Ben Hall makes it look easy. 26 ain't dead folks. All photos by the talented Matt Feely.

Ben Hall makes it look easy. 26 ain’t dead folks. All photos by the talented Matt Feely.

The Nelson Evening World Series is over for the year. It’s tough to take. These races have been what every club series should aspire to.

The series finished on a high note, running it’s last round down Involution. Once again, over 100 people gave it a nudge. Riders were frothing for the chance for a timed run down this long track which had never been raced before. First there was a stiff climb in the hot evening sun to contend with. Friends, I don’t mind telling you that it hurt.

Alice Baker, senior woman's winner for the night and series. 

Alice Baker, senior woman’s winner for the night and series. 

At the top it was festive. Two tricky corners in the first fifty metres were perfect for pre-run heckling. Line choice was brutally reviewed. Trees were climbed. Buttock was exposed. It was all in good fun. 

Involution is tricky to race. Think narrow, high speed straights with a splash of chunder. Then add sudden flat corners with roots or loose gravel. Most of the track is flat enough that you can pedal but fast enough you kind of don’t want to. Something that’s usually straightforward becomes treacherous at speed. And it’s long. For the bottom third, you feel downright weary – not helpful for tidy racing. A cheeky finishing sprint down the fire road polishes off the shanks. 

Jackson Walker looking handy in the corners.

Jackson Walker looking handy in the corners.

At the bottom the mood was lively. The curry cart put on a bumper batch of the good stuff and distribution was liberal. Organised folk pulled cold beer from their stash to be handed out. There was a secret whip around to raise money for race organiser Loui Harvey to enter the NZ Enduro. He was stoked, of course. It was great to see a bit of recognition for a huge effort with no reward expected.

Prize-giving was a chance to celebrate winners on the night and for the series overall. Santa Cruz were title sponsors and they handed out loads of swag. Sprig and Fern got in on it too, pitching in riggers of liquid delight for category winners of drinking age and disposition. The consistently quick came away with a sweet haul. The spot prizes weren’t shabby either. There were even entries for the DME and the Coppermine dished out. 

No kneepads, no worries for Ari Scott.

No kneepads, no worries for Ari Scott.

All too soon the light began to fade and people trickled off home. The series has been an incredible success. The mixture of tight racing, interesting tracks and good social times is tough to top. Loui has done a fantastic job running an accessible high quality race with no previous experience. Props to him. 

Some people went pretty fast that night. Results are here. 

Loui’s not quite done organising races for the year. This one’s for the young guns. Pack up the kids and get them down to Codger’s next Tuesday night, or just come down and get vocal. 

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