As round 2 of the Brass Monkey Winter Series approached I was pretty excited and highly motivated about racing at Ash Ranges a year on from where I won my first race for TORQ. Multiple pre rides of the course revealed some fantastic new singletrack sections, and only a small amount of ice and snow remained after the freezing conditions we’d been exposed too over the last few weeks. Any possibility of riding a dry course disappeared though the night before the race as heavy showers hit the venue turning the trails into a muddy wet mess.
500 riders lined up Tuesday morning to take part in the 4, 2 or 1 hour events. After a warm up I squeezed my way onto the front row of the starting grid and focused upon the manic 4 hours that lay ahead. The siren signalled the start, I led the race up the long tarmac road to the right hand turn spreading the field out behind. After this I let Phil Gale take the lead and set the pace, after the first lap Phil and myself had already pulled out a minutes gap over the chasers.
Shortly into the second lap I was left riding alone out in the lead, not the most fun scenario with 3 hours remaining! Eventually the conditions began to take effect on the bike wearing away brake pads until after 2 hours I was left with no more than the back plate of the brake pads to stop me.
Approaching the final hour of the race the course emptied as the 2 hour and 1 hour races finished, this left the course open and easier to ride with no backmarkers left to overtake. I was struggling for motivation though by this point as the conditions seemed to worsen as fog covered the venue. Unsure on the gap back to my rivals I was forced to head out on a seventh lap which eventually proved unnecessary as I rolled in to take the victory 1 lap ahead.
Dropping down the final descent into the arena field safely I felt a massive sense of relief, and once I crossed the finish line to take the victory it made the last 4 hours of pain and suffering worthwhile.