Without a doubt the news of Penshurst Bike Park returning has to be one of the best this year. So many great memories of riding were made there! I remember many years back hanging out at ‘the quarry’ in the warm summer holidays, jump sessioning interluded by chilling and chatting in the shade with fellow riders.
The whole place embodied mountain biking as we knew it; fun, relaxed, chilled. You could go from the 4X track in the morning to the downhill in the afternoon, maybe see a pro training, but the whole vibe was good.
This was the case anyway, until somewhere in the early 2000’s. I’m not so sure why, maybe it was because mountain biking became more mainstream, but something changed. A new attitude seemed to have crept into the races - latest bikes, latest kit, riders looking down their noses at one another’s components and line choices. Yep, the rise of the jock was upon us.
It seemed that these kids, on bikes worth more than your first and second car combined, we’re being funded by the London banker dad, slaving his days away so little Johnny could have the latest high-end kit. And be ferried around by mummy in her new Land Rover (also financed by dad). Fair enough if you can afford this, but certainly don’t judge others who can’t!
The atmosphere at the races had become a little intoxicated by it. Less like a place to have a blast and unwind, more like a day of dress-sense judgery at Ascot. Join this with the self-exulting representatives from the media companies, and we decided to stop going. What’s the point if it’s no longer fun? If you wanted serious racing, you would go to the national level races or whatever, not PORC!
We are looking forward to the downhill opening again, if only to prove that this was just a blip in history, as opposed to the direction things were heading. Bring back the fun, that’s what the local races are all about!
We’re wanting to remember the old PORC in a entirely positive light, indeed, it did have its ‘glory days’, but we can’t help but think of it’s latter years as tainted by something that doesn’t belong in the sport. Let see if this kind of thing can be booted into history with the fresh start in 2018.
Peace out #2