Today was the inaugural Morvelo Battle Royale, and what a success it was. It’s a pretty simple format, you have a team of 3 and the losing team is decided by who crosses the line last. Done on a knock out system with a few wild cards to keep it interesting and give those lucky few drawn a second chance. The winning team came through on a wild card; it would have been a very different race without that lucky break.
The course was a rectangle, 1 side with open sweeping corners and the other tight and nasty. With the roof gone in places, it was lucky we had a dry day. Some rain would have made the exciting racing even more intense.
The cold was kept at bay by the very welcome Curry, Wood Fired Pizza and Velo Café goodies. Beer, tea, hot chocolate and hearty food flowed freely (well you had to pay for it other than your free beer) and widely.
With 6 riders on the course at the same time, crashes were inevitable and sometimes planned. The event wasn’t called Battle Royale for no reason! Tactics were just as important as speed. You could get pretty much all the way to the podium on tactics alone. Block those riders behind you, slow the race down and don’t come last proved successful seeing the team The Misfits into an impressive 3rd place. They had it down to a fine art, block those riders behind you aggressively and control the speed.
However pure speed won out in the end. The final round saw Nerds of the 90’s (who beat Team OTB Bandits in the 2nd round) up against Team Pivot Boompods. Both teams had dominated their previous rounds by being fast, controlled and consistent. Although it nearly all unravelled for Team Pivot Boompods in the semi-finals as they were up against the tactic maestros, The Misfits. With 3 crashes, a change of the lead multiple times, it came down to the final corner and straight for the Pivot Boompods to scrape through and make it into the finals.
The final was uneventful and a pure master class from both teams of speed and control however the Team Pivot Boompods had the edge and took the win. A worthy and hard fought one at that with the battle scars evident and I’m sure lots of pain to follow in the coming days.
One of the best parts of the Battle Royale was the variety of bikes used. There are a few in the gallery however there were many more we didn’t have time to capture. I can’t think of any other event where a Brompton, BMX, Carbon Road, polo bike, Vintage MTB/Racer, Downhill bike, fixie or dual slalom bike race against each other and the result be completely unpredictable. This event really levelled the playing field and brought cyclists from across the spectrum of cycling together to battle it out. What an impressive feat.
Hopefully this isn’t the last of these and it will be interesting to see what bikes are chosen next time now that riders know what to expect. All in all one of the best events I have been to in many years.
Well done to all the riders and a big thank you to those who put on the event, supported it, marshalled, set it up, packed it away and put in the hours and dedication it took. I certainly appreciated it and I suspect that I am not the only one.