2005 Saab-Salomon

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Updated 11 July 2005

The 2005 Saab-Salomon Mountain Mayhem 24hr Mountain Bike Race 24/25 June 2005

For the 7th year running, De Laune had managed to get a coveted place in the worlds biggest 24hr mountain bike event, a race so popular that it sells out within a couple of days of entries opening. The race was held at Eastnor Park in Herefordshire on the weekend of 24th-25th June, the weekend closest to the summer solstice.

The De Laune team was made up of James Lyon and Peckham, Ross Fryer and Cliff Steele although this year wed failed to bribe/blackmail anyone into being our pit helper. However were all experienced 24hr racers and everyone pitched in to help out. JP and I turned up late on Friday, Ross and Cliff made the drive down early on Saturday and our campsite was in good order very quickly. Wed picked a prime spot right by the racecourse in order to cheer (or heckle) passing riders. Cliff had volunteered to do the Le Mans style run at the start and, with nearly 400 teams present, there were almost 1000 riders gathered on the start line (and about 1million worth of bikes lined up) but Cliff put in an excellent run (all that triathlon training paying off) to get out onto the course well up with the leaders.

Eastnor hadnt suffered quite as badly as Glastonbury in the previous weeks torrential downpour but the course was still a quagmire in places and a lot of the singletrack on the 10.4-mile course was so slippery as to be unrideable initially. The start lap was also very congested but Cliff turned in a fantastic time of 1.23.18 (which includes the half mile run) and handed over to me. Id elected to use my old fully rigid titanium bike with narrow mud tires, figuring that on a course as muddy as this, Id gain no advantage from having suspension which would just clog up with the glutinous mud. By the time wed all done our first laps, the course was drying out rapidly and lines began to appear where the riders had worn grooves through the mud to the hard-packed surface underneath. I switched back to my full suspension team bike and we all settled down into a good rhythm. I was last person out before darkness fell completely; by the time I handed over to JP it was nearly 9.30pm. As I was walking back through the arena to our campsite, I was greeted by the surreal sight of the London Philharmonic Orchestra playing on the huge soundstage. I took in this cultural oddity for a few minutes and then the evening was rounded out nicely by a big fireworks and laser show on the hillside above the main arena. Its just part of the huge bike festival weekend that Mountain Mayhem has now become.

The night laps were pretty uneventful. The weather was still quite warm due to the cloud cover but by this point in a 24hr race, youre living on willpower, caffeine and energy gels. I finished a lap at 2.30am, had a quick shower and a bite to eat then fell asleep until 5.30am when I was kicked out of bed by Ross and warned to get ready for the next lap after Cliff came back in. JP had been rewarded by a spectacular sunrise on his lap and Sunday was a bright, sunny and hot day, a contrast to the grey overcast weather of Saturday and the course became drier and almost dusty in places. Lap times were getting quicker as a result of this and with the end in sight, a lot of teams were really nailing it. Competition amongst the Elite Mens teams was red hot and both Nick Craig and Barrie Clarke (both former British National Champions) came tearing past me at a rate of knots. Oli Beckinsale (British Olympic rider) was there too along with several other big names from the world of mountain biking, proof of how big and international this event is. I completed my final lap in a shade over 1hr and with time ticking rapidly away, handed over to JP. Unfortunately, he was held up by the amount of traffic on the singletrack in the final section and just failed to get in before to 2pm finish time (which at least saved Ross from doing another lap). All told wed ridden 19 laps (197.6 miles) in a time of 24:00:54, which placed us a creditable 28th place out of nearly 300 Sport teams. Each lap had nearly 1600ft of climbing, which meant a total height gain for the team of about 30000ft (higher than Mt Everest).

James Lyon


This was my first year back at Mountain Mayhem for a couple and what a great trip. Decided to make the effort to go on the Friday, should have taken ear-plugs (getting old)! But it worked out well with a relaxed morning and plenty of eating time. The site selected was perfect for the course and provided an excellent spectator vantage point between laps. The single speed boys next door provided the entertainment.

Well I was 3rd off so it was 2.5hrs before the go. The Friday night rain had really bogged up the course and I have to say Cliff did a great job on that first lap, including the run. My MTB skills proved to be rather poor on that first lap (too much road racing!). My 2nd and 3rd laps were both run off in the dark, which made for fun, I like night riding. The 3rd was the best as I followed American MTB legend Tinker Juarez around the course. What was frightening was that he was riding the event solo!

By the time of the 4th lap the course was getting really fast and you began to realise why they had designed it that way. It was a real shame a puncture slowed down what would have been a quick lap. By the time of our last laps each the course was fully rideable and quick, really quick. Well James Lyon went for his usual last lap flyer and hit a 1hr 5min (only 10min slower than Nick Craigs quickest!). My last lap was due to finish within a bare fraction of the available time and it was hoped that Ross could get out for another lap before the cut-off but time ran short as I got held up by the amount of traffic through the singletrack and I came in just after the horn had sounded to mark the end of the 24hrs of racing.

The whole weekend was excellent. The team rode really well, all of us had some problems but we all plugged away and rode consistently well. 28th may not have been our best result but I have to say the quality of the other teams was very high (we are not getting younger as well!). What amazed me was the quality of the set-up, a real family affair, I may even take mine next year. There again the weekend is a nice rest!

James Peckham

Lap

Number

Rider

Time

Speed

1

1083

Cliff Steele

01:23:18

7.56 mph / 12.17 km/h

2

1080

James Lyon

01:09:08

9.11 mph / 14.67 km/h

3

1081

James Peckham

01:11:06

8.86 mph / 14.26 km/h

4

1082

Ross Fryer

01:11:18

8.84 mph / 14.22 km/h

5

1083

Cliff Steele

01:20:10

7.86 mph / 12.65 km/h

6

1080

James Lyon

01:10:44

8.91 mph / 14.33 km/h

7

1081

James Peckham

01:17:52

8.09 mph / 13.02 km/h

8

1082

Ross Fryer

01:18:33

8.02 mph / 12.91 km/h

9

1083

Cliff Steele

01:36:32

6.53 mph / 10.50 km/h

10

1080

James Lyon

01:24:16

7.48 mph / 12.03 km/h

11

1081

James Peckham

01:15:55

8.30 mph / 13.36 km/h

12

1082

Ross Fryer

01:15:06

8.39 mph / 13.50 km/h

13

1083

Cliff Steele

01:17:56

8.08 mph / 13.01 km/h

14

1080

James Lyon

01:14:08

8.50 mph / 13.68 km/h

15

1081

James Peckham

01:13:22

8.59 mph / 13.82 km/h

16

1082

Ross Fryer

01:07:55

9.28 mph / 14.93 km/h

17

1083

Cliff Steele

01:11:46

8.78 mph / 14.13 km/h

18

1080

James Lyon

01:05:03

9.68 mph / 15.59 km/h

19

1081

James Peckham

01:16/46

8.21 mph / 13.21 km/h

 

Rider

Laps

Best

Average

Worst

Cliff Steele

5

01:11:46
(8.78 mph / 14.13 km/h)

01:21:56
(7.69 mph / 12.37 km/h)

01:36:32
(6.53 mph / 10.50 km/h)

James Lyon

5

01:05:03
(9.68 mph / 15.59 km/h)

01:12:39
(8.67 mph / 13.95 km/h)

01:24:16
(7.48 mph / 12.03 km/h)

James Peckham

5

01:11:06
(8.86 mph : 14.26 km:h)

01:15:00
(8.40 mph / 13.52 km/h)

01:17:52
(8.09 mph / 13.02 km/h)

Ross Fryer

4

01:07:55
(9.28 mph : 14.93 km:h)

01:13:13
(8.60 mph / 13.85 km/h)

01:18:33
(8.02 mph / 12.91 km/h)

Event Results by Singletrack Magazine

Photo credits to the following:
Jools Dymond @ www.singletrackworld.com
www.bikemagic.com
 

 
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