For years the UK’s top two 24-hour mountain bike races have been engaged in a struggle for the title of the UK’s best mountain bike event. For 2013 both the Bontrager TwentyFour12 and the Wiggle Mountain Mayhem have upped the ante with improvements to their courses and facilities.
The organisers of Wiggle Mountain Mayhem (June 15-16) recently announced a change of location, leaving the classic but often muddy venue of Eastnor Castle in the Malverns for Gatcombe Park, the country home of Princess Anne.
Gatcombe Park has never been used as a mountain bike venue before, but hosts the Festival of British Eventing, organised by HRH’s ex, Mark Philips, who still lives next door on Aston Farm.
Meanwhile the Bontrager TwentyFour12 (July 27-28) remains at the former World Cup mountain bike venue Newham Park in Devon, but has added new timed sections to the race course, a ‘glamping’ option for competitors and more live music.
Select the glamping option and you get a fixed tent laid on, so you don’t have to bring and erect your own. For families who want to make a weekend of it, there is a children’s play area and the chance for the kids to keep up with their parents as they compete in a children’s-only mini race.
Event director Martyn Salt who was also the manager of the London 2012 Olympic mountain bike competition, says: “This is a first class mountain bike race on a course which stands up to bad weather and is always enjoyable, even if it rains. This year we have added more entertainment, more camping options and the best race support for competitors to make it a perfect weekend away for either a group of mad keen mountain bike friends or a whole family."
There will be music on both Friday and Saturday evenings and throughout the race there will be race commentary, live timings and timing screens for competitors to monitor their lap times and team progress.
Returning to the Wiggle Mountain Mayhem, Patrick Adams of the event’s owners and organisers, Pacific Edge Events says he’s “over the moon" about the new venue. “Gatcombe Park is a truly fantastic location," he says. “We needed somewhere very special to take the place of Eastnor. In Gatcombe Park we have found it. Quite honestly, it is beyond our wildest dreams".
Patrick adds that the existing woodland tracks are well suited for an interesting and challenging course that will consist of well made forest tracks plus trails on gravelly rock structure that lets the soil drain well. They promise some significant elevation too.
As is traditional with Wiggle Mountain Mayhem, forms will be available to download at midnight on February 28 and take to Pat’s house for the legendary through-the-night race to be the first to get your entry in. Online entry will be available from midday on March 1 at www.wigglemountainmayhem.com.