The Salisbury Plain Area Mountain bike club held their annual Winter Challenge at the weekend. This event usually takes place in January but MOD restrictions meant that the event was brought forward a little this year.
The event is held at Erlestoke and is made up of a choice of three routes, a 25k, 35k and 50k being the options available to the riders. The routes themselves took the 600 or so riders out across Salisbury Plain with a mix of field tracks and lots of MOD roads, including passing through the deserted village of Imber, whose residents were evicted in 1943 so that the village could be used for soldiers to practice urban warfare.
Nigel Brown was the first Gillingham rider to finish the 50k route, coming home in fourth with a time of 1 hour 59.24. The official results have put Nigel in 9th but some of the riders from the 35k route seem to have been classified in the wrong section. Vince Hounsome wasn’t far behind Nigel with a time of 2.06.29. Even though the route was well marshalled and signed, James Chant somehow managed to go the wrong way for a while, eventually finishing in 2.33.57. Jane Pritchard and Pete Dyer came in close together on 2.58.41 and 3.00.16.
Emma Bradley was 6th overall and 1st woman in the 35k distance in 1.35.48, Ben Day finished in1.47.15.