The Unofficial UK Hardtail Champs, June 20/21 2009
Yes it's on again, this is the third year, we gate crashed ( Blame Billy for that one) the UK National Champs in 07 at Rheola, you know the one where peatys foot fell off in the starwars section, anyway, Ben Irons went to hospital, the rest of us had beer, and Nathan ball got shitfaced as he won, and Bevin got Si Paton in a headlock, that was a good year. Thought we got Barred from NPS events after that, was only 8 of us. So roll on to 2008 and i tried it on for Bala, no chance, not letting us in, turns out we didnt get banned, well sort of, you see there is NO Official class for Hardtail, hence the Unofficial Title, as we dont officially exist none of us have that Race licence thingy, no point getting one, as we dont exist we cant pick up race points, and you need points to do a National.Cue some photos, thats 2007 with Alex Marshall 2nd, Nathan Ball 1st, Shaun Bevin 3rd and a worried Si Paton, BC where good sports about us and even gave them a medal.
Pic above is last years race at Mynydd Du, as we couldnt get in the Nationals i Hi-jacked the Welsh Champs, which turned out to be better than 07, more riders, and i engineered it so the Hardtails got a beer as they crossed the finish line, cant do that this year as it's an upside down venue, everything is at the top, you race then uplift back to the top, so beer at the finish line wont happen. Anyway last years podium then, 3rd Ryan Lewis, 2nd Lee Hamer, 1st Lee Huskingson, and even a video check this http://video.mpora.com/watch/RUFeGqjW5/ and watch Huskingson bat a tree.
We keep things simple in Hardtail, none of this age and gender that everyone else has to do. General rules for HT are aged 14-100 male or female, and thats it, if the concept of being beaten by a teenage girl is to much for you ( could happen) go hide in your safe pigeon hole age/gender specific class instead. We take anyone and we all race together, makes it more interesting that way. As we dont follow normal rules, well awards are a bit random, 123 yes, but coming last, breaking yourself or the bike can be noted as prize worthy, we make it up as we go, and being a top flite sponsered rider dosent mean your gonna bag all the prizes, not giving gear to people that cant use it and flog it on Ebay, keep it random, we played Race Plate Russian Roulette last year for the posh prizes.
So Husky has returned the winners race jacket (Billys creation) and things are set for this years race, this will be held at The Uk Bike Park on 20/21 june, www.ukbikepark.com to enter is simple, go to the Bike Parks website and book online for there Round 4 race, it may not state so on the website, but Round 4 is the Hi-jacked race, £55 for the weekend. Have a video of Rd 2 there check this www.pinkbike.com/video/74467/
Look at that, the start of the prize fund, i went for afternoon tea at www.ridinghighuk.co.uk and in between packing the van for Fort William they sorted me out with some prizes, so we have 3 Spank Bitch sticks, 6 sets of lock grips, 2 1Timer stems and a Spank Subrosa Saddle, i only asked for some t'shirts and stickers, all the stickers are going to Fort Bill, they are pitted next to Kenda morewood so i reckon they might resticker Rennies bike (good for a laugh), but being serious for a moment, this is a big deal for us, i have contacted a load of companies, and to even get a reply is something, but Chris from RHUK gets what i am up to, and reckons a few of his team riders SHOULD be there, hell he might race himself, but getting people like this involved is a big deal, i am waiting for final conformation from a few others, the new management at TFtuned has promised a few lube kits for the podium and the winner will get a FREE fork service, Damian from Upgrade/dmr is having a rummage in the warehouse and has promised to help out, again they see what we are doing, Jamie from wideopenmag is sorting out some t'shirts and sending in some riders ( reckon jamie will race himself) looks like there will be something for 10th place from Torico, and i have been asking billy to rob the dirt office cupboard for prizes and stickers, Billy cant race this year as he has to cover a world cup race at Maribor, no news if anyone is going to defend the honour of dirtmag this year, if wideopen and singletrack and Mbuk all turn up and race they will never hear the end of it.
So whats it about ? it's a race, it's fun, you dont need several grands worth of bike to race. You see hardtails are where it began, yes of course a susser is faster and have taken over. The hardtail has never gone away, it's just out of fashion, companies want you to buy a susser that will be out of date in a year or two, fine if you have the money. But how did most of you get going ? was it the hardtail ! my first race bike was second hand and cost £250 had it a year an half and sold it for £220, thats cheap racing. You dont need thousands of pounds to get going, most people drop into HT for a season, get some skills down then move on to sussers, it gets people into the sport, bums on saddles, some of us just have to much fun and cant be bothered with a springer, and there is not a track in the UK that cant be raced on a Hardtail, we proved that last year, me and Steve Larkin did the Fort William Enduro race on the World Cup track, and we are doing it this year. Yes not as fast, but then it proves you can race on the cheap.
And we decided to have our own little Champs do, well there is a class for every age group and gender group, but not for us, we where feeling left out and unloved by the race world, and a few companies are watching with interest, when you look at the big picture, uplift issues, health and safety issues, price increase's, lack of big races in the south of England, well it's getting expensive, myself and a few others have been looking at 4X racing, it's cheap and there are several tracks down south, if you can only have one bike, then the humble HT is ideal, it will serve double duty for DH or 4X. Welcome to the world of the budget racer, welcome to the world of the unlicenced unprofessional racer, welcome to racing for kicks and fun, ditch the susser, drop in have a go.... if your hard enough !