Report: Plymouth Urban Downhill

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Report: Plymouth Urban Downhill Charity Event

Event: 24th April 2010

Saturday 24th April, it had finally come. After much anticipation and planning, the Urban Downhill Charity event was all go! An early 5.30am start for some to lay down an endless amount of render fencing - this would line the entire track, weaving its way down through the Plymouth University campus. The track incorporated numerous sets of stairs, some smaller than others, some steep, some multiple sets, which were hard to ride fast. Several other features and obstacles, linked together with flowing corners made the track, simple, fun, and challenging for all abilities. After all the planning, it was great to see the sun out. ...

As the morning progressed, various trade stands, sponsors and eager racers started to appear. The course was opened for practice and a sudden flow of riders stormed down the track, trying out different lines, seeing how much corners could be pushed and how close you could get to the fencing. An array of suspension bottoming out could be heard, various wipe-outs on flat dusty concrete corners and occasional clattering into fencing. By midday, the crowds had gathered, friends of racers, passing students and intrigued locals - all lining the track, leaning over, cheering on the racers. It was like a mini Lisbon Downtown!

As the race runs began, it was clear who the potential fast boys were, as several sets of stairs were being jumped with little speed and sections hit flat out - a great spectacle for all. All riders had two runs, although most first runs yielded faster times. Most riders completed the track in less than one minute, a good time being under 45 seconds. Times were tight, and the racing close.

Faces lit up when people realised what was up for grabs for podium spots. A selection of top products very kindly donated from Juicy Lubes, Cogs Bikes and Silverfish. Each of the winners receiving carbon full face helmets, amongst other bits!

The winning time went to James Gould (Senior) with a time of 39.38, closely followed by Matt Noble and Luke Ball respectively. Angela Procter won the Women's category, Jay Williamson the juniors, Jim Davage the Masters and Tony Hicks the veterans. Sam Fowler is also worthy of mention, coming in fourth overall (winning hardtail), only two seconds off the leader - on his single speed hardtail! Good effort!

Feedback from all the riders was good, everyone saying how much they had enjoyed the day. A really fun chilled out atmosphere, a good track and a unique event - all for a good cause - The Stay Strong Fund.

As the crowds cleared, the task of cleaning up was left to a hardcore few, stacking all the fencing and tidying up. Massive thanks to those who stayed around, particularly Ben Gregg of Life in Motion Photography, who volunteered to ferry us and the fencing around in his pick-up. I think we'd still be there now if it wasn't for him!

And so the day had come to an end, but no - the after party...!

Food was consumed; sweaty clothes changed and off to get the drinks in! The night started and ended for some at the University of Plymouth Students Union for cheap drinks.

Jon Catney, the event organiser, is a good friend of mine. As a regular university student, he had a dream to organise such an event well over a year ago. A lot of people doubted his idea, but he stuck with it, and with a massive amount of effort, time, planning, and liaising, it finally happened. The event ran very well and all involved were extremely happy with the outcome. So firstly a big thanks to Jon for making it all happen - he may even have some more ideas up his sleeve but shhh...

Of course we can't forget everyone else involved - all of which contributed to making it such a great day. Firstly the University of Plymouth for allowing permission of the event. St John's ambulance for covering the event. All the sponsors for supporting the day, donating prizes and creating the great atmosphere. Red Bull, for giving us wiiings and providing music, Don from Kustom Bikes for sorting all the timing out, Woodland Riders for over-seeing entries and Cogs-Bikes for being on hand for emergency repairs and lots of inner tubes! Finally all the marshals and other helpers, who kept everything going smoothly - the real heroes - you know who you are!

I think everyone will agree it was a great day, thoroughly enjoyed by all.