World Cup Pro Sprint Eliminator

The sleepy market town of Pickering, North Yorkshire was brought to life on Friday night with the opening event of the Dalby Mountain Bike World Cup.


Ben chasing British rival Steve James.

The weekend’s proceedings opened with the Pro Sprint Eliminator. The format was a qualifying time trial, setting off in 30 second intervals.  Torq had four riders: Tim Dunford, Ben Thomas, Anthony O Boyle and Lee Craigie.  They were competing against the worlds top mountain bikers, legends, such as Ralf Naef, Thomas Frishknect, Jose Hermida, and Nick Craig, the fastest 32 riders qualified for the knock out stages which went to a four cross style event. 


 Lee Craigie.

The course consisted of flying down a narrow set of steps at breakneck speed to be sent through a graveyard, a garden and took in the main streets of Pickering.  The cheering crowds contributed to a brilliant atmosphere, people jostling for position to see the race, up to 5 deep in places.  The event was a great spectacle for the crowds and the T.V crews with an average lap being 3 minutes; it certainly gave the excited audience something to shout about. 


 Tim Dunford flexing his muscles.

We were proud of our male riders, who made it through to the knock out stage, however Tim Dunford fell on one of the tricky gravel sections and was knocked out, Ben and Ant narrowly missed 2nd place in their races but Lee Craigie, who relished the fact that she was competing with the worlds best females, did extremely well to set the fastest qualifying lap of the night for the female race, she managed to
make the B final.   With that she was the highest finishing British cyclist on the night.  


 Lee Craigie B final.

“It wasn’t till I started rolling round on my practice lap that I realised what a sprint eliminator through the streets of a small town actually consisted of.   Back in the holding pen everyone looked very serious on their turbos, while I rode round in circles trying to stay warm and feeling like a goldfish.

Riding out onto the street, with the crowd reacting to the commentary, the atmosphere was electric but from then on everything happened so fast and after each start I was left floundering at the back. I always caught people in front of me on the sharp wee climbs but the bottlenecks going into the descents were carnage. I found myself in the middle of a scrap, having got into the semi final by utilising a gap and crowding out another rider.

I lost all my ground on the final, more shallow climb and even my  SRAM group set couldn’t help me to put the power down, my legs were screaming. I was really pleased that I set the fastest lap of the night and managed to make the B final.”

Lee Craigie.

 Anthony O’Boyle enjoying the moment.

“I woke up  on Friday morning, after arriving in Pickering the previous night, and was eager to get to the  Dalby Forest to collect my race number and sign on for the  round 1 of the world cup.  Once I had my number board  I was able to pre ride the course for the race on Sunday.  In the afternoon everyone I  spoke to  was taking about the Pro Sprint Eliminator, the atmosphere was building.  When I arrived at the sprint I did a couple of practise laps and the crowds were out in force. 

The course consisted of riding through a graveyard before navigating your way down a flight of steps and over a ramp at the bottom, then up to the top of the town and down a gravel descent with an off camber right hander, then a very tight left hander. Under an archway  in to a 90’ left hand bend up a long straight into another tight bend to the left then up a hill towards the finish. This lap was took about 2 minutes.
In the evening, before the race, all of the riders were  given a briefing on how the event was going to work.  It was basically an urban time trial.  Every rider had 1 timed lap, the top 32 got through to the next round against another 4 riders and the top 2 went through to the next round.
I warmed up whilst waiting for my number to be called, it felt like a scene from Gladiator,  riding through an alleyway to the start  all I could hear was the crowd and Dan Jarvis shouting and supporting the other riders.  It was amazing!

When I was on the start line all I could think about was ‘don’t crash’ going down the steps. Suddenly I was on my way, flat out,  I gave it my all and managed to navigate the steps and the gravel descent, my legs were screaming at me. The crowd kept me going making me push myself harder until  I saw the finish line and crossed it. The spectators were patting me on the back as I made my way back to the car park, finding out that I had made it through to the next round. I was chuffed to bits but my legs weren’t,   I kept them turning ready for the next round. When it was time to go up again I arrived at the start line and found myself up against some French riders who were a lot bigger than me.  It was a very fast start,  I managed to place myself in behind the second wheel, made my way down the steps and was sprinting up the hill trying not to lose contact with the person in front of me.  I came into  the  finishing straight, still on the wheel, and couldn’t get around the people in front of me,  I had to settle for third which meant I was knocked out of the sprint.  It was an amazing experience and hopefully there will be another event like it.”

Anthony O’Boyle (Boyler).


Lee attacking the ramp.

Once again, we’d like to extend a big thank you to our sponsors: – Frames – Groupsets, Suspension Forks and Brakes – Helmets – Handlebars, Stems and Seatposts – Tyres – Advanced Lighting – Lubrication – Shoes – Cables and Housing – Pedals – Bike Boxes – Saddles – Hubs and Headsets – Rims – Spokes – Glasses, Compression, Tools – Performance Cycle Clothing – Photography – Brake Hardware – Torque Wrenches – Power Measurement, Turbo Training and Bike Racks – Tyre Sealant – Cordless Pressure Washing

Follow the TORQ Performance MTB team’s progress on their facebook page: