by Ben Haworth
March 13, 2009
The trail, packed with twists, turns and technical features, has been specially built to host a brand new mountain competition for northern England on 4 and 5 April.
Up to 150 top bikers will pit their skills against the terrain, notching points to take forward to other legs of the challenge to be staged in County Durham, North York Moors and Cumbria.
Trail builders have worked with the Forestry Commission for two years to bring the event to Kidland.
Philip Grimes, a member of Northern Downhill and who hails from Durham, explained: “We’ve eyed Kidland for some time as a potentially brilliant venue. The terrain lends itself to fast and hair-raising action. Downhill biking is a massive sport in the UK, but until now we’ve often had to make long treks to Wales or the Highlands to take part in races and get an adrenaline rush. Now we have created a new race series and venue on our doorstep.”
The championship is for skilled riders, who will take under three minutes to negotiate the Kidland route. Steep and fast, the trail is not for novices. The event has been supported by a £1,000 grant from the Northumberland National Park Authority.
Alex MacLennan, Recreation, Tourism and Communities Manager with the Forestry Commission, added: “There’s a big demand for race venues which are well designed and sustainably managed. Fortunately the north east has some fantastic locations with dramatic countryside. This new championship will draw people into the region and keep us at the forefront of developing exciting new locations for biking.”
Andrew Miller, Northern Operations Manager for Northumberland National Park added: “The National Park is well-known for its challenge events for the best in walking and running, so we’re pleased to support this first event for the cream of MTB riders to enjoy. The Upper Coquet Valley is very scenic with many welcoming B&Bs and the National Park Rothbury Visitor Centre can help entrants to find accommodation for the weekend.”
Other legs of the Northern Downhill Championship will be held at:
Hamsterley Forest, near Bishop Auckland – 2/3 May
Cartlon Bank, near Guisborough – 4/5 July
Scratchmere Scar, near Penrith – 8/9 August
A final race will take place on 10/11 October at a venue still to be determined. For details of how to enter go to www.northerndownhill.co.uk