Retro bike racing

Is there still a “Fun” class at races? Used to be Elite/Expert/Sport/Fun. Of course, there was a fair amount of crossover!
Thinking of racing for the first time ever this year (Never quite got my teenage self steeled to take part) - one of the Southern XC series ...they seem to have several races/categories:

Of which I can only see myself going in Fun/Beginner...surely most other events/series have a similar setup - doesn't that include the shapeless and shiftless (I can't be arsed to throw the mech back on for a race so will be SSing it) riders @cows_in_cars ? Dunno - as I say never went to a 90s event and never been to one of these modern ones either!
Would love to do a retro race. So many people don't race these days, but do sportives instead as they can "secretly" race and if they do crap it's just a "sportive".

My body is smashed to bits from lots of crashes, but a bloody minded racer is always a bloody minded racer, however not sure my body can do what my mind would like it to do! 🤣
Sorry in no way do I take offence at that, at all! Very much a similar situation for me!
It's more just an observation of how early 90's racing was full of the have a go heroes and now even I find myself thinking "Umm, maybe I am not fit enough?"

But equally how many of us on here used to race and still love bikes but wouldn't race now rather just look at bikes or ride them but not in competition? And that to me, is a sad state. I don't blame anyone at all, but it's the crap thing about sport is that we loose the people that actually make the events. 7 fast people don't make a race, 50-70-100 people most of who are just okay, that's an event. The mid pack, back of the back racers are the ones that need recognition once you loose those, racing is intimidating and rubbish.

A rant maybe but bugs the hell out of me that there are still loads of people that rider mtb's but most won't race and I don't blame them, in the 90's certainly from my highland's of scotland experience, races were adventures, an achievement just to finish and had sole, even if they were or maybe because they were cobbled together. But who is really motivated to race around a 3/4 mile lap, probably get lapped and even before your off, you line up with about 15 people almost all looking like they will lap you.

It's not the style of bike that matters to me so much as the sprit of that 90's MTB event, maybe I will just have to console myself in some off road duathlons/triathlons they have way more of the 90's sprit than mountain bike races.

I agree about the spirit of 90s MTB, there was something uniquely magical about that era, being a new emerging sport it was still very much for the enthusiasts, there was a purity and honesty about it, an innocence even.

You could always set up an event.
All you need is somewhere to ride. You're bound to get a few from here interested.
The races at Cannock Chase (there are usually two or three a year) and the retro race at the Malverns are the only specific retro races that I know of in the UK and I wish there were more too. It would be great to have a series of races!

I raced a couple of times as a teenager in 1989 & 90 and always wish I'd done more but it wasn't until 2021 that I spotted the retro race at the Malverns. Entering that race was one of the best things I've ever done - it reminded me of how much fun racing a bike can be, and took me straight back to the early 90's!

The retro category at Cannock set off a couple of minutes after the enthisiast and elite categories so there are lots of riders racing at the same time - It's a proper old school xc course and is fully rideable on a retro! It's amazing the support you get from other riders and those watching from the sidelines.

My plans for this year are similar... Although I need my excitable teenage mind to listen to the 50yr old body a bit more and the bike to go in the direction that I point it in a little more often 🤣
In the States we had a vintage class for a Team Enduro ... it was rough racing on old bikes 15 miles with 3k ascent/descent, but we had a blast. I'm in the 3rd pic, I was breathing hard not absolutely terrified, I swear.


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Hi there, I'm totally with you on this and I wouldn't even travel to the more local Malverns for the ( lack of ) racing on offer. Mountain Mayhem was epic, then the pandemic hit us. Really hoping that can be revived with the son of the former icon that was Pat taking it over. If you haven't done it, think of this. Solo, if you have a screw loose. Team of ten if you want to race 45 minutes every 7 hours ( over a 24hr race) or team of four where you get plenty of laps to bang along, with a lot of banter and recovery from the battering you've just taken, in between. Even better when you're going past the modern 29er heads. I really hope this event can be revived ( Northants was the last venue) and was such a cool and big event for us retrobikers to gather).
There was a local 6 hr endurance race but on a retrobike solo I found it too punishing. There was a retro category and me and a fellow R/Ber won that category twice and were second once. I came 7th in my age cat solo on a 29er as well. Modern courses are made for the latest ride over everything type of big wheel jobbie, not 26ers, and for me at least too punishing to be fun. I've sold both of my big wheelers because they are just soulless to ride unless you like extremes.
I've raced, sort of, HONC, a ride in the Cotswolds in September, however it's not officially a race.

Would love to do a retro race. So many people don't race these days, but do sportives instead as they can "secretly" race and if they do crap it's just a "sportive".

My body is smashed to bits from lots of crashes, but a bloody minded racer is always a bloody minded racer, however not sure my body can do what my mind would like it to do! 🤣
I think that's the idea though, whether you're "up to" being physically competitive doesn't really matter, as long as you're in a field of 50+ you might not win, might not trouble the top 10 but you're pretty much guaranteed to have a great time & a damn good race too.

Never raced BITD sadly, was always too people-phobic (still am, but retrobikers aren't just people in my experience, they're a lot more tolerable!) but if there was something like this going on I'd at least make a concerted effort to be there, along with my partner and son...

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