UK Gravity Enduro - Round 5 Eastridge Forest. Race Report




  • More barbecues than you can shake a stick at, freshly shot, plucked (that’s with a ‘P’ Mr Read!) and butchered goose, stargazing to shame Sir Patrick Moore, a midnight birthday count down and some of The Midlands finest trails. It could only mean one thing, team Twelve50 were back in town for the fifth and final round of the 2013 UK Gravity Enduro Series.
    With an unavoidable mid season venue change, Eastridge once again answered the call and rounded out what can only be described as an awesome seasons racing. Stretching the format with an additional sixth stage come race day Sunday, we faced old favourites, some with freshly cut corners to keep us on our toes. Saturdays seeding stage was repeated twice on Sunday, prompting extra attention paid to the stage that would bring nearly half the weekends racing. With a good mix of fast, loose, tight, technical, rocky and rooty trails, the woods lived up to their reputation and seemed to please everyone who came down the hill. Conditions were mixed and although there was rain at intervals throughout the weekend (we were spared the monsoon conditions of the previous rounds qualifying at Dyfi), the dry and dusty steeps just seemed to get dryer and dustier and were blown to bits come the end of the day Sunday. Thanks go to the Eastridge Trail Partnership whose crew of volunteers grafted hard to get the woods spick and span for us. I hope we haven't left too much repair work for you. 
    As team members arrived from Friday through Saturday, we all set about learning the tracks. After setting up the pits and seeing off a couple of hours of rain I set off for a quick lap late Friday afternoon. Returning with reports of which corners were taped where and another circuit before Saturdays seeding we were all eager for Sundays start time. 
    With team numbers depleted, due to over exposure to lycra and the injuries a full season racing at the razors edge of Gravity Enduro can bring, those left standing gave it their all. Naturally, this included lining the finish arena armed with horns, megaphones and anything else that came to hand to cheer, heckle and generally whip the gathered crowd in to a frenzy as one by one, the racers completed their lap of the stages. Mascot Reggie Dog did his bit for team morale and was looking handsome in the Twelve50 colours. 
    The loop was more compact that any of the previous rounds and saw us using the same climb several times throughout the day. Although a little tedious, it allowed the team to pass each other and compare times, crashes and new lines as we moved from stage to stage. Another admirable set of results including top tens and twenties led us in to the final standings and awards, which can be found here http://www.ukgravityenduro.com/ukge-2013-overall-series-ranking-points/. Be assured these are the results of spilt blood, sweat, tears and too many beer can chickens consumed to count. Congratulations to the mens Elite winner Alex Stock who just pipped Neil Donahue after his absence from round four and Tracey Mosely in womens who has turned anything she’s touched this year to gold!
     Notable mention for our very own Cheri Mills who deservedly picked up the award for friendliest female of the series. If this lady doesn't put a brew in your hand and/ or a smile on your face within two minutes of meeting then you're probably dead.
    Sunday evening was party time, to celebrate the summers hard work. The hardcore partied in to the night, gathered around the Weber fire pit, fueled by delicious curries rustled up by the talented guys at The Billy Can.
    As ever, massive thanks to the team sponsors; Maxxis, Renthal, Osprey, PowerBar, Mavic, Weber and Fibrax. Faultless performance as expected. Special thanks to the Twelve50 chef, Des 'Keith Floyd' Ryan for keeping us well fed (the corn on the cob was pretty special) and Russ 'Face Fluff' Cosh for licking us all in to shape, running the slickest pit operation this side of Whitchurch.
    With the sub zero temperatures of the first round at Afan a distant memory, the nights are starting to close in and we're all setting sights on training regimes and winter races. I think I speak for everyone involved in the series when I thank the organiser Steve Parr and his team and say "Bring on next year!"

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