Words and photos by team rider Barry Gale, unless otherwise mentioned.
Southern Enduro, Round 2. Pippingford Park.
Round 2 of the Southern Enduro series saw us race at the stunning venue of Pippingford Park in Sussex. The team at this round consisted of the Gale boys, Barry and Alfie (father and son combo)!
We turned up bright and early at the venue to glorious sunshine and some truly spectacular views – a perfect start to a day of racing. We just hoped it would stay this way, not like the first round at QECP where everyone ended up soaked through.. good news, it did.
After unloading the van we got straight down to business in getting signed on, sorting out number boards and having the rider briefing all carried out to perfection as per usual by the Southern Enduro team.
After a quick chat with BigMac (Dave MacFarlane) about his recent exploits in Fort William for the UCI World Cup Downhill, it was onto practise! (You can read about Dave’s time in Fort Bill here).
It was the first race for Barry on the new Transition Bikes Patrol too and my god, what a bike! We can save the bike check for another time though – on to the event!
Stage 1 was very natural, really fast and flowy in places. We found stage 2 again, was nice and natural but had a few more techy sections including a decent rock garden waiting for the riders to roll over. Line choice would be key on this one!
Stage 3 had some nice steep sections as well as some cracking flat loose corners and a smaller rock garden with Stage 4 having some sweet flat out bermed corners, a few jumps and back to natural lines for the finish!
Practise went well with only Alfie having a bit of a moment on a fast flat rooty right hander on stage 2. With practise done, it was time to head back to the van to refuel and chill for a bit!
On to the main event and stage 1 saw young Alfie going flat out but catching a tree stump with his pedal, resulting in a bit of a spill. Barry attacked the stage with his usual attitude of desperately trying not to get beaten by his son (again) and came away quite contented with the outcome!
Stage 2, and both the boys hit it flat out with Alfie desperately trying to make up for his mishap on stage 1! The result was a good clean run for both the boys and gave a great air of confidence going into the back end of the racing.
Next up, Stage 3. Unfortunately this is where it went a tad wrong for both racers; young Alfie was on the charge and entered into a steep section with so much speed that the compression at the bottom threw him over the bars, badly winding him.
Barry was on a flyer and, not long after passing the stricken Alfie recovering from his OTB, Barry decided he’d try and test which was stronger: a tree or his shoulder… yep, the tree came out on top but both riders cracked on and finished the stage!
So with the dramas of Stage 3 both the lads decided to ditch racing mode and attack Stage 4 for pure fun. It was gonna be all about air time and ripping the crap out of the turns, and that’s exactly what they did finishing the stage and round 2 off beaming from ear to ear!
Even with the crashes, Alfie took an impressive 11th from 18 finish and I placed 21st from 45, so neither of us could complain! Full results and photos can be found on Roots & Rain here.
In true sportsmanship style and knowing that we’d both buggered up our races, we realised The Bull track was only 10 mins down the road so loaded up the van, went there and hit up a load of jumps!
All in all it was a great event, slickly organised by Scott and the Southern Enduro team. Huge thanks to all the marshals, spectators and riders on the day, they’re what make an incredible event! Even better, the weather was mint and we can’t wait to revisit it next year!
As always, big love to Vee Tire Co for the support! Thanks and until next time, stay stoked.
Barry @ SR