Sunday 25th August 2019Pics Marcin Bialas Photography
As the Pedalhounds Multi Stage Enduro Series approaches the season finale and Round 7 at Penshurst Bike Park, the racing hotted up at Round 6 in more ways than one. Aston Hill Bike Park in Buckinghamshire has been at the heart of mountain bike racing in the South of England for the past 22 years, with the Pedalhounds back on Aston Hill for its 3rd year. With the forecast set to be dry and sunny and temperatures in the thirty’s the racers were in for a treat with fast dry and dusty trails.
One thing Aston Hill isn’t lacking is gradient and thankfully for the riders that meant 3 laps of 3 challenging stages.Stage 1
was a mix of the XC trails with some running in the regular direction and others reversed. At just under 2 minutes it’s the longest stage of the series and full gas from the start. Riders hit the middle of the XC trail before heading into a set of fresh switchbacks - no berms here for those wanting more grip. Then the first sprint across the bottom of the 4X before diving into the mid part of the stage. Back on the gas and it’s a lung busting combination of pedaling and camber before the track swoops down into the final section, with more camber, a swooping left handed and on to the XC climb. Even though the racers were racing down what the XC riders usually ride up it was still a test of fitness and speed control. With the climb switchbacks pushing riders timing on the brakes to the limit and testing their fitness as they pushed hard to get the bike back up to speed. A swooping three turn finish and the timer beeps as you cross the line! Stage 2
utilised the final climb on the XC - again reversed. Don’t let the XC tag fool you though, the top of this stage required pin point accuracy when it came to tyre placement and laser targeting to carry speed through the trees that line the top of this stage.The racers exited out onto the forest road having to negotiate the last of the tight sections before rejoining Ricochet. From here to the finish speeds were high and the riders had to stay focussed as this contour trail doesn’t leave any room for error. Roof Roots offer 3 line choices with the highest of which sending riders down into one of fastest corners on the Hill. Then it’s back on the gas before the ‘roots return’, the longest section of roots on Aston Hill and again tyre placement was key and the laser targeting is back as riders hold their nerve as the section tightens up. The Ricochet lives up to it’s name as riders are bounced through a series of turns before being shot out over the finish line, breathless, but pumped full of adrenaline!Stage 3
A steady start was key to a good run on this stage. Winding it’s way through the trees at the top the track then joins the top of Aston Hill Black and Red Run Downhills. Here things get fast and furious as the riders negotiate the legendary ‘Triple Trees’ a tight root section with a choice of a high or low line before the trail splits and the riders head onto the Red Run proper. The top section favours the fittest as the single track is strewn with roots and a couple of very short up -slopes that can sap a riders speed and flow. Then the fun begins as the switchbacks signal that riders are about to fired into a roller coaster sequence of turns at warp speed. Again braking points are critical especially as the dust started to build throughout the day. Into the swoop and then fired through the trees into the final turns. Staying focussed here was the key as it was easy to blow your run in sight of the finish!
Pedalhounds uses a ‘Mash Up’ format and riders have to ride 3 laps of 3 stages, riding each stage on each lap, with the fastest 2 stages of 3 counting!
With the temperature forecast to hit 31 degrees it was going to be a hot days racing with 9 times up Aston Hill’s infamous push up made easier knowing that 9 runs of a fast dry and dusty Aston Hill lay in store for the competitors on the day. 16-39 Women
Ellen Flewitt has been flying this season and she wasn’t slowing down for this race setting a clean sweep of fastest times across the stages Ellen clocked a time of 11:13:17. Gemma Lismore (Otec Bikes) set a time of 11:50:49 to take second and Elvita Branch (Sussed Out Suspension) rounded out the top 3 with a time of 12:16:62.
1st Ellen Flewitt Bird Cycleworks 11:13:17
2nd Gemma Lismore Otec Bikes 11:50:49
3rd Elvita Branch Sussed out Suspension 12:16:6240+ Women
Rennée Diwell (DC Cycles) set the pace across all 3 stages to clock a total time of 12:46:21 leading home Lucy Williams who set a time of 14:59:41.
1st Renée Diwell DC Cycles 12:46:21
2nd Lucy Williams 14:59:41E-Bike Women
Dawn Roberts (Berkshire Cycle Co) set the fastest time on Stage 1 and followed that up with second place on Stages 2 and 3 to set the fastest combined time of 14:02:57 leading home the EMTB Forums pairing of Lucy Glazer and Dawn Thompson with times of 14:11:68 and 15:18:58 respectively, with Lucy Hart rounding out the quartet of women racing in the E-Bike category.
1st Dawn Roberts Berkshire Cycle Co 14:02:57
2nd Lucy Glazer EMTB Forums 14:11:68
3rd Dawn Thompson EMTB Forums 15:18:58U14 Boys
Luc Jenner-Hatch (biketart.com) set the pace with the fastest time across all 3 stages to take the win with a total time of 10:13:36. Kenzie Nevard (Calibre/Firecrest MTB) came home in second clocking 10:31:12 and Will Rushmere (Firecrest MTB) rounded out the podium with a time of 10:41:23.
1st Luc Jenner-Hatch biketart.com 10:13:35
2nd Kenzie Nevard Calibre/Firecrest MTB 10:31:12
3rd Will Rushmere Firecrest MTB 10:41:23U18 Boys
Ben Barnett set the pace cloning the fastest times on stages 2 and 3 and clocking a total time of 9:27:45. Toby Driscoll (MB Cyclery) put in some super consistent times to take second place with a 9:35:56 and Patrick Ride rounded out the top three with a time of 9:38:24.
1st Ben Barnett 9:27:45
2nd Toby Driscoll MB Cyclery 9:35:56
3rd Patrick Ridge 9:38:24Hardtail Men
As if the heat on the day wasn’t enough the Hardtail Category rattled their way through 9 runs of an increasingly rougher track to clock some amazing times. It was incredibly close at the top with just 2.93s separating Bailey Cox from Jacob Scott (Lovelo). With Bailey clocking the fastest time on Stage 2 and a total time of 10:12:68 and Jacob setting the fastest time on stage 3 and a total time of 10:15:58. Dan Kelly rounded out the top 3 pushing the young guns all the way to the finish with some consistent times!
1st Bailey Cox 10:12:65
2nd Jacob Scott Lovelo 10:15:58
3rd Daniel Kelly 10:31:1418-29 Men
It was tight at the top in the 19-29 mens category with Jordan Beighton (Viscous MTB) setting the fastest time on Stages 1 and 2 and a total time of 9:28:33. Nathan Wood (Cycle Tech Eastbourne) set the fastest time on Stage 3, but loosing time to Jordan on Stage 2 meant that his overall time of 9:33:26 was only enough for 2nd place just 4.93s away from the win. Tom Martin stopped the clock with a time of 9:47:30 to seal 3rd place just .44 ahead of Alex Fountain (Seal Moto) in 4th, with 4th to 7th split by just over 2 seconds
1st Jordan Beighton Viscous MTB 9:28:33
2nd Nathan Wood Cycle Tech Eastbourne 9:33:26
3rd Tom Martin 9:47:3030-39 Men
Sean Ballard set the fastest time on Stages 2 and 3 and the third fastest on Stage 1 to take the win from Tomas Kypstys (Bird Cycleworks/Pinned Attire). With Sean setting a time of 9:27:49 and Tomas 6.52s behind with time of 9:34:01. Jamie Carruthers (MTB Trail Hub) was a further 4 seconds back with a time of 9:38:06 in third.
1st Sean Ballard 9:27:49
2nd Tomas Kupstys Bird Cyclesworks/Pinned 9:34:01
3rd Jamie Carruthers MTB Trail Hub 9:38:0640-49 Men
Paul Hanks wasted no time in putting 21 seconds plus into his opposition on the day. Fastest times across all 3 stages and a total time of 9:27:25 to set the fastest non Ebike time of the day! Aston Hill local Redas Raginskas stopped the clock with a time of 9:48:55 to take second and Ashley Newbery (The Bike Warehouse) rounded out the top three with a time of 10:01:48.
1st Paul Hanks 9:27:25
2nd Redas Raginskas 9:48:55
3rd Ashley Newbery 10:01:4850+ Men
Keith Wilson had been on a hot streak in 2019 winning every round. However a crash and time off the bike earlier in the summer opened the door for Gary Ward (Gavigan Paving) to take his chance to take a win. Total times were - Gary 10:19:55, Keith 10:29:73. Karl Woodman came home in 3rd with a time of 10:50:02.
1st Gary Ward Gavigan Paving 10:19:55
2nd Keith Wilson Enduro Tyres 10:29:73
3rd Karl Woodman 10:50:02Fun Men
Giving new riders a way to try out Enduro Racing is the aim of the fun category. It’s a great opportunity to see how you would have got on in your age category without the pressure of racing amongst more experienced riders. Just over 3 seconds split the top with placings with Marek Papcun setting a time of 10:33:31 to take the win. Phillip Hatch (Team Strokey) was 2nd with a time of 10:34:34 and Grzegorz Rarus (Heales Cycles) rounded out the top 3.
1st Marek Papcun 10:33:31
2nd Philip Hatch Team Strokey 10:34:34
3rd Grzegorz Rarus Heales Cycles 10:36:74 E-Bike 16-39 Men
With the E-Bike racing contingent growing race by race, Aston Hill Bike is probably one of the best venues to be racing an E-bike. Fast, flowing and technical descents and a challenging ride back to the top or in the case of those with E-bikes fun on the way down and fun on the way up!
It was tight at the top as Aaron O’Mahony and Matt Bayliss (Berkshire Cycle Co) battled it out for the fastest time of the day. Aaron set the more consistent time of the two to take the win with a total time of 9:09:56 with Matt just over 3 seconds adrift with a time of 9:12:98. Lewi Pilgrim rounded out the top 3 with a time of 9:32:54, just edging Jamie Arnold into 4th place.
1st Aaron O’Mahony 9:09:56
2nd Matt Bayliss Berkshire Cycle Co 9:12:98
3rd Lewi Pilgrim 9:32:54E-Bike 40-49 Men
Putting his home advantage to good use Ian Warby (Firecrest MTB) set the pace on all but Stage 1 to clock a total time of 10:02:55. Simon Coventry (Berkshire Cycle Co/Sico MTB Products) set a time of 10:06:48 to take second and Paul Knapp (Firecrest Mountain Biking) made it two riders on the podium for the locals by coming home in 3rd with a time of 10:33:71.
1st Ian Warby Firecrest Mountain Biking 10:02:55
2nd Simon Coventry Berkshire Cycle Co/Sico 10:06:48
3rd Paul Knapp Firecrest Mountain Biking 10:33:71E-Bike 50+ Men
For Richard Abbott (Lovelo) it was an emotional win as this is his last year of racing years. Richard will be hanging up his race plate after years of racing across the disciplines to focus on his other exciting mountain bike projects. Taking the win however is a fitting way for the Aston Hill legend to sign off from racing on Aston Hill. Richard set the fastest times on Stages 2 and 3 to do enough to set a winning time of 10:20:20. David Bayliss (Berkshire Cycle Co) finished second with a total time of 10:28:45 and Jason Arnold rounded out the top 3 with a time of 10:29:22.
1st Richard Abbott Lovelo 10:20:20
2nd David Bayliss Berkshire Cycle Co 10:28:45
3rd Jason Arnold 10:29:22