My friend Mark Turner.

I was out riding my mountain bike on a Sunday in the early summer of 1995. I was at the top of Healey Nab and met 2 other riders, Dave and Tony. After a bit of riding together and chatting they invited me out for a ride the following Tuesday. I turned up at Dave’s house and there was Tony with Kev, another Tony and Mark. We rode one of their routes which, frankly, wasn’t particularly good! The following Tuesday I suggested I showed them one of my routes but had a mechanical failure so it had to wait for the next week. They were impressed with my different take on mountain bike routes and we were soon riding every Tuesday and Sunday on all kinds of local terrain.

The following spring, after the clocks had gone forwards and we were riding Tuesday evenings again I was sitting at the top of Healey Nab, ready to do the final downhill and visit the pub. Mark set off first and I followed. The trail starts with a gently downhill single track and I stayed close. As the trail opens up the speed rises. A right/left combination turns steeply down, levels out then goes into a long, fast right hander. Then a bumpy descending straight but still no chance to pass. I could, perhaps, have ridden the section quicker but had no way to overtake. There’s then a long, fairly level straight and Mark was very fit. I hung on, approaching the last corner. A sharp right which is downwards on the exit. Mark stayed on the left to take a wide line and hold his speed. I saw my chance and tucked in to the inside of the bend, undercutting him and coming out ahead. We stopped at the stile and nothing was said.

Six months later, towards the end of summer time we had the same situation. Mark set of first  and I shadowed him the whole way to the final corner. I was lining up for the inside line again but Mark tucked in tight this time, blocking me. We stopped at the stile as we had done six months before. He turned round and said “I wasn’t letting you pass me again”.

Mark develop a brain tumor and after a more than four year struggle we lost him in April 2016. God bless you Mark Turner.

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