The Iain Hutchinson Memorial event, hosted by Wyedean Mushing, under the ABSA banner was held over the weekend of the 11th & 12th January and was just down the road from K9 Trail Time in the Forest of Dean.
The races were run over the same course as we ran back in October, so we started off uphill from the Beechenhurst picnic area and then left down a long, wide hard packed track and out around the rest of the trail in the woods. The difference for us this time was that we knew we’d be starting out in the dark, as the Saturday race was an evening race.
With lights galore on the bike, Donnie and I managed a respectable 5th place after our efforts around the night trail. Riding in the dark is in some ways easier because you concentrate more on staying on and seeing where you’re going than choosing a line, plus there’s no public on the trails. However it is also quite frightening at times, especially when you can’t see the slippery mud until you hit it.
Knowing we had some time to make up, we tried our best on Sunday morning to negotiate the trail with a little more style than the night before. Unfortunately a few stops to say ‘hello’ to members of the public who were dog walking and a couple of dips in puddles we couldn’t see in the dark, meant we were actually a few seconds slower than the night run.
Somehow we managed to creep up to third and take a podium place, coming second only to fellow NATB Dogs Sports members Mark Mazzucca (current European Bikejor Champion) and Mike Stone. It really does prove that you should always try your hardest, as it is very often down to luck and the mood of both you and your dog on the day. I’m always pleased with my results in the bikejor as Donnie gives 100% effort 99% of the time.
The Wyedean Mushing events (http://www.wyedean-mushing.com) are always well organised, fun and friendly, and the Iain Hutchinson Memorial race was no exception to this. Once again this was the first time there had been open classes to allow us to race with non-registered and non sled dog breeds of dog, so we are very glad to have been part of this great weekend of racing.