Back in 2012 over 40,000 spectators flocked to the farm over two days to watch the world’s best mountain bikers compete for gold at the London 2012 Olympic Mountain Bike events.

The 5km circuit situated on open hillside was a new concept for Mountain Bike events, which are typically held in forested areas. Largely man-made, it featured dramatic drops across imported boulders and tight twisting climbs. In total, 500 tonnes of rock and 3,500 tonnes of crushed stone were used in its creation.

The site also offered great viewing opportunities for spectators as the landscape extended across the Thames Estuary to Southend and the 700-year-old ruins of Hadleigh Castle was the backdrop.

Events were held as straight forward races around the course with the riders all starting together, the winner being the first to cross the finish line. The Men’s event saw 50 competitors complete a distance of 40-50km (25-30 miles) and the Women’s event saw 30 riders complete a distance of 30-40km (20-25 miles). Typically each race lasted around 1 hour 30mins to 1 hour 45mins with 6-7 laps ridden and 1.7kms of climbing per lap.

The Olympic Medallists were:

Women’s race:

Gold: Julie Bresset (France)
Silver: Sabine Spitz (Germany)
Bronze: George Gould (USA)

Men’s race:

Gold: Jaroslav Kulhavy (Czech Republic)
Silver: Nino Schurter (Switzerland)
Bronze: Marco Aurelio Fontana (Italy)

Creating a legacy

Since the games, the Active Essex team at Essex County Council have worked closely with the local community to preserve this great sporting legacy, creating a World class Sports facility that is now open for everyone to enjoy.

You too can now experience the thrill of visiting and riding at an Olympic venue.

The first National level event following the Games was held in October 2012 and the British Cycling Youth Inter-Regional’s event has been held here ever since. There have been several community events, regional racing and a National round of the senior British Cycling series. 2015 saw the British Cycling National Championships held at Hadleigh for the first time.

The relationship Active Essex has built with British Cycling will be the key to developing home grown talent from Hadleigh to one day compete in the Olympics.