The bicycle industry flocked to Brands Hatch this past weekend for Bike Radar Live where a huge expo area was created next door to the famous race circuit and the newly crafted cross country dirt crit course, the dirt jumps, and the dual slalom track. TORQ had a large stand within the expo area showing off and selling its products. The race team were in attendance to take part in the weekend’s Dirt Crit race which took place around a purpose built 1.5km loop incorporating sketchy loose gravel fireroad corners, tons of tight twisty singletrack, dual lines where you could save time if, for example, you rode the obstacle such as the northshore or the log jumps, a small climb, and a pump section back into the start area. It was going to be a furiously fast race with the circuit taking riders around three and a half minutes per lap; in total we would do just 12 laps. Nearly every top elite rider had been invited to take part in the competition and on the grid it could well have been a national race.
Andy Blair, Anthony and Sion O’boyle, and myself lined up excited about the prospect of racing the thrilling concept. Andy had an amazing start jumping from near the back of the grid right up to the front of the race, from there I sat on his wheel for a short while. Unfortunately at this time a group of 4 or 5 riders rode away as Andy suffered after his fast start.
Feeling strong after a few laps I bridged the gap to Billy Joe Whenman and Steve James. Some of the riders who had been ahead had punctured which meant the 3 of us were now in contention for the final podium place. Steve made a mistake on some double track crashing and putting him out of the race. With just 2 of us left the pace wasn’t maintained high enough which allowed Andy to start closing the gap on us.
Going into the penultimate lap I slipped out on the slippery gravel start road, Billy Joe got a small gap by the time I was back on the bike, and Andy had just got ahead of me. I chased hard but as I began the final climb I punctured on the sharp flints.
After 41 minutes of racing I finished a disappointing 6th place, however I was happy in the knowledge that my legs felt excellent. The Bike Radar Live surpassed the expectation of the TORQ team and hopefully we’ll return again next year to race another fantastic Dirt Crit.