The weekend saw No Fuss Events host the UK 24 Hr Mountain Bike Championships as part of their Relentless Exposure 24 event.
Having pushed the boundaries of UK 24-hour scene with the WEMBO (World Endurance Mountain Bike Organisation) championships back in 2014, Relentless 24 has showcased some of the most exciting endurance racing in Scotland and looking at the starting list there was no doubt that 2016 was going to be a thriller.
This unique event attracted the crème de la crème of UK endurance talent. With a field of almost 100 solo riders it is clear that the interest in 24hr racing is alive and well. The Outdoor Capital of the UK and the riding at Nevis range has a world renowned reputation, and with the recent announcement that No Fuss would again host the World 24 Hours Championships in 2018 riders knew that claiming the 2016 British crown would be a good line in the sand.
The atmosphere on Saturday morning was amazing, riders were clearly excited by the course choice, one more than worthy of the Championship status, the fact that every rider had trackside pits and that the weather gods appeared to be playing ball meant there was time to concentrate on the finer details of tyre choices and nutrition plans etc.
For the top riders the 11km course of tough terrain, flowing single-track on a mixture of man made and natural trails and of course some stinger climbs was all that lay between them and the coveted UK jerseys that and the fact they had to complete 24 hours on their bike.
It was clear from the outset that racing was going to be fierce and at the four hour stage of the race there was a little over 4 minutes separating the top 10 riders, at eight hours that was extended to a very close 15 mins, there were whisperings of concerns around the pit area “they’ll never sustain this, who is going to crack first and so on.” Mathew Jones, Michael McCutcheon and Peter Nadin were the eventual top three with Mathew completing 29 laps in a time of 24hr and 10 mins with Michael 15 mins behind after an astonishing 29 laps, a little under the 200-mile mark. In the ladies’ race Lee Craigie and Sally Buckworth tussled all day and night with Lee taking the victory with a creditable 23 laps.
Russ Baker one of the WEMBO orginisers and President of Mountain Bike Australia was at the event over the weekend and is certainly looking forward to returning to the Outdoor Capital in 2018 for the World Solos Championship.