time was around 30 seconds - one mistake and your day was over.
Seeding was run on the riders' right hand track and fastest man down was Brett Penfold with a 23.91. He pushed Steve Peat into second by 0.04 seconds with Orange's Ben Moore in third.
In the women's seeding Carrie Poole grabbed top billing with 27.65 followed closely by Anya Tolwinska and Ellie Dewdney.
With the crowd assembled there was only one thing to do, watch the gate and go racing!
Congrats to everyone that put on the event and thanks to the 'The Outdoor City Weekender' and Sheffield Hallam University for sponsoring the event.