Mountain Trax – Vauxhall Motors Cycling Team ride The Brighton Big Dog

August 21, 2014

Yesterday the Vauxhall Vivaro pointed south as the team travelled down to race Brighton Big Dog. Isaac was racing in a mixed team of three, Ben and Tim raced the solo category.

Ben reports following a tough day.

“Successfully defended my Big Dog title, three years in a row! This year was definitely the hardest fought. With our sponsors Rotor, Exposure lights, and Lezyne at the event it was good to put on a show.

“Just like last year I led the entire race from the start leaving the teams and pairs behind me with just my teammate Isaac on my wheel. This strategy keeps me out of trouble early on and makes my slower starting rivals suffer! Half way through the lap some course tape had been removed so we all went the wrong way only to have to turn around and ride back up the hill, 5 minutes lost and the race reset, pretty annoying to loose a minutes lead over the other solo riders. Isaac gapped me later on in the lap but I came through the arena to start lap 2 as leading solo and second overall.

“I rode my team issue Scott Scale 900 RC hardtail at the event because I thought the race would be decided on the climbs. The course is pretty bumpy but the Rockshox SID forks and low tyre pressure made it a comfortable ride. I ran 20 psi in a Schwalbe Rocket Ron 2.25 Snake Skin tyre on the front and a Racing Ralph 2.1 Snake Skin at 23psi on the rear. This gave great traction during the early laps when the course was quite slippery but rolled super fast.

“I kept the pressure on during lap 2 but on lap 3 eased back a bit well aware there was still 5 hours to go and how tough this Stanmar Park circuit was. A few teams caught me and then suddenly much to my surprise a solo rider appeared, it was the legendary Ian Leitch, Big Dog winner in 2012 and 2012. Ian’s style was much more attacking than mine hammering it out of corners, making big acceleration to overtake lapped riders and taking a few risks on the descents. I had to follow him though, I couldn’t let him get away. I suffered until the 3 hour mark but could tell he was tiring so put in a sustained effort to test the situation. A gap appeared, should I keep going I thought. There’s still a long way to go.

The gap opened enough, a minute on that lap, then another minute the lap after before stabilising. It wasn’t a big lead, the race could easily be lost. 4 hours in and I was suffering big time, I hoped Ian and George in third was suffering just as much. During the next 30 minute lap I consumed 500ml of USN caffeine Spike drink and a Vooma caffeine gel, then later in the lap 500ml of Cytopower and a standard Vooma gel! That made me feel a bit better but there was still 1.5 hours to go.

“Sadly by this point Tim was out of the race, no repeat of the last 2 Big Dog podiums. Ian was still in second but George’s diesel power was motoring and took a minute out of me

during that next hour. 1 lap to go, the gap was good, just hold it together I was thinking. Another half an hour and I was crossing the line arms aloft to take a very satisfactory victory. In a cruel twist Ian punctured with a mile to go, George moved up a place to finish second and Ian limped home to third.

“Isaac’s mixed team of 3 finished first and he won the trophy for the fastest lap. 3 wins in one day. Great trails, top racing, fun atmosphere, get yourself there next year.”

Next weekend (24th August) the team will be racing the Gorrick 12 hour at Minley Manor in Hampshire.

Thanks to our fantastic sponsors for their continued support.


Follow the team on Facebook. T eam/330790256947713


Mountain Trax – Vauxhall Motors Cycling Team Rider Roster.

Ben Thomas, Isaac Pucci, Sam Stean, Tim Dunford


Words – Ben Thomas


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