Stage 4 of the 2,000-kilometer GBduro went off with fast start yesterday morning (Monday the 23rd). That means that any riders who didn’t scratch or miss the cutoff times through Stages 1-3 were still in General Classification (GC) and eligible to finish and place in the overall GBduro event. Last time we checked, there were 13 riders left, five of whom were women. That amounts to over 30 riders who didn’t make the cut. However, we learned that a half a dozen of them stayed on route and this is day 11 of their adventure. Since they’re out of GC they’ve simply pushed on, determined to ride the length of the UK off-road. The GBdivide looks like a great route, so who can blame them, even if the “scrappy picnic” rolled on and left them in the muck. On the bright side, they’ll be enjoying some of Scotland’s finest gravel long after we post these final photos. As for the other 13, all but five have now made it to the finish, meaning all the metaphorical podium placements are set in stone.
Stage 4 was the final push to the northern end of the UK. It’s the shortest of the four stages at 380 kilometers and sees the riders from the Bonny Bonny Banks to the sprint finish at John O’Groats with about 4,400m of climbing. It made for a slightly nail-biting dot watching session over the last 24 hours with several competitors leapfrogging throughout the stage and most of the top riders pedaling nonstop for almost a full day.
The biggest story from Stage 4, as you may have read here, is that the former course leader Angus Young’s freehub bit the dust yesterday afternoon. In an odd turn of events, he was loaned a full-suspension bike to finish the race by an onlooking fan. Despite the setback, Angus retained a comfortable lead for the majority of the stage and probably grinned a little while railing those chunky descents.
Race organizers later made an announcement that disqualified Angus from the General Classification, stating that “Self-supported riding is about getting yourself and your kit to the finish, and riders must not gain advantage as a result of the event taking place. It is for this reason we have had to DQ Angus Young for using a dot-watcher’s bike after he experienced a catastrophic mechanical. To have avoided using ‘outside assistance’ Angus should have detoured to make use of a commercial service i.e. one that was available to all riders, regardless of whether the event was taking place or not.”
As with many ultra-endurance events, the GBDURO’s rules were framed around the Transcontinental ruleset defined by the late Mike Hall and Anna Haslock. These rules were referenced for this decision. In this instance, according to The Racing Collective, Angus’ dot-watcher bike swap counts as receiving dedicated outside assistance. The crux is that while the ‘kindness of strangers’ is allowed, dot-watchers by definition are not strangers—they know both the rider and the event and therefore would treat riders differently from the way a complete stranger would.
This was a bitter sweet ending for Angus, who made it to John o’Groats at about 3AM local time. Not only would he have won the 2021 GBduro, he would have broken Lachlan Morton’s 2019 record for the course. Either way, a nod of our cap goes out to Angus for a remarkable performance. I’m sure we’ll see him again.
That meant the more interesting contest was behind Angus. For much of the day leading into the evening hours, Jaimi Wilson maintained second place in the group. However, at some point in the evening, Ollie Hayward rocketed past several riders including Jaimi and gained a 30 kilometer lead over her, threatening Angus’ theoretical position on the stage about 100km from the end. Unfortunately, Ollie’s tracker went dark for an hour or so around 1:30AM local time, leaving us guessing as to whether he stopped or had a malfunction. Jaimi maintained the third place position for the remainder of the race while a small band of contenders fought for the scraps. Among them were Philippa Battye, Alice Lemkes, and Carl Hopps, three names who’ve consistently been noted in our coverage.
Angus Young was the first to arrive at John o’Groats. In the small hours of the morning, more riders joined him as the final spot of the scrappy rolling picnic unfurled. Ollie Hayward got in an hour or so after Angus, making him the official winner of Stage 4. Jaimi Wilson came in shortly thereafter, followed by Chris Simpson and Mark Beaumont. Philippa Battye and Alice Lemkes arrived at the same time with Carl Hopps coming in a little after.
Stage 4 results are as follows:
- 1st (Men’s) Ollie Hayward (019H:43M)
- 2nd (1st Women’s) Jaimi Wilson (021H:40M)
- 3rd (2nd Men’s) Chris Simpson (021H:51M)
- 4th (3rd Men’s) Mark Beaumont (022H:43M)
- 5th/6th (2nd/3rd Women’s) Philippa Battye (022H:55M)
- 5th/6th (2nd/3rd Women’s) Alice Lemkes (022H:55M)
Once all the results and times were tallied, Mark Beaumont was declared the the winner of the 2021 GBduro. This was Mark’s first group start bikepacking event and it appears all of his solo endeavors paid off for a strong finish. Mark finished in second place for the first three stages and had plenty of time accrued to hold on to a comfortable lead over the remainder of the finishers throughout Stage 4. Congrats Mark!
Congratulations to Jaimi Wilson who finished Stage 4 in second place. That gained Jaimi third place overall and the top spot in the women’s category for the 2021 GBduro. Jaimi had an incredible performance throughout the race.
Here are the top six finishers, which happen to be an even split between men and women. Congratulations to all of these top finishers and everyone who completed the route. It’s been quite a fun race to watch from afar.
- 1st Mark Beaumont (135H:24M)
- 2nd Ollie Hayward (146H:20M)
- 3rd Jaimi Wilson (148H:41M)
- 4th Carl Hopps (152H:21M)
- 5th Philippa Battye (157H:22M)
- 6th Alice Lemkes (169H:34M)
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