Report: Merida Brass Monkeys Enduro R2


The Christmas Cracker – Joolze Dymond with words and pictures from round 2 of the Merida Brass Monkeys Enduro

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Words & pictures – Joolze Dymond

Round two of the ever popular Merida Brass Monkeys Enduro certainly lived up to it’s billing proving a real cracker of a course, setting riders up for a real feast of singletrack fun.

Once again, despite the previous week’s soggy outlook, the Brass Monkey picked the winning ticket weather wise, with a surprisingly, warm sun, filtering through the stark winter landscape providing a soothing backdrop to a hardcore, undulating circuit, adding to an already fantastic atmosphere that these events exude constantly.


In an effort to space out the mass of riders, a grassy start loop took competitors away briefly from the comfort of the arena, before the plunged into the final sections of singletrack that took them through the arena, past the welcoming sight of Quavers Catering truck, complete with warm beverages and the smell of bacon butties and onto the start proper of the 7.5 mile course. Due to the weather previous to the event, the course was chosen with the amazing attention to detail that the Gorrick folk are renowned for to ensure a fast flowing circuit with minimal disruption to the rider. Windmill Hill provided a varied terrain with something for everyone, whilst proving a testing circuit for all!


At the sound of the hooter it was everyman and woman for themselves as the 4-hour riders set off. Keen to make amends to the tough race in round 1, which saw him slip from 1st down to 3rd, as the trying conditions, ground down his brakes and his resolve, was Tim Dunford. Setting the forest alight with his intense speed hoping to put enough distance between himself and arch rivals Al Fairbairn and Marc Chamberlain as soon as possible.

As it happened fate was on his side, as round one winner Fairbairn suffered an early lap puncture putting the single speeding competitor completely on the back foot, coming through 6 mins off the pace skimming the top 30, while Chamberlain joined forces with
Scott Chappell, hoping to reel Dunford in as the race unfolded.

Dunford kept the metal to the pedal as he extended his lead, clocking up 6 hard earned laps. The surprise of the day came from Fairbairn, who had battled his way through the back makers right into the race once again, finishing eventually in second, just 8 mins adrift, while Chamberlain settled for 3rd.

To the uninitiated, 4 hour rider Jo Munden looked to be using ‘horse power’ to help her on the way to her second win of the series, as she romped away leaving her competitors in her wake as she cantered round 5 laps to the finish line in the women’s 4 hr race.

Viv Hazelton traded in her second place in round one with a commanding win in the 4hr women’s vets. Despite Matt Craner laying down the gauntlet in his opening moves, it was a patient Simon Willats that finally took the win in the men’s vets 4hr, as his competitors found their opening gambits left them flagging towards the end of the race, the battle playing out for the runner up spots, with Craner missing out on second spot to Nick Butler.


Two hours in, as the tough unrelenting course was making it’s mark, the fresh legged and enthusiastic 2-hour racers were unleashed! George Budd, Jason Bouttell and Isaac Pucci, swiftly carved out a lead, these three then spent the next 3 laps locked in virtual battle, but it was oldest of the three riders that used his experience to ensure he was in the winning position as the three hit the final corner, with Budd claiming the sprint finish, from Bouttell and Pucci, a nail biting 2 secs, all that separated the three.

Having missed round one due to illness, Louise Robinson was keen to make her mark on her local course in round 2. By the end of lap 1 she joined forces with Emily Iredale, which resulted in some ding dong racing until Robinson managed take flight in the closing stages of lap two, this just left a final push to take the win with Iredale 2 mins behind in 2nd having held off a consistently paced Laura Sampson in 3rd.

With no mechanicals to hamper his progress, Dean Morgan quickly took control of the men’s vets 2 hr race, eventually trading in his uncharacteristic 2nd place in the first round for a win, with nearly 6 minute buffer between 2nd placed Roki Read, while Lydia Gould also traded in her second spot in the first round for a commanding win in the women’s vets 2 hr race, racking up 3 laps, with runner up Jacqueline Roberts settling for 2nd 1 lap adrift.

Once again in the junior men’s race Sam Stean proved to be in a league of his own as he spent his race chasing the fast moving senior men’s two hour train, coming home over 24 mins ahead of second placed junior Will Kearse and once again finding he would have done enough to place himself in a creditable 4th in the senior race.

Once again Lauren Peacey ploughed a lonely furrow in the junior women’s race, despite being unchallenged she rode a strong and balanced race. Finally for those that just wanted a taster of the fun that enduros offer, 16 riders tackled the ‘fun’ aspect of the race, giving them an hour or so to soak up the atmosphere on the course. Eventual winner Darren Russell and runner up Colin Houston enjoyed themselves so much they both racked up 2 laps!


At the strike of two, riders came pouring through the finish line, they were greeted by new sponsor Accelerade, who offered the first 50 finishers a fantastic Endurox R4 recovery drink laden bottle, while Mule Bar provided solid sustenance. The finish straight was littered with riders regaling their experiences on yet another cracker provided by the Army CU and Gorrick.

There is everything to play for in the final round and the racing is sure to be electric once again as riders aim to pursue PB’s as well as those elusive podium spots. Riders have a grand Christmas blowout to enjoy before having to think about New Years resolutions and of course the 3rd and final round, which takes place on the 13th January.

Make sure you get your entries in soon as this event sells out quickly and we wouldn’t want you to miss out on any of the fun that awaits!!

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