The clocks have changed in the UK and will soon in the rest of the northern half of the globe. Now we are well and truly heading into the winter season and the only thing left to look forward to until spring is Christmas dinner.
So, what went down in October? Red Bull Rampage rounded out the month in an anxiety-free live feed for the viewers, many bike parks shut their doors but many others are looking fresh-to-death, we also see more girls on bikes and tougher times for privateer racers.
The most successful Utah huck-fest in history?
Watching the Red Bull Rampage over the last few years has been a mix of wind-stoppage boredom and anxious sweat as rider after rider pummeled themselves into the floor. This year was refreshing, except Lacondeguy's stylish double-flip dismount and a few bobbles like Brandon 'I can't make the corner' Semenuk, things went off without a hitch. No wind stops, no heli-evacs and no squeamish viewings of horrific crash replays through my fingers – fantastic. This did leave the internet wide open to abuse the judging and say the course has become too easy, though.
UK Bike Parks
Goodbye summer, hello winter
With most lift-accessed resort shutting down at the end of October (see below) the UK scene can't tell the difference between summer and winter. The UK is looking better than ever as a riding destination: Bike Park Wales launched all-new trail called Root Manoeuvers and re-opens a refreshed 'Enter the Dragon' to the public. The all-new Leeds Bike Park
is opening any day now and Revolution, Llangollen, Black Mountains, Windhill and Woody's have all been adding and shaping trails. Add to this the vast number of pump tracks and parks opening all over the country, is the UK now the world leader when it comes to year-round and varied riding?
Southern Hemisphere Shredding
Goodbye winter, and hello summer at the Christchurch Adventure Park
Out of darkness cometh light. The Southern Hemisphere is kicking off right now especially in New Zealand. Queenstown Bike Park is full speed ahead and like a phoenix from the ashes, Christchurch's brand new Adventure Park which was burned down in a forest fire shortly after opening earlier this year is set to re-open on the 5th December.
Women on Bikes
Red Bull Fox Hunt and Hopetech Enduro get hundreds of girls racing
In such a male-dominated sport it's always great to see more women on bikes. The Red Bull Fox Hunt
sold out to ladies in 12 minutes, and the Hopetech Women's Enduro
saw 222 riders compete at Gisburn despite biblical conditions. "Big whoop," you say, but compared to an EWS race that attracts 40-50 female attendees, a WC DH with around 20-30, and the BDS series struggling to fill 300 places in ALL categories, this is great news for the future of the sport.
UCI tightens up the regs
2016 saw the number of points needed to qualify for a WC bumped up from 20 to 30. 2018 sees the number of riders able to qualify for the final dropped from 80 to 60
. "Its a conspiracy by Red Bull and the UCI to kill off the privateers!"
Personally, I think it is a good thing – there aren't any privateers rocking up to a Formula One race. This hierarchy puts more emphasis on the lower tiers of racing and promotes riding up the ranks to get to the top. Our current situation is one where pinners can lay down a good run somewhere then go and race a WC. The future will put more emphasis on smaller races like national series and continental championships – the BDS series in 2017 struggled to get enough entries and when was the last time you heard a big shout about the gold medal winner of the European DH champs – arguably the second biggest race in the world? Hell, we might even get to the point where national level racers can turn pro without having to points chase all over the globe.
Northern Hemisphere Lift Accessed Bike Parks
Goodbye my summer, goodbye my friend.
While most French lift-accessed bike parks gave up and went for an extended holiday to the Cote d'Azur two months ago, many other bike parks have been trying to keep riders happy and earn some money in Andorra, Italy, Germany, Austria, North America and Canada have been open until the end of October. Sadly, most resorts will be on lock-down after this weekend until next spring, unless we see a lack of snow and excess of dust again this Christmas in the Alps; after the last two winters the parks might be fully ready to open to bikes for the festive season.
Mojo and Fox
Long time distribution and service center Mojo parts ways with Fox Suspension
We're still not sure of the full story here, but last time I spoke to Chris Porter he said "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." It seemed like a rash decision from one of the parties, so we can only assume somebody will be losing out along the line. Good news for Mojo fans is that they will be working on some aftermarket parts and continuing the GeoMetron side of the business in the future. Good news for Fox customers is that Silverfish have taken on the role of distribution and after-sales service in the UK.