Above: Darkness, icy trails and not so sticky rubber. What could possibly go wrong?
Words and photos: Jerry Tatton.
The PMBA’s final race at Grizedale wrapped up the series on the 2nd October 2016, however, due to the onset of winter blues amongst riders, they came up trumps with this Day-Night race to keep them at bay a little longer.
Gisburn is a pretty mellow trail centre located in the North East corner of Lancashire. It’s not a particularly hilly trail centre, more rolling terrain, but the Gisburn Forest Trail Builders have done some great work building a varied set of trails with what is on offer and the venue was ideal for this event.
Not a bad morning for a race. Early on the trails were a tad slippery.
The weather was sublime all day and night and leading up to the race had been forgiving despite recent storms causing chaos across much of the UK. Early on the trails were pretty treacherous and icy, so caution was advised by the marshal at the start of stage 1. Of course, the race heads chose to ignore this and drifts galore were seen early doors while some decided to ease their way into the day.
Gisburn forest could have been mistaken for a winter wonderland. Riders often like to give a pose when the camera is out.
This days racing was a short loop, the lower part of the Gisburn 8. Approximately 6 miles in total, taking on 4 timed stages across the course. The PMBA has a reasonably leisurely setup where riders can stay in groups with mates for the day and enjoy some banter, with no timed transitions. The short course ensured both a day and night race could be attacked hard by those with a mind too (It is a race after all!) and on the whole, the event was pretty faultless.
Groups of riders gather to discuss the stage and tactics, and sabotage their mates in true racing fashion!
Practice started at 10.00am until about 12.00. Racing started at 12.30 but with light fading at 3.30 ish you did well to get an early start in. Most riders were back within 2 hours to fill up on scran and food was provided by the Gisburn Hub which is a canny little set up.
Chilli for the riders between the day and night race – warm the cockles up!
Ben Craig keeping it low through the icy stage 3 start.
I bumped into Drew Alker who was happy to show off his new ride.
Stage 1 of the race was Snake, just up from the centre and a easy starting point. Not technical or steep, this was real trail centre stage suitable for any level of rider – just a few small jumps and great sharp berms, the only conundrum was the cold and icy conditions early on. There’s not much worse than tyre ping and a surface that grips till it slips! The second stage, Home Baked, was more narrow in places, with a few rocks and roots thrown in.
The third stage, the Hope line, was more gravity orientated, with drops, jumps and tabletops and plenty of smiles – again any level of rider could enjoy this trail.
Stage 4 was Swoopy, a fast and narrow trail that demands lots of pedalling, knowing your gears and keeping your flow or you’d lose too much pace!
Stage 1 or Snake provided a good warm up, but riders had to keep their wits about them due to icy puddles and slippery berms
Stage 4, narrow, fast and demands a good flow to keep your speed
This is young Harry Hemingway, at aged 11 yrs and racing his first PMBA, taking a podium too. The future looks bright.
The day didn’t end once the sun went down on Saturday. With the riders, marshals and organisers filled up with chilli, it was time for round 2 of the race. This time the riders took on the same route in the dark, but with Hope lending out lights to some riders, the trails were ablaze with mega lumens!
Rosie picking up some Hope lights…..a secret weapon for the night race!
Riders approaching stage 1 of the night race
Jack Harrison not only his first enduro race ever, but also taking off in the Hope line….in the dark! Kudos!
Speaking to many of the riders during and after the race, there was a great buzz around the event centre. This was a great days riding for all those competing. The course was short and the stages were not ultimately technical, but it brought out seasoned riders and newcomers alike. As always, the PMBA has some of the largest numbers of marshals and medics keeping the riders safe and with the added bonus of warm food provided, it was a great days (and night) racing. For results and more images from the day, head over to roots here
Red sky at night….mountain bikers delight?
Don’t forget, as you are reading this, next years PMBA races are going live. If you want to enter, don’t think, just do, as these races sell out fast. Head over to here for more information. Entries go live Monday 28th November 2016.
The guys at the PMBA have also put on another day/night Enduro at Grizedale forest. This one will be more technical, but will be another belting race day. Get entered here
I’ll leave you all with a couple more photos from the days racing. See you next year.
Early practice was sub zero
Toby styling up in the Hope line
A strong field of women racers on Saturday. 18 in total with many staying on for the night race also.
Andrew Mee seemed to live on the podium yesterday
Never forget to look up when your standing in a dark forest