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What’s FNSS mean?
Friday Night Summer Series, it does what it says on the tin. A summer race series for mountainbikes. Sorry no Cyclocross bikes allowed.

Why Fridays I want to go out on the beer?
Good question, could be that Public places are quieter on Fri Eve’s as most people are out doing just that. It could be the fact that you and the organisers get a chance for a good rest on Saturday if you don’t work. The real reason is that this series was started by Road Cycling clubs getting together. They already had road stuff on Tues, Weds and Thurs and nobody wants to race on Monday now do they!

OK what’s it all about then?
The Friday night Summer series is a group of races organised by individual people, in 2015 it has it’s 24th continuous year of running. It has the same central Insurance cover and one Uber head Honcho ..Neil Holman. This ensures a proper centrally organized setup and admin to enable easier accounting. But still all races are slightly different in format as each organiser adds his/her own touch.

How far’s a race?
The basic format is that everybody races together on a 45 minute plus one lap format.  The starts is split with Senior/Under23 first, followed by Vets/Grand Vets then Ladies/Youth This method means no matter what level of fitness you are you will not race for much more than an hour. This means only about 13-15 miles for even the fastest riders, and each race starts no earlier than 7.15.

What if the leaders lap me?
When the organiser works it out he’ll shout out last lap at the leader as he passes, and then at all following racers. When the race leader returns to massive applause for the win; all the following riders are deemed to have finished, No mater how many laps behind they are. All riders crossing the line receive a finishing position and some series points. Note; smart riders will have worked out that if the leader is catching you towards the end of the race, you can save having to do another lap if he passes you before you cross the line.

Can I do it – I have no flash kit or any race license?
Anyone can race, all you need is a bike and a helmet, and no special bike or kit either. All Under 16s must have parental consent. Mudguards, racks, toeclips, pink Emmelles, tandems, cut off jeans, we have seen them all and they add to the event. Nobody will laugh at you here, we’ve all been there trust me. There’s no need for any licence or club membership, just you, a bike and a helmet.

How can I prepare for a race?

There’s no real need to do anything special, except ride your bike a lot. If you want to get faster the only answer is to hook up with local riders or mates who are faster than you, and try and keep up. Do drink plenty of fluids pre race though.

If you want to get the maximum from a race, try and find a circuit off road in your local woods and try and ride it for an hour non-stop, as if it was the race. Try different clothes and tyres if you have any, and try braking as late as possible into corners. Practice taking at least a 750 ml bottle of drink with you, and learning how to drink on the move. Try and get out when its wet too, this will prepare you for that inevitable wet race. As far as your bike goes, check it over before the race, ride up a steep incline and check the chain is OK and doesn’t slip.

One tip here is to take off your tyres after your last ride before the race. Check them all round for thorns etc., and refit them. So many people use their bikes all week then find they have a puncture not long after the start of a race, don’t waste your entry fee. The races are so short as to make fixing a puncture on the night a real downer. The fastest racers will even practice fixing a flat whilst training, it helps to avoid panic if it happens in a race. Try and get it down to less than 3 minutes, it’s possible.
What does it cost? 
Its £10.00 per race with all Entries on the line.  Just turn up and pay.

At your first race (any round) you will be issued with your race number, this remains your number for all the series.  DO NOT LOSE IT & DON’T FORGET IT

Classes which one am I?
Well there are only a few categories to keep it simple. It’s based on your age at the first event, and you cannot change category during the series. Categories: Youth (12-15) U23(16-23) Senior (23-39) Veteran (40-49) Grand Veteran (50+) Lady (12+) Note Senior is everyone regardless of ability, Elite riders can, and do turn up, it’s your chance to learn from them.
We all race the next man on the night. Fast Juniors or Youths can enter the Senior race if they want more of a challenge. Some events may have an under 12’s race, check with each race organiser. Over the years these have died out due to time restraints and lack of interest.

Am I insured to race?
Yes and no. All race organisers have permission from the land owners to race there, and some pay considerably for the privilege too. You and the organisers are insured against the liability of injuring a member of the public. You are not insured for personal injury whilst racing. This is your own responsibility but not a requirement to race.
Note: We have a very good injury record, this is friendly local racing but accidents do happen.

How do the series points work?
The winner of each class at each round gets 100 points. Then its 99 for 2nd, 98 for 3rd on a sliding scale to the final finisher. This system means that the series cannot be won just by winners, someone who is consistently high placed can do just as well. If you have plans to go for a series position then you need to finish at least 6 events.
So there are 6×100= 600 points on offer.
If you do any more than 6 rounds then you can drop your worst results, which can help considerably if you have an off day.

But I can’t race because I’m helping as a marshal?
This problem has been recognized. So to encourage racers to get more involved in the organisation side there’s a new rule. Race organisers and their helpers can now claim race points for the race that they organise/assist at, (if required). But for a maximum of 1 event only. The points awarded will taken from an average of 2 of your events (1 before and 1 after your claimed missed event. The 1st event in the series organisers will be given average points from the 2 events after and the last event organiser the 2 races before it. So please offer your hard working organiser a hand and sign on the start list as a Helper on the night.

What happens on the night then?
Racers start arriving from as early as 5pm sometimes. (check with organiser) The organisers might not be ready to sign you on and ask questions for a while, they will be busy setting the race course up. Get changed and go for a pre-lap and then sign on when they are ready. You are required to sign a sheet to say you are racing, and to pay if entering on the line.
If you have entered one of the previous rounds of the current series, there is now no need to fill out a form again, the organisers have your personal details, all you need to do is pay and sign on. Please Please fill your name in clearly on any form, putting someone in the results as Mr. J Bloggs is very messy and amatuer.

Race starts and course markings are usually a bit fluid on the night, just follow the other riders when they start to collect into a starting bunch. The organiser will give out any race info and your off.
VERY IMPORTANT – Please don’t line up on the front row if you are not a serious race challenger. Yes you might be fast for 1/2 a mile, but we have had some bad crashes from inexperienced riders thinking they have a right to hold up our fast boys. We don’t grid riders and don’t want to in future. Some starts are narrow so for safety be realistic please.

After the race go and get changed, chat with the guys you just beat, and hang around making friends.
Beware! of little biting things at some of the wooded race areas as the sun drops down.

Will I get results or prizes on the night?

Yes for Prizes. Riders who are in the top 2 or even down to top 5 will receive something, we have a good reputation for prizes and encourage organisers to put a lot back to the riders. Some organisers add extra fun prizes at their events

Full results will be posted as soon as possible.   Normally by the time you are having breakfast on Saturday morning they will be on the website.

Series standings are published mid-week after 3 round have been completed.
Hey I fancy having a go at organising one?
Anyone can hold one of these races, beware though, it’s lots of hard work and a thankless task at the best of times. You will not please everybody, so try and cover all the bases.
OK you have a good venue within our catchment area, – no field mashing please.
Right then start planning. You need a lap of at least 2 miles, that will give you 6 laps for an hour. Longer is better. think of a date you’d prefer and come along to the organisers meeting, or mail the site, and get involved.

Other organisers will offer any help they can, but on the night it’s up to you and your helpers. Race numbers and timing will be provided by the organisers, but you must provide the personel.

The final round and prize-giving, what’s it all about?
To save the organisers having to calculate points on the final night, it’s a non scoring round.
To add some spice it’s run on a handicap system. Fun riders who have regularly been thrashed all year will get a good head start on the Series winners who will go off up to a lap behind them. Handicaps will be based on your results all year. Come along and find out what its like at the scary sharp end of a race for once. From 2009 this became a fancy dress night too which went down really well and adds some extra fun.

Beware pot hunters: Anyone who has not entered the series will start with the fast boys for this race.
This is required after previous pot hunting riders came along and entered the race with no track record. This ruined the spirit of the event. It’s all about giving the slower riders a chance to lead, and even win an event.

Plan to stick around after the race for some Bar-B-Q food, have a few drinks at the superb Kilworth Springs Club House and watch the series prize presentations of the trophies. It’s a long time untill the following May so what’s the rush to go home hey!