661 Gravity Enduro report: Round 2, Kielder Forest

The second round of the 661 Gravity Enduro landed at Kielder Forest in wilds of Northumberland. Once again Rob Cooksley (Bad Ass Bikes) took overall victory in the men’s race with Helen Gaskell (Intense/Fox Racing) dominating the women’s race yet

The women's field is small but competitive - Hannah Barnes (MTBCut.tv) turning up to race

again.

Based in the grounds of Kielder Castle and the nearby Purple Mountain bike shop there were five timed (mostly) downhill stages offering a mix of natural and man made trail.

Stage one was a particular highlight; a freshly cut entirely natural loamy treat with plenty of line choice and some committing but fun riding through the trees.

Stage two was an entirely man made affair with plenty of pedalling and served to separate those who’d been putting in the training from the people who’d been winging it. Stage three was short but sweet without much pedalling but plenty of flow. Stage four had most riders buzzing, a high speed affair with plenty of loose rock, drops and jumps to keep people focused despite taking a toll with more than a few pinch punctures. Stage five served as the seeding run as well as the final timed stage, emerging from the woods into the arena just below Kielder Castle.

Once again the British summer weather said a cheery hello, meaning practise and seeding on Saturday was a soggy affair but happily lacked the carnage of Ae Forest. Combined with all the midges that didn’t turn up at Fort William heading south en masse it looked like it could be another grim weekend of racing but Sunday saw sunshine and enough of a breeze to keep the little biters away.

Sunday’s racing was tight, keeping a good balance of the pedalling and plummeting. At the end of each stage there was a cracking atmosphere as riders talked about the lines they’d missed and lines they’d hit – once they’d caught their breath again. Saturday’s post seeding bike weigh in proved interesting with some hardtails proving to be amongst the heaviest bikes being raced. Consensus headed to the slightly burlier end of fully sprung trail bikes being the tool for the job, so 140-160mm travel and circa 30lb weight. Uppy downy posts were almost universal…

We’ll have a video and a load of rider pics up on the site shortly, but in the meantime here’s a small gallery and the podium shots…

 

 

Results

Overall

1. Rob Cooksley (Bad Ass Bikes) 15m11s

2. Gary Forrest (I-Cycles) 15m12s

3. Crawford Carrick-Anderson (Hotlines UK/Lapierre/Fox) 15m17s

4. James Green (Yeti/Leisure Lakes) 15m32s

5. Neil Donoghue (One Planet Adventure) 15m33s

Men’s Elite

1. Gary Forrest (I-Cycles) 15m12s

2. James Green (Yeti/Leisure Lakes) 15m32s

3. Neil Donoghue (One Planet Adventure) 15m33s

Women’s Elite

1. Helen Gaskell (Intense/Fox Racing) 17m25s

2. Sarah Newman 18m32s

3. Hannah Barnes (MTBCut.tv) 19m23s

Men’s Veteran

1. Crawford Carrick-Anderson (Hotlines UK/Lapierre/Fox) 15m17s

2. Mike Hodgson 16m32s

3. Steve Deas (I-Cycles) 16m38s

Men’s Masters

1. Rob Cooksley (Bad Ass Bikes) 15m11s

2. Chris Buchan 15m36

3. Keith Buchan 15m48

Men’s Senior

1. Rupert Fowler (MBR) 15m36s

2. Joe Rafferty 15m37s

3. Eoin Elliott 15m52s

Women’s

1. Carrie Poole 18m58s

2. Ally Campbell (Campbell Coaching)  20m01s

3. Lettie Chambers 20m16s

Junior

1. Benn Gregg 19m03s

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