The Ritchey Bristol Bike Fest is an increasingly popular event taking in 2 days of laid back enduro style racing with a 12-hour event on the Saturday and a 3 and 6-hour event on the Sunday. The course uses the legendry Ashton Court trails and although it’s a relatively short course, producing lap times in the low twenties for the fast riders, the circuit is packed full of technical twisting rocky singletrack and steep climbs, ensuring there is no let up and favouring a flat out pacing strategy.
With team riders Josh Ibbett and Ben Thomas on international duties at the UCI Alpen Trophy Tour in Germany and myself and TORQ Performance Director Anthony Roland out due to injury the team lacked its normal horsepower. The weekend kicked off at 9am with Saturdays 12 hour race. The O’Boyle brothers, Matt Hart and the legendary Lydia Gould took to the line as a mixed team with European 12 Hour Solo Champion James Lister and top masters rider James Gleave battling it out in the male pairs.
With the sun shinning, the race got underway after a chaotic Le Mans-style start with riders running across a grassy field to a mass pile of bikes (this is normal for Bristol Bikefest and quite entertaining to observe). As the race got going, both teams quickly worked their way to the front of the field and began to pull out a gap. All was going to plan with everything running smoothly and both teams holding a comfortable lead. After 7 hours, disaster struck when Matt suffered a snapped mech hanger after dropping a chain, forcing him a run the remainder of the lap. After last years performance where the team missed out on the top of the podium by the smallest of margins due to a series of mechanical’s, the riders were determined for there not to be a repeat performance. Luckily the team had already pulled out enough of a gap to stay in contention, but the incident had dropped us down into 2nd place with 3rd chasing hard. This really turned on the pressure. When Matt returned to the pits we unleashed Sion O’Boyle who put in a sterling effort to catch and pass the team that had overtaken us, putting us back up into 1st place. Over the next few hours the team worked hard to increase the gap eventually finishing 1st, a solid 18 minutes up on 2nd place. The pairing of the two James also paid off with the two remaining consistent throughout the day and eventually bring it home in first place a whole lap up on 2nd place.
After the beautiful weather on Saturday, we woke Sunday morning to torrential rain showers after much deliberation in the warmth of the TORQ RV, a join decision was reached that after a sterling performance on Saturday, the team had laid everything out on the track on Saturday and with an important National XC race in 7 days time, they took the sensible option and opted for a day of rest. Undeterred by the rain however, Lydia Gould took to the line for the 6-hour solo female race. Even after the previous day’s efforts and after starting dead last on the Le Mans start, Lydia fixed eyes on the leading female soloist an elite XC rider less than half her age. Helped by here 5 strong formula 1 style pit crew ensuring Lydia was properly fuelled and that her bike was clean and lubed to prevent her succumbing to the fowl conditions, Lydia eventually went on to take the win, a whole lap up on second place, finishing off a great weekend for the TORQ Performance Mountain Bike Team.
Next weekend the TORQ team will be a Wasing Estate for Round 3 of the British Mountain Bike Race Series with James lister and Matt Hart taking on the UCI Magniciat Sportive in Newbury.
Once again, a huge thank you to our sponsors. Without their help, these sucesses would not be possible:
www.konaworld.com – Frames
www.shimano.com – Drivetrain & Brakes
www.limarhelmets.com – Helmets
www.ritcheylogic.com – Handlebars, Stems, Saddles, Seatposts & Grips
www.max-mediagroup.co.uk – Team PR
www.schwalbe.com – Tyres
www.champ-sys.com – Performance Cycle Clothing
www.mojo.co.uk – Fox Suspension Forks
www.exposurelights.com – Advanced Lighting
www.juicelubes.co.uk – Lubrication
www.lakecycling.com – Shoes
www.jagwireusa.com – Cables & Housing
www.crankbrothers.com – Pedals, Multi tools & pumps
www.rapidracerproducts.com – Neoguards.
www.cleecycles.com – KCNC Chains, Skewers & Bottom Brackets
www.superstarcomponents.com – Hubs, Seat Clamps & Headsets
www.sapim.be – Spokes
www.handcraftedwheels.co.uk – Hand Built Wheels
www.fibrax.com – Brake Hardware
www.joolzedymond.com – Photography
www.cycleops.com – Power Measurement, Turbo Training & Bike Racks
www.notubes.com – Tyre Sealant & Rims.
www.nomad-direct.co.uk – Nomad Cordless Pressure Washing
www.finelytunedride.co.uk – Bike Maintenance & Servicing
Follow the TORQ Performance MTB team’s progress on their facebook page: