Aston Hill Bike Park
Sunday 25th June 2017
The third round of the Pedalhounds Multi-Stage Enduro stopped off at the Southern MTB mecca that is Aston Hill. The Bike Park built on the steep Chilterns escarpment has built a reputation as one of the South of England’s top downhill venues and this often overshadows the fantastic cross-country and enduro trails that weave their way around the hill.
Utilising a mix of the fun and flowing downhills and the cross-country trails the Pedalhounds Team of Paul Hunt and Ian Warby (Firecrest MTB) created three fun and challenging stages to put the riders to the test over three laps to find the fastest riders on the day.
Stage 1 launched riders into the back end of the cross-country circuit, dropping in off the 4X and pedalling hard through the top section into a high speed section before hauling on the brakes and slowing for the tight and twisting end section to the stage which culminated in what looked like a inconspicuous left hander. This turn proved to be one of the toughest turns of the day, as the riders looked for those vital seconds at the end of the stage.
Stage 2 linked the top of the cross-country circuit into the bottom of the Ricochet Downhill. Proving to be fastest stage of the day. Line choice was critical to carrying speed with the tight and twisty new section leading riders down to the end of stage with a flying finish.
Stage 3 had a new start section linking in with the classic Red Run decent. Wide lines gave riders a choice of options with the classic chalky switchbacks dry, dusty and running a treat. Another fast and furious stage as riders looked to carry all the speed they could into the bottom half of the stage and keep the pace up through the final corners.
Thanks to all the competitors for making it such a great event. The Marshals and First Aiders for looking after all the riders and the Forestry Commission and Aston Hill Volunteers for their support.
With the weather set fair even a couple of rogue showers just after lunch couldn’t dampen down the dust so the trails were running fast and as 10.30am rolled around 250 riders took to the stages to set their best times.
With three laps of three stages to complete between 10.30am and 3pm it was guaranteed to be a fun day out on the bike. The riders tackled the stages in any order completing all three stages per lap before starting the next lap with the combined times of all three laps counting to find the fastest riders on the day.
In the Elite Men Aidan Bishop (Cannondale) set the pace with a total time of 11:22:44 from Tim Ponting (Mondraker UK) and Swinley Bike Hub’s Aiden Burrill rounding out the top three placings.
In the Senior 19 – 29 year old men’s category Daniel Locks (D&D Cycles) set the pace with a time of 11:36:02 from Tom Whant (Swinley Bike Hub) and James Stapleton rounded out the top three with time of 11:49:71.
It was great to see a field of nearly 20 female racers signed up for this round. Jo Ponting led home the Under 40 Women with a time of 13.55.77 from Georga Leslie in 2nd and and Katie Sweeting (RAF Downhill Team) rounding out the top 3.
In the 40+ Women Katie Drake set the pace with a time of 15:40:38 with Kai Ashbee in 2nd place and Zoe Repman in third.
In the Master Men – 30-39 years old category Nick Platt continued his winning run with the fastest time of the day clocking 11:18:13. Ross Searle put his local knowledge to good use to come home in 2nd and Richard Wood rounded out the top three. In the Veterans Mens 40-49yr category Simon Coventry (Fatcreations) took the win by 3 seconds with a time of 12:18:51 with Neil Kemp in second place and Neal Russell (Southern Enduro) rounding out the top three a further 4 seconds back.
In the Men 50+ category Bradley Briggs (D&D Cycles) continued his winning streak with a time of 12:33:91. Karl Woodman (QECP Race Team) came home in second place and Martin Leslie rounded out the top three.
In the Boys Under 14 category Rich Porter moved up a step from the previous round taking the win with a time of 13:00:38 from Dominic Platt in second on 13:24:97 who just edged Travis Hopkins (Fatcreations) into third place on 13:25:86.
Jordan Beighton (Kreek Racing Team) set a time of 11:55:76 to lead home Aston Hill local Fin Stockings (OTEC Bikes) in the Under 18 boys category with Will Easey (D&D Cycles) rounding out the podium.
The Hardtail Men had to hang on tight on the dry and rough track and Matthew Welch led home the field with a time of 12:17:02. Josh Morris (Sick Bicycle Co) came home in second with Alexander Roberton rounding out the top 3. In the Fun Male category Alex Read led home Richard Nicholls with times of 13:12:96 and 13:32:53 respectively, with Bama Kcosis coming home in third with time of 13:39:30.
In the E-Bike Category Matt Baylis set the pace on 12:12:47 with Wayne Hanson in 2nd place on 12:45:14 and Daniel Pulley stopping the clock on 12:55:89 to come home in third place.
The next race at Aston Hill Bike Park is on Sunday 10th September when Downhill Race action returns to Aston Hill for the Black Run 20 Downhill Race. Celebrating 20 years of downhill race action on Aston Hill’s infamous Black Run. Look out for more details and entries going live on www.firecrestmtb.com soon!