Swarf owner Ian Stott raced his bike at the Belgium Singlespeed Champs in September, he's just sent over this great report of his experience, it sounds like a lot of fun! All photos are from third parties at the event.
More of a singlespeed festival than a bike race, SSBE was held over a weekend in September in Hamme, Northern Belgium. The Saturday started out with a hangover (from the Friday night arrival drinks) which blended nicely into a 30k ride from the event site taking in the local woodland trails. At least 50+ singlespeeders being led by a couple of locals around their trails, with a beer and BBQ stop about 3/4's of the way round. In the UK i couldn't help but think we would have been seen as a nuisance, but in Belgium we were treated with respect and smiles by both car drivers and dog walkers alike. This was the first time i had really ridden the Swarf on tight, fairly flat, woodland trails. It was fantastic. This bike seems to corner with far more grip than my old one which had exactly the same build. It also popped and jumped off the roots as easily as i could have hoped.
Sundays race began with a Le Mans start, and as is customary in singlespeed racing all the bikes had been moved from where we had left them. Mine had in fact ended up in a pile of bikes about 8 feet high. Luckily it was fairly near the top so it was easy for me to fish it out. The race course was a very short 2.5k on a track which felt like a cross between a cyclocross track and a BMX track, lots of compressions and berms and the need to be constantly pedaling to keep up your speed. At the end of the lap you could either drink a beer or take a long way round the starting field. I have never ridden cyclocross - i know i'm not tough enough for it, i'm just not a sprinter, but i felt like seeing how quick i could go round this track as i was on my new bike which i was loving riding. This seemed like a good idea until about half way round the first lap when i realised my lungs already hurt and i didn't have a clue how long the race actually was. Eight laps and eight beers later it was over, and i only finished one lap down on the winner (i think).
Conclusions from the weekend:
1) Adrian knows how to build a bike, he might have had to adjust the geometry on the Spline to get it to work with a 100mm corrected rigid fork, but he got it spot on. The bike is just so much fun to tear round the corners.
2) Fatcreations know how to paint a bike, not a scratch on it after being piled up with about a dozen other unlucky racers.
3) Everyone seemed to agree with both 1 and 2 based on the number of people taking pictures of the bike and passing on compliments.