The third and final round of the Night Rider series took place at River Dart Country Park near Ashburton in South Devon. This venue was new to riders, being private land where we would not normally have access to, so it was somewhere different.
The course consisted of fast forest tracks, a few steep sections, some winding sections, the odd technical rooty bit and the jewel in the crown, the ‘pump track’. Oh and if you couldn’t see it, all of this was in a beautiful setting alongside the River Dart.
Registration was at the Saw Mill Café which was great to have as we had everything we needed, light, toilets, the luxury of showers and a bar. The latter being the location of the prize giving and a post race beer and cheesy chips!
The day had been dry and bright, windy but the race arch was just about holding on. Like most riding areas in the country it was still very wet and muddy though. The course was going to be fast at 4.8km per lap with short course riders doing 2 laps and long course riders doing 4.
Many of the riders present had been in the two previous rounds at Cann Woods and Haldon Forest and so many series category winners were going to be decided on the night, so all to play for.
So headline performances….Luke Kendall was the fastest on the night and overall winner of the series in the Male Long Sport with a time of just over 65 minutes, pretty much 16 minute laps. Close racing though with Derek Wilson only 37 seconds behind.
Mention should be made of Julia Lowe who was fastest and only female on the long course and also riding as a Grand Veteran rider.
Joe Wall, Derek Wilson and Anthony Jennings were winners on all other long male categories.
Geoff Robinson was overall fastest on the short course with a tadd over 44 minutes, 21 seconds behind was Julian Dommett winner of the Male Vet Category. Chris Villar was the other male short Masters category winner.
The ladies short had a great little race with all 3 of them finishing with solid times, Victoria Goddard, Emily Simcock and Tarida Mitcham.
Series results are all online and can be viewed in more detail but it was great to see so many attend all three events. First places for the series were rewarded with our famous driftwood trophies made from wood from the River Dart itself.
One of the things I like about these events is that they attract and provide great riding and racing for all types of rider. Standing in the middle of the pump track watching the gladiators enter the arena, the front riders were hard on each others tails working the bumps and pushing hard. Other more novice riders loved the bumps so much that they couldn’t help themselves from shouting “whoo, whoo” as they went around and up and down!
A big thank you for not only the support at this event but over all three races must go to our marshals who not only stand outside cheering you on and being a point of contact on the course, but also then collecting in all the arrows and tape after the race, without them the event wouldn’t happen. Also thanks to our sponsor, Clif Bars who provided some of the prizes. Thanks to River Dart Country Park, and in particular Roger, Fletch and Becky for their support in letting us put the event on in such a unique venue and to Mark Simpson the estate owner. Finally, thanks to the medic team from Devon EMS, they didn't even have to get out of their heated seats.
And finally the biggest thanks is to you the riders for turning up and your continued support. This is the first time we have done three events over a winter. We hope you enjoyed it and we hope to see you later this year for more of the same or at one of our other events which are all online at www.mudandsweat.com
Until the next adventure……
The Mud and Sweat Team