It’s a drizzly Saturday afternoon on the 10th March 2018; we find ourselves in Sheffield town centre, UK. Amongst the hustle and bustle of the high-street shoppers, the scene is set for some elbow-to-elbow dual slalom action, with an eclectic mix of some of the biggest names in World Cup mountain biking, thrown in with some local heroes and a dusting of 50:01 hooligans.
The event is part of Sheffield's Outdoor City Weekender
, another reason why the city is leading the way in promoting city-based outdoor lifestyles. In previous years the racing has taken place during daylight hours; this year’s schedule has been pushed back into dusk to add another dimension. Hope Technology are stepping in, providing the lumens to turn night into day.
The course is moderately moist and runs from the top of Hallam square, across the front of the main Hallam university building and down to the bottom of Howard Street. The event has been made possible by Sheffield City Council and organised by ThisIsSheffield
The men’s line-up includes Sheffield’s own Steve Peat, his fellow 50:01 crew including Josh ‘Ratboy’ Bryceland and Josh ‘Loose Dog’ Lewis, along with 2017 Redbull Hardline winner Craig ‘Seven’ Evans and ‘right hand’ Sam Dale. Matt and Dave Hockenhull will also be taking part along with last year’s reigning champion Brett Penfold and second place Ben Moore. Elite downhill pinner Jono Jones is making his way up from Woburn, too. Team Cotic will be represented by the Rocket Man himself, James Swinden, who will doubtlessly be chased down Straightline Chay Granby.
The women’s line-up is headed up by last year’s winner Carrie Poole who held her 4-month-old son aloft on the podium. She’ll be chased down by last year’s runners-up Anya Tolwinska, Ellie Dewdeny and Katy Thorpe. BMX superstar Chloe Taylor will be challenging for the top step alongside downhiller Becci Skelton.
The chosen ones sign in before Nick Hamilton, event mastermind lays down the rider brief
Brett Penfold, the man to beat, sporting the number 1 plate
Bringing the sport to the masses
Lads and Lasses outcome boards