Well after a 2 year absence due to the pandemic the UK Fat Bike Championships returned again for 2022. Running as a 6 hour race the 30 or so fatties were greeted by pure blue skies, a fast but rough, tough, challenging and above all FUN course in the woods. By the 3pm start temperatures were in the mid 20sC high 70sF & from the gun it was clear that Richard Penning of Pivot Boompods was the man to beat.
Lloyd Southerill-Smith gave it a good try though finally coming in 29 minutes down & like many others wishing he had at least some front suspension. In the Grand Vet class, the biggest here with 15 starters, Dave Carr used his local knowledge to shoot off in the lead on lap 1, while eventual 3rd place finisher, Crispin Hoult had a mare of a 1st lap finishing it in 14th place well down. Crispin won the furthest traveled to the event though having an 8 hour drive to get home after the event. For those that don’t know England that’s about as far as you can possibly be between 2 places. However, by stringing together some very consistent lap times he clawed his way back to 3rd.
Single-speed guru & perennial ‘bridesmaid’ Keith Whitten finally cracked the win by sneaking in a lap just before the cut off thus winning by 1 whole lap, although he’d be the 1st to admit it was closer than it seemed on paper. In the Women’s class, young Liga Purvis made the long tip from Cornwall to be rewarded with 2nd in class, it was especially impressive given that she has only been riding Fat for just over a year & that her normal Fat biking is on Cornish beaches, this course must have been a real eye-opener for her! The winner of the Ladies again, was the Beerbabe herself Judy McNeill just 3 weeks after taking the Belgium 24hr Solo Ladies Championships. One man should be singled out for an honourable mention though is Glenn Husselbee, he finished 5th in the Grand Vets class on only his 2nd ride back on his ICAN a year after shattering his left ankle & lower leg in a horrific MTB accident 1 year ago. Chapeau Sir.
We were made to feel so welcome by organizers Gorrick & sponsors TORQ, as well as all the other racers there & the overwhelming impression left, was how fast & versatile a Fat Bike can be. The most asked question I heard was ‘why are there so many fat bikes here ?’ followed by ‘I need to get one’!
It was so good to gather again in a big group & race our Fatties after over 2 years & a truly social, fun & competitive weekend was had by all. Same time next year?