The 2011 Shimano Singletrack Classic Weekender

July 12 2011

Ben Chennells is our graphic designer John's son. Here's his debut news report covering the Shimano Singletrack Classic Weekender which saw our contingent of Dan Greenwood, Vaughan Evans, Ben and his dad take on Bacup's finest at Lee Quarry.

I’d just like to say, and I’m sure the lads at Orange Mountain Bikes will back me up here (Hopeful wink), that Singletrack and Shimano have done a great job.

The idea is simple. Bring one bike and compete in three competitions: Trials, DH and XC. Working out the results is less simple but that's part of the fun.

The Classic Weekender is an experience that I certainly won’t forget in a hurry, a great challenge but they don’t take it that seriously which is how we like it here at Orange… because if they took it too seriously then we’d get whupped.


Vaughan and Dan preparing for the heat of battle. Each slightly different in their method

With  the big race truck away in Scotland we set about filling our little van to the brim with an easy-up, a new Patriot and obviously everything you need to keep the Orange team running (most importanly, two bags of Jam Doughnuts). Van packed up and next stop, Lee Quarry, home to the Classic Weekender. On arrival after setting up the easy-up it hammered it down with rain, clever Singletrack next to us had come up early and dug themselves a moat, it was probably a wise idea as we soon had a river of water running through the easy-up. So after the downpour we cleared out the sheltering riders and got out the spades, I don’t need to tell you what we did next … sat down, had a doughnut and let Singletrack Editor, Chipps dig us some moats too. So with the easy-up waterproofed and our pits set up, it was time for the trials.

First up, the hill climb, all the guys at Orange (apart from me) made it up giving them each one point. Second, the skinny, all the lads at Orange (apart from me and Dan) did it, giving them each two points. Third, the steps, all the lads at Orange (apart from me) did it, giving them each three points. Fourth, the track-stand, all the lads at Orange (apart from me and dad) did it, giving them each four points. Fifth, the seesaw, all the lads at Orange (apart from me) did it, giving them each five points.

Our results for the Trials:
Vaughan: 5 points
Dan: 4 points
Dad: 4 points
Ben: Nil points (Yes!)

So with trials over and it was time for the downhill. I can tell you now that each of the lads at Orange (apart from Vaughan, unlucky mate, but you got the best picture) went into the hot seat for our own category, of course none of us finished in the hot seat but you know, it felt good.

Vaughan, style for miles. But two offs in his run cost him dear

Our Results for the downhill
Dan: 4th in Mens
Vaughan: 35th in the Mens
Dad: 4th in Old Gadgers
Ben: 7th in Youth (YES)

So now that the day’s events were over it was time to tidy up a bit and rest out race-weary legs. The day had turned from a sour grey into a bright sunny evening so we thought it would be a good idea to head into Bacup and investigate the possibility of obtaining some race fuel for the cross country the next day. Coming back up the hill was quite surprising for us as we thought by almost 11:00 the smart group of weekender riders would have tucked in for the night to conserve some energy for the grueling terrain of the cross country. But no, when we got back the pump-track was heaving and the bonfire was still attracting people like moths to a light.

We got up nice and early and carbo-loaded with our Cheerios before heading over to the Singletrack tent to check our penalty points situation from the day before. I got 12, dad got 4, Vaughn got 2 and Dan got 1. This meant our start times were offset by a minute per point. Dan and Vaughan got away quickly, Dad went off four minutes after the leaders, then stopped to wait for me. And so we were off, shooting out of the start gate and whizzing down the first fire road, rounding the corner and up the first steep section, down through the pump-track berms and jumps and out the other side, up the hill … up another hill … up a little bit further … conk out, have a drink and carry on. Down a bit, up a bit we don’t have to say anymore really. “Hey lads, want a Jam doughnut” was the phrase that practically ended my race. Anyway hats off to Nick Craig and his son Tom who got stunning times on their laps and went on to win their categories, well done. Also well done to Dan and Vaughn who both did rather a lot better than me and dad. We basically went round mucking about a bit too much to actually be in with any chance of winning a prize, but we were having a grin, so well done to our serious contenders.

Final Results:
Vaughan 11th
Dan: 22nd
Me: er... last
Dad: er... last too.

So that was it, the classic weekender over, an experience to say the least, I’ll be going away with my own reminders, and I won’t forget about them anytime soon either, I feel them every time I sit down. So for those of you coming next year, see you there, I’ll certainly be coming again!

If you want to see all the results they're here.

Update: Here's the singletrack video, it's a good un...

Shimano Singletrack Classic Weekender 2011 from Singletrack Magazine on Vimeo.



Image Gallery

Shop For Clothing Frequently Asked Questions Link Shop For Components Bikes On Offer