For the first time in over 25 years, the Dual Slalom National Championships were back! Held at The Malverns Classic Festival once again, this head to head format of Mountain Biking would wow crowds on Friday.
With National Champion Jerseys up for grabs in the Championship categories, this mtb festival that is normally about good times, fun and music would turn very serious for about 20 seconds per run!
The great thing with Dual Slalom is that you can do it anywhere! The Malverns Classic literally proved this! A grass field became a race track with a few carefully placed flag poles! A 2 rider pro gate start gate would set riders off into 12 corners for both the red and blue lanes. Riders would get a run in each lane, times added together and the winner would move on to the next round until the winners were crowned.
A week earlier, Scott had been asked by the Malverns Classic organisers to create the Dual Slalom track. He had made it fast and flowing, utilising the whole hillside and hopefully making racing close.
Scott looked fast right from his first practice run. He initially opted for Schwalbe Spike tyres – normally reserved for mud races, but on this occasion would bite into the grass hillside.
Qualifying started at 12.30. A single run down the red lane to determine the qualifying order and calculate the brackets for racing later.
Scott got into the gate and ready to go. He made a customary great start and powered along the start straight. Through the first 4 corners all was looking good until, he had a massive slide in turn 5 nearly crashing. He miraculously saved it and hammered the rest of the track, crossing the line in 3rd place, just 0.8 behind the leader!
‘Its time to switch to dry tyres now’ Scott said in the finish laughing about his qualifying run!
Before the finals we had some rain showers which certainly made the grass track tricky, but thankfully the track dried through the racing again.
Scott rode well in his first couple of rounds , moving through to the quarter finals. In the quarter finals, things started to get a lot tighter. In round 1 of the quarter final, Scott was able to win by 0.5 seconds in the blue lane. On the red lane he was able to control the race and again won by 0.3 seconds moving into the semi final.
In the semi final, Scott again put the hammer down in the blue lane taking a convincing win by 0.9 seconds. Like his quarter final, he was then able to control the 2nd round without pushing to the limit and won that race by just 0.1 seconds.
Onto the final.
In the first race, Scott was in the red lane to start. The gate dropped and both riders were level for the whole run until the penultimate corner when Jack Hudson washed his front tyre out and went down. Beaumont was able to take the win and Hudson was awarded the maximum first round deficit of 2 seconds.
In the second round, Scott showed his vast experience and simply sat on the wheel of Hudson all the way, keeping it smooth and actually giving it a little burst across the finish to take the win by 4 thousandths of a second.
“That was such an amazing day of racing. I am absolutely stoked to take the win and become the 2023 British Cycling Dual Slalom National Champion. Huge thank you to Schwalbe for their help today. We continued to switch tyres through the day seeking the perfect grip. This win is owed to them as I was able to push so hard in the last few races there. Half the job is done. 4X National Championships on Sunday to focus on now!” Said the new champion in the finish area.
Your Senior Men’s 2023 Dual Slalom National Champion was Scott Beaumont. Certainly well deserved, and the 45 year old continues to be the man to beat in head to head MTB racing.
A huge thanks to The Malverns Classic and British Cycling for organising this incredible event.
Thank you to all the riders, medics, commentators, officials, commissaires, marshals, family and friends who attended this race. You made it a great day in a grass field!