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Down and dirty in Dalby

| Blog, Mountain Biking Uk | 23/05/2011 15:28pm

Is World Cup XC racing the new rock’n'roll?!

Well, no, of course not. Sorry, I hate that ‘new rock’n'roll’ metaphor but there is a lot to be said for Dalby. It’s held in high regard as one of the more technical courses on the XC World Cup calendar and features a lot of opportunities for spectators to get as close to the racing as possible.

With last years inaugural event widely haled as a success we were curious. Could a weekend in Yorkshire really compete with the established great British World Cup weekender in the Highlands, Fort Bill?

Friday night was all about the Pro-Eliminator event which took place through the streets of Pickering. This was a brilliant event and saw some tight racing and blistering sprints up to the line. We then went for fish’n'chips in the world’s most confusing chip shop.

Saturday morning arrived rather blurrily, we pitched up the impressive MBUK easy-up and angled in the Vito Sport. Weavs, Jamer and Editor Danny and I then went for a dander pressing the flesh with the usual snappers, marketing managers and riders before having a wander around the course.

Dalby, on first examination, doesn’t present anything that the experienced trail rider would really gulp at. However, the switch-backs of Medusa’s Drop and Worry Gill begin to look pretty savage when you see the pace that the pro ranks tackle them at – it’s insane!

Never mind the fact that they’re machining their way around in a tight pack at, in the words of Weavs, a ‘helluva’ pace, they’re also rocking inverted stems, flat bars and bikes that weigh little more than a moist sock!

With a bellyfull of catering van food and coffee it was then our turn to take on the ‘it’s not a race but you will be timed’ Dalby Dare. This is an event which reeks of being a great idea providing Joe Punter with an opportunity to ride the World Cup course for themselves. Think Mad Sunday at the Isle of Man TT but on XC bikes and you’re close…

It was definitely eventful with Weavs doing incredibly well to make it back up to the sharp end of our ‘middle ring’ group after being punted into the scenery early doors and me nearly dry-heaving over the finishing line after a stifled and frustrating run behind a fellow competitor. Jamer seemed to have the best crack at it even getting a clear run at the main descents – jammy git!

The proper racing itself on Sunday was amazing to watch with Annie Last and Tracy Moseley providing the reasons to shout in the women’s event and Ollie Beck and Liam Killeen doing like-wise in the men’s. We were even treated to Brian Lopes trying a hand at Lycra lapping and despite carrying a lot more muscle than necessary he blasted up the tricky rock-stepped climb time and time again. Jamer also called him ‘Burt Lopez’ which was much funnier.

Anyway, you can read a bit more on our Dalby adventures soon both here and in the mag (issue 266, on sale 29th June). In the mean time, here are a few pics…

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