the ultimate bike battle. ROUND 1 Report.

Unfortunately this will be the last Morvelo Battle Royale at this iconic Brighton venue, as it is being demolished this Summer. To see it off in style we have decided to hold Round 2 of this well received event here again.

We are already renowned for ripping up the traditional race rulebook with our urban cyclocross ‘CityCross’ event, and we were at it again with Battle Royale where 120 riders took to the Circus Street Market in central Brighton. 

Morvélo Battle Royale is an urban race derived from Cycle Speedway and adapted to make fun and competitive racing in any style accessible to all.  The format is simple; a fast and furious knockout comprising of two teams, (or ‘bike gangs’ of 3 people) fighting it out over four oval laps with the last person riding deciding who looses. 

For a healthy dose of humour, bike gangs wear team outfits and when it comes to choosing a bike, anything goes.  From Tweed suits to leather jackets, and from riders kicking ass on Bromptons to old ladies with grey hair and flowery skirts, Battle Royale sees it all.  Never before has a Folder, BMX, Road, Cyclocross, MTB, Track and Downhill bike all raced side by side, but this wild and completely unpredictable event levelled the playing field and brought cyclists from across the spectrum together to battle it out in style.

A series of preliminary heats enabled all entrants to get a chance to race without the pressure of a result. Any team knocked out in the first round went through to a Last Chance Qualifier and 3 additional lucky teams were selected a Wildcard with automatic progression through to the 4th round. The quarter finals, semis and final ran over the best of three heats with the slowest rider of each team being eliminated so it was a battle of two against two.

This innovative format makes the racing exciting, crafty and incredibly close. There’s no point in treating Morvélo Battle Royale as a normal drag race and flying from the start if your final teammate is struggling at the back because if they cross the line last your team is out!  Leaders deliberately used blocking tactics to ensure their third riders were in with a shout of crossing the line before their last opponent and the continuous cheering from the captivated crowd amplified dramatically as many heats were decided on the last corner and in thrilling sprint finishes.

As you can imagine, this combination of fast sweeping track and tactical racing meant crashes are commonplace as racers sought to out-manoeuvre and out-pace their rival gang. A rougher BMX style of nudging riders off the racing line was rivalled by the kind of astute and incisive sprints through tight gaps that would make any directeur sportif proud.

Our undiscriminating ethos, about choosing not one form of riding over another, is no better demonstrated we think, than in this revolutionary race series.