An unforgettable two-wheeled festival experience was delivered on Sunday 11th April at the six hundred acre private estate at Pippingford Park in East Sussex when 550 competitors gathered to take part in the Muc-Off 8, a unique new eight hour, eight mile enduro mountain bike race.
The sun shone for two days on an international field of competitors including the Norweigen Proteinfabrikken KTM Racing Team, which included the national XC Marathon cross-country champion Tor Halvor Bjornstad; corporate teams from Formula 1’s Force India, Mercedes and Red Bull and other competitors ranging from 19 to 61 years of age all taking part in the eight hour show-down.
With 1576 laps completed and a cummulative 12,608 miles ridden, the event went without a hitch with trained on-site paramedics having to deal with nothing more than one sprained ankle over the duration of the race.
Greg Saw, team manager and rider for Norwegian Proteinfabrikken/ KTM team comments on coming to England to take part and his first impressions of the Muc-Off 8 event; “It’s special for us to be here and riding as a team for team bonding and tactics and this event will help us prepare for the next Nordic 24 hour race. This is a refreshing and interesting format for an enduro race, and the course has a good mix of uphill, and challenging downhill to keep all the riders on their toes. The team element of the event means this is not just for elite riders.”
The Norweigen team went on to win the pairs category and also took the title for the fastest eight mile lap of the day at 40 minutes 07 seconds.
Competitors took up the gauntlet laid down by downhill world champion Steve Peat, who set a time on the downhill section of the course earlier in the year of 2 minutes 2 seconds. The downhill section was electronically split-timed and the fastest downhill time of 2 minutes and 7 seconds was set on the day by Mule Bar/Hargroves Cycles rider, Stuart Bowers.
‘Ridin 9 to 5,’ the objective of the Muc-Off 8 was for competitors and teams to complete as many laps as possible racing against time and each other within the eight hours with teams dictating their own strategy, using only one rider at a time on the course.
Muc-Off head man Alex Trimnell comments: “We wanted to create a fun laid-back event which was a challenge for elite riders and first timers alike and I couldn’t wish for a better atmosphere and vibe here today. We wanted our event to be unique and to design a varied course comprising downhill, cross-country and single track with a different enduro format, and from feedback we have had I think we achieved that. We also provided riders with free drinks, energy and nutrition through partner Clif Bar, and bike servicing with Cycle Surgery plus a free Muc-Off bike cleaning service throughout the day.”
Alex explains plans for the Muc-Off 8 2011; “Pippingford Park is a beautiful setting and a perfect venue for the Muc-Off 8 and there’s lots of space to grow the event and make it bigger and better next year. We want to create a bigger core bike cleaning area and more facilities such as a shower block and attract more competitors to enter the team disciplines, as well as attract further British and international pro riders, and more corporate teams.”
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