by Darren Styles
Saturday 15th August saw riders from the Revel Outdoors and C6 Bikes Teams embark on the trip south to tackle the 2015 running of the Brighton Big Dog XC endurance mountain bike event. A last minute change in plans due to Justin Sanderson falling ill on Friday night meant a change of category for Iain Kemp, Will Mitcham and Darren Styles, who with the kind help of the organisers were allocated a start in the teams event. Richard Muchmore and Garry Houghton (C6 Bikes) were together in the Veteran pairs.
The event itself hasn’t been running for many years in comparison to other XC Enduro events, but still boasts an entry list of big names and teams. For the 5 of us it was more a case of riding somewhere different, Richard being the only rider to have done the event before so he had some idea of what the lap was like. Held in Stanmer Park on the edge of Brighton, the course itself was a mix of lung bursting climbs, roots, drops and off camber sections that tested the skills of every rider on course.
After an eventful practice lap, which involved me having a little lay down in a steep section, the start riders, Iain and Richard lined up for the start. Conditions were good, dry and warm with a slight breeze helping to dry the damp sections out on course.
After a start loop, which took in the first big climb, and back down to the arena, the riders settled into a good pace and seemed to be back at changeover in no time.
Myself, Will and Iain had a great time, each of us settling into a good pace that saw us in a fight around 13th place, not bad when a lot of the “team” entrants raced with 4 riders to our 3. After cycling through 2 laps each, Will had to step back due too illness. This meant Iain would need to do a 4th lap, something which really didn’t bother him as if he can’t ride his bike, the only thing better would be a good pint in his hand!
Richard and Garry on the other hand, were on fire, battling for the lead with 2 other teams, and riding very fast and consistently for the entire race. Richard never failed to smile, and Garry wished his partner was a touch slower so he could get a bit more rest! At the last changeover, Richard handed over to Garry less than a minute behind the lead team, so with his race face on, Garry set off in pursuit. At some point in the lap he snatched the lead, and kept it to the end, crossing the line with a nice gap and a big cheesy grin.
After a meal in a local pub, much banter, plans for 2016 are being hatched, with hopefully a few more of the team coming along!
Thanks as always to John Styles (aka randomoldbloke) for the pictures.