British cities are clamouring to host the next Red Bull Hill Chasers race following a successful debut event in Bristol last weekend.
The Saturday night race, which pitted 32 cyclists from a range of disciplines against one another on a floodlit 200m street course in the centre of the city, attracted around 5,000 spectators.
Road, mountain bike, BMX and singlespeed riders raced against one another in a two-rider knockout format, with half of the riders being invited pros and the rest locals. As might be expected, the road riders triumphed, although the BMXers' explosive starts and the singlespeeders' leg power meant they could never be counted out.
"It's one of the best events I've been to," Nick Larsen, of event sponsors Charge, told BikeRadar. "The combination of cycling disciplines riding against each other and the central city location was undoubtedly key to attracting such a massive and diverse crowd of spectators."
In the end, it was Chris Metcalfe, of Matlock Cycling Club in Derbyshire, who took the win. He spun his way to victory by favouring his 39-tooth chainring and was rewarded for his efforts with a gold coloured Charge bike. Fellow road riders Paul Derrick and Ben Spurrier – who had been a reserve for the event – completed the podium. They were awarded silver and bronze coloured Charge bikes, respectively.
Local rider Tom Palmer, from Sea Mills in Bristol, had given the roadies a scare after he reached the quarter finals on his BMX. The event turned up further surprises, with Raleigh professional and reigning British hill climb champion Dan Fleeman knocked out of the event at the quarter-final stage.
Red Bull have hosted a number of cycling events in the UK in recent months. Last September saw the second running of the Red Bull Cobble Wobble, an uphill time trial in Frome, Somerset, and in mid-January, London was treated to the Red Bull Mini Drome. There, more than 1,000 spectators watched trials rider Chris Akrigg win a knockout event on a specially built 25m velodrome.
A second Mini Drome event is due to take place in Manchester later this year, with further locations around Britain expected to follow. Red Bull were unable to confirm to BikeRadar whether the Hill Chasers event will be repeated, but said they'd already received a number of enquiries from cities eager to host the event. "The event was a one-off, but following the success of last week, it could happen again," they told us.