A freshly-sprung Guernsey Velo Club Gravity Series is mixing things up by alternating enduro racing – a series of downhill time-trials on linked courses – with the traditional one-off descents of previous seasons.
Sunday’s fixture, the first enduro and second round overall of the new series, demonstrated that nicely with two courses at the popular La Pomare venue and one on land behind La Houguette School.
GVC mountain bike co-ordinator Gary Robert welcomed a solid turnout of 35 competitors, which is in line with one of his major aims for the Adventure Cycles-supported series.
‘We just want to try and mix the season up a little bit and bring in enduro, so we’re going to do three or four downhills and hopefully three enduros,’ he said.
‘That way, we’ll alternate it each month – going downhill, enduro, downhill, enduro.
‘It’s just to see if we gain more riders and just to give it a bit of a mix for different people.’
But, even with this new spin on the series, John Mapley will be tough to beat.
The serial downhill champion set the fastest time for each of the three courses and posted the top time overall at 5min. 9.85sec.
Kieren Duquemin reaped consistent results over the three courses to take runner-up, albeit 22sec. behind.
But the strengths of different riders showed as junior Dan Clark lost 8sec. to Duquemin on the long opener before posting standout times over the next two, sealing third overall just 4sec. down.
Competition proved fairly tight at the top, with 11 riders beating the 6min. mark.
One who did not, but who impressed nevertheless, was Kylie Vaudin.
The teenager took women’s honours and placed 13th overall in the typically male-dominated discipline, clocking a cumulative 6-08.25.
She beat Jamy Petit, an emerging force in cross-country and road racing, by nearly 2min.
The overall series now has Mapley leading at maximum points from Jamie Rive, a dependable masters (30-39) rider who produced an impressive time for runner-up in Sunday’s third stage, with Clark third.
Given the loss of Petit Bot, there may be plenty more to come at La Pomare.
Robert has marked the St Peter’s venue, which is run by the Guernsey Mountain Bike Association and now has a board mapping out the various trails with names and difficulty levels, as the new home of DH.
‘Petit Bot was brilliant and we had everything there and it was all set up, but we’ve got this place – it’s got everything we need now,’ he said.
‘The boys have worked so hard on it, building different bits, and it’s definitely come into its own really.’