27 January 2018 by 278
The WOR KINGUD E-Bike Challenge 27th January 2018, Nantmawr Quarry.
By Jim Buchanan, Pinned TV:
The Tough One Extreme Enduro returned to a typically damp winter’s day at the imposing disused Nantmawr Quarry. With Nantmawr nestled deep in the borders of Shropshire and North Wales, there were racers of a different kind taking to its rugged rock and slick mud terrain! The day before the prestigious Tough One battle, race director Steve Ireland hosted an event never before seen on UK shores; an E-bike 1-hour multi-lap scramble! Having started my riding in the form of a downhill MTB background when Oasis and Blur battled out the charts, it was fantastic to return to this old school location.
As the sport of Downhill racing had moved on to bigger hills to challenge the DH bike technology, in had come motorcycle Hare Scrambles to Nantmawr, about the same time I switched over to the petrol powered beasts, even having a go there myself a couple of times. Eventually I quit Hare Scrambles, to return to the leg powered machines as MTB Enduro came along. It’s undeniable that the petrol engine is missed, but e-bikes have now made their way into the mainstream of MTB and Moto, with lots of riders choosing one for training or just the pure simplicity of fun and open access. Working and racing in the world of MTB journalism over the years, I’d been banging on to the e-bike world that racing these silent powered machines should come away from the realms of MTB Enduro stage racing with their own little classes and go full extreme XC in the form of multi-lap one-hour challenges.
After a six-year absence from anything engine powered it was great to receive a call from Steve with his plans of holding a “fun” race with the format being, as if I had told him my vision!
A Cube e-bike was acquired from Cube the day before and I was entered in the race after one test ride up the local woods. The format was simple, a mass start with a two kilometer loop to be repeated over and over against other riders, the winner being the one in the lead after an hour. The riders had to come into the quarry past the very encouraging lap scoring guys, shout their number and crack on! I was pretty surprised to get the holeshot (nice to be able to use that term again!) and hold the lead comfortably for nearly three laps, although my heart rate after that first long rocky climb felt like it could summon the rain gods!
I was thoroughly enjoying the little battle I had with Darren Skillin as he tried closing in and even four times Enduro World Champion David Knight MBE had jumped into the race, well late and sporting jeans with no gloves but a grin from ear to ear! The track was perfect in my opinion, a testing rocky fire-road climb up to the top, plenty of switchbacks with some tricky roots thrown in, then as you started to recover it was a matter of dropping the seat for the downhill.
The technique was to pump the whooped-out holes of the downhill grass field to gain speed above the motor’s cut-off point (16mph) before hitting what used to be the steep old duel slalom MTB track; still there from the 90’s MTB days! This was thick mud, but with the extra weight of the e-bike (compared to a regular bike) it was a matter of letting her go and cut a track through there, pinning it right down to the flat quarry base; just so much fun! A bit of techy up & down singletrack around the inner perimeter of the quarry with a tough steep climb (first gear needed here!) and it was back through to lap scoring.
Sadly my lead dwindled as the Cube bike’s chain ended up constantly getting pulled into the front chainring, so I had to call it, opting to chat to Steve as riders passed through the lap scoring. Riders started to look tired as they came through, batteries dwindling in power, Darren had drained his battery to lose his lead, as leg power had to take over to finish his day. The big Knighter was coming through each lap with the biggest of smiles, not a care in the world and catching enough to take him to second place; with an earlier start he would have nailed it! The win went to Ian Davis with Mr Bates (hmm!) just nipping the third spot from Darren Skillin.
This event, in my eyes is the start of something that in itself could become it’s own entity and definitely could have the legs to become popular, we here at Pinned TV are well behind this format and certainly will do any more that arise. We have made an edit from our experience of the day, watch it here folks : https://youtu.be/JEtYCo2BCA4 Please like and subscribe to our channel and Keep it Pinned folks!