What a fantastic opportunity to race the famous Brands Hatch circuit on our trusy TORQ Twinfoils. The closed circuit was fast, hilly, sunny and the bikes loved it so much that they crossed the line in first place.

This has to be one of the most gruelling mass-participation road cycling events in the country – an 8 hour relay race based at the hilly racing circuit of Brands Hatch.  As TORQ were sponsoring the event with nutrition, the TORQ team were invited to compete, so 4 members of the squad (Matt Hart, Danielle Stewart, Nick Shasha and James Emery) took on the 8-hour challenge aboard matching TORQ Wilier Twinfoils.

Danielle Racing

Danielle the fastest woman of the day

The objective was simple.  To complete as many laps as possible in 8 hours of non-stop racing with only one of the four riders on the track at a time.  We decided to split our efforts by each racing 4 laps in a rotation system (approximately 10 miles) with Nick starting off on the Le Mans style first lap, which included a run to the bike (we chose Nick due to his running prowess, however the run was a little shorter than expected – 10 meters across the pit lane!).

Changing over

Changing over (Nick to James)

James went second and describes the course as hard; “within 30 seconds you are descending like a lunatic (Paddocks Hill) before attacking the ‘King of the hill’ climb (Hailwoods Hill). Your heart rate rockets to +180 before averaging to around 170 for each of the four laps. You also needed nerves of steel to stay on your Ritchey tri bars to get around a tight left-hander (Graham Hill corner) at full speed. You could ride the whole course in the big chainring although it did start to cause the early stages of cramping on the 2 major climbs towards the end of the 8 hours! The road surface was fantastic allowing for some really quick riding”.

Too chicken this time to do Graham Hill corner

James powering up the climb

After your four laps you swop over in the pit lane and try to recover in the pit garage. This scenario would be repeated another 4 times by each of the team!

Matt talking to the press

Matt talking to the local press

Within the first hour of racing, it was clear that this was going to be a battle of attrition with a number of teams battling hard. We lost one lap to a team, but gradually clawed that back.  At around the half way stage, TORQ managed to get a one lap lead and kept it going strong until the 6 hour point.  By now we were all starting to feel tired from the constant start-stop start nature of the racing, but with the chance of winning the event we kept ourselves together and kept riding strongly with minimal drop-off in performance from the beginning to end of the event.

Waiting around the pits – ‘So what’s your favorite bar?’

Despite extending our lead to two laps, we were keen to make sure that nothing could stop us from winning after what seemed like an entire day in the saddle, so James (the strongest cyclist on the day from the team and 4th fastest overall in the event) stepped up to complete 5 laps rather than the usual 4 (of the remaining 9) thus removing an additional change over.  This just left Matt to ride the team home (a fitting finish for the owner of TORQ) to a grand total of 76 laps or 175 miles.

James waiting for the change over

This was good enough to win the 8-hour competition with Danielle also winning the prize for fastest lady (and by quite some margin!).

Matt to fast for the camera

Matt racing down the finishing straight

Thank to VU Limited for the photographs

More information can be found on the Cyclothon website

With thanks to our sponsors: – Triathlon Frames – Aero Wheels – Aerobars, Saddles and Finishing Kit – Power Meters – Wetsuits – Helmets & Glasses – Cycling Footwear – Cables & Housing – Running Footwear – Groupsets – Swim Goggles (Sable Water Optic) – Team PR – Transition Bags – Tyres – Pumps, Tools – Custom Trisuits and Cycle Wear