Updated: Dec 2, 2021
ROC Scramble 2021 welcomed runners and cyclist to Shrubland Hall, Barham, Suffolk for a duo of races over 3 or 6 hours, on newly built courses of approx 2.75K and 6.5k. This really was a unique event in stunning surroundings, that might just become better known as 'The Beast in The East' (a personal account to follow)!
It took around 2 years and a COVID lockdown between our first visit to Shrubland Hall and ROC Scramble 2021 taking place on 21 November 2021, but we knew that we had found something special the first time we set foot on the site. And thanks to owner Dr Farmer, his family and Estate Manager Mr Chris, our dream of a run and cycle race at this infamous venue became a reality. Did you know that:
Shrubland Hall is an historic English country house with planned gardens, built in the 1770s, with wild deer and stunning landscapes.
The parkland and formal gardens of the hall are Grade I listed on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens, and the hall itself is listed Grade II* on the National Heritage List for England.
The estate is an iconic motor-sport venue that hosted world moto-cross championships in the 1950's and 60's, with crowds of more than 20,000. Local lad Dave Bickers was the moto-cross World Champion in 1965 - and sealed the title in the last race of the series at Shrubland Hall.
In the 1960s, Shrubland Hall was turned into a health clinic and featured in two James Bond films - Thunderball (1965) and Never Say Never Again (1983). Never Say Never Again was was Sean Connery’s last portrayal as the MI6 agent, after he returned to the role following Roger Moore’s portrayal.
ROC Scramble was hosted by Run or Cycle Events in collaboration with eastern region MTB race organisers Mud, Sweat & Gears, Chip Timing UK and charitable event partner St Elizabeth Hospice. The events racing categories were:
Running* (adult male / female categories)
3-hour race: solo, pair or team of 3-4 members (starts 10am)
6-hour race: solo or pair (starts 9.30am)
Cycling** (adult male / female categories)
3-hour race: solo or pair (starts 10am)
6-hour race: solo, pair or team of 3-4 members (starts 9.30am)
Run* & cycle** (adult male / female / mixed categories)
3-hour race: pair (1 runner, 1 cyclist)
CLICK HERE for Chip Timing UK results.
CLICK HERE for the event photo gallery.
Thank you also for posting to Insta #ROCscramble - gallery below.
Congratulations to every single participant - runners and cyclists - solos and teams - for completing at least one lap of the ROC Scramble courses. We have been told (by quite a few people) that these might just have been the most challenging courses they had ever completed. And for those of you who were able to complete the full 3 or even 6 hours, we don our caps - you might just have gone down in folklore as being the first conquerors of 'The Beast in The East'.
But don't just take our word for it, here's an account of the cycling course from Insta @ rowleyscyclingproject
So how did my first MTB race go?
This is my mind on the warm up lap. I was slightly under prepared.
I had only ridden 10 miles in the local country park to prepare for this. Not really thinking too much about it.
We arrived and after signing on I went and got changed ready for my sighting lap.
Off I went into the unknown.
Bare in mind my MTB is a £500 bike I use for commuting in bad weather.
Off I went. The first mile I rode off feeling OK. A bit unsure as it was definitely a bit bumpier on the flats than I was expecting.
Hitting the woods I knew this might be my downfall. I really didn't know how my bike handling skills were.
Through the trail I went heart rate high as I was still slightly nervous.
Bike handling skills holding up through the tiny tech part of the course. Hitting the first climb I couldn't get my bike into the small ring so I quickly hopped off and ran the last part of the climb, jumping back on as the trail went flat.
Getting my breath back I continued on across a bumpy flat piece of open space.
Hitting a short tarmac section so that I could get a quick drink and try and calm myself down.
A quick left turn and hell no what's this. A steep little decent, a sharp turn to the right, then a steeper decent down to a long flat.
Never done anything like this before. Best get my foot out in case I lose control. Actually not as bad as I thought - lets carry on to the bomb section.
Choice of lines what. Really don't know which way to go.
Heart pounding instant fear brain on overload. What do I do.
Stuff it lets try it. Straight down the A line.
Oh a nasty little switch-back. Up and down I went through the bomb section, left right turns getting sharper.
Made it, can see the car park home straight now.
Hold on what's this. Another little bomb section.
God this ones steep, will I make it out. Oh no this climb out is bad. Oh made it.
Last few hundred yards now. Final corner.
Made it. Pale and breathing heavy.
Pulled over wife waiting for me. How was it? She asked.
Scariest thing I've ever done on a bike my reply.
This was just the warm-up.
We would like to give huge thanks to ROC Scramble event partners: Scott Sports UK and Pedal Power Cycles, who donated race prizes and provided mechanical bike support. To My Sports & More and Huckson for donating race prizes. To Spring Hill Sports Therapy for providing massage services. And to Unicorn Studios Ipswich for being our creative force.
To all volunteers who we just couldn't do the event without - including:
The Mud Sweat & Gears MTB series Team who spent many hours building the fabulous race courses and are also helping the event work behind the scenes here today.
St Elizabeth Hospice volunteers who are managing access and Car parking.
Many others who very generously supported the event
And to everyone who has donated to our charitable event partner St Elizabeth Hospice - we are thrilled to confirm that thanks to your kindness nearly £1.5k has been raised for the hospice (and still counting) at the time of going to press.
Run Or Cycle Events are proud to support St. Elizabeth Hospice with fundraising from ROC Scramble supporting the vital palliative care services that the hospice provides every year to many thousands of people in East Suffolk, Norfolk and Waveney.
We hope to see you back on the course in 2022.
Best wishes from the ROC Events Team.