Descent World – Scottish Mountain Biking | Film Production | Photos | Adventure Stories

Northern Downhill Round 2, Hamsterley

Anyone who has raced at Hamsterley will know it’s a cracking venue, with any number of track combinations. However the logistics are slightly more complex, with the parking at the top, the cabin in the middle and the finish and uplift at the bottom.

With more than one focal point the spectators and riders would be spread all over the hill.

Time to try something different. The pits set up at the bottom really does make sense and there was plenty of space without the need to double park on any access roads. The atmosphere in the pits and generally the feel of the place made it feel like a new venue. I think most riders would agree we need more tracks finishing down the Grove as well as a bridge crossing.

Ben Moorhouse

Ben Moorhouse

The track started from the 4x start ramp with a couple of pedal cranks, then squash the first table followed by another pedal before taking off the second jump but this time jumping up right into the trees. The speed from the 4x start is maintained through the trees for about 40 seconds of stump alley, with the odd corner and plenty of holes and rocks for good measure. To maintain your speed here it was crucial to look far ahead and roll the grass sides to avoid or hop the holes. This section was almost impossible to remember hence the brief description as it looked almost identical from leaving the 4x to the fire road, I am sure every run I chose a different route.

The first fire road came at hyper speed and seemed to have a right hand turn in it which I have never noticed before. The track now heads into the darkness stepping down onto a rock garden which tempted you to hit it with the hyper speed I mentioned from the fire road. I tried it flat out on the Saturday, to the expense of my helmet peak. Luckily I had managed to hit the only padded tree on the course. Needless to say my brakes where dragged for the rest of the weekend!

The next section was still quite fast but the track got more technical with a series of rocks entangled with roots. Again maintaining your speed was crucial but it also led to being easy to get off line, which would spit you through the tapes.

Back out into the open now into the bomb hole out over the big tree root then on to the fire road. The track heads diagonally down to a small rock garden with a left corner, this could be straightened by crashing through the Leylandi bush. Followed by a high cut on the next right then left, heading straight down the gradient for the next couple of corners right left right all could be straightened by rolling the roots which many chose. The track now joined the NPS track from many years back which is well worn in, on what seemed to develop into a off camber right with a hard sandy surface and generally no brakes fast, heading across to the last couple of corners in sight of the finish, with the odd bomb hole to negotiate on the way, before hard on the brakes to rail a left hairpin which has little support on the exit and little grip as its flat and sandy. Again heading across the hill it was time to pedal, before railing the long right which turns into a drop into a shoot, followed by the step down which had to be squashed or risk a huck to flat. Some riders chose the huck to flat for a laugh! Rail the long left berm as fast as you want and out over the line.

Descend Hamsterley’s top man Craig Hunter managed to have a weekend off running the uplifts and decided to race. I would describe the track as easy but hard. Easy as it was not that technical but hard as it was hard to race fast!

My favourite story from the weekend came from Jamie Johnson describing how he managed to have an off over his bars landing awkwardly dragging his trousers and underpants down round his big hairy ankles. Mark Purkiss happened to be following Jamie down and had the pleasure of witnessing the incident which led to him unable to ride for laughing. I only wish that Mark was wearing a helmet cam, so that we could all enjoy the moment!

Hamsterley’s Riley Fox brothers took the first two steps of the juvenile podium with Tristan finishing first and William 2nd
Matthew Downes took the youth win on the same second as Matty Leggett.

The juniors results where all top times which would have finished them high up the board in the seniors. Joe Roberts took the win with 1.54.75 followed by locals Joe Young and Bradley Craggs all within a couple of seconds.

Good to see Mic Saville making the masters podium I guess all those hours chasing Zac have paid off.

Local Veteran Lee Podmore took the win for NEFR but it was a close run with Gerald Hodgkinson on the same second.

The top three seniors had cracking times with Kurtis Knowles having the second fastest time of the day with a sub 1.49.37 and Ian Campbellcole 152.84 and James Risker 1.53.14

The ladies win was taken by Angela Coats with a winning time of 2.24.66 with Esther Sands in second and Gina Robertson finishing third on her first race.

Expert Ben Moorhouse took the win and the fastest time of the day with 1.47.62 on the last run of the weekend.

1st Tristan Riley Fox 2.06.54
2nd William Riley Fox 2.15.25
3rd William Hugil 2.33.62

1st Matthew Downes 2.04.12
2nd Matty Leggett 2.04.29
3rd Jack Walker 2.07.49

1st Joe Roberts 1.54.75
2nd Joe Young 1.56.21
3rd Bradley Craggs 1.57.09

1st Angela Coats 2.24.66
2nd Esther Sands 2.55.86
3rd Gina Robertson 3.08.31

1st Lee Podmore 2.07.12
2nd Gerald Hogkinson 2.07.42
3rd Michael Taylor 2.11.42

1st Jethro Whitfield 1.59.11
2nd Philip McLaren 2.01.51
3rd Mic Saville 2.03.65

1st Kurtis Knowles 1.49.37
2nd Ian Campbellcole 1.52.84
3rd James Risker 1.53.14

1st Ben Moorhouse 1.47.62 fastest time of the day
2nd Ben Whitehead 1.53.06
3rd Rob Young 1.53.54

Full results can be found on

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Special thanks to:


Your time and effort really is appreciated and the weekend could not go ahead without you. Thank you!


Everyone who made the weekend possible most of whom are Carl’s family and friends.

Forestry Commission for letting us try something different with the parking and pits.


Rich Easton from for the photos check his site for more.
Phil Moorhouse again for the podium photos.

Michael and the Team CHR boys for the head camera footage.


Thanks to this seasons sponsors Hope, Ride Central, MX1, Forestry Commission

Well done and enjoy, to the two lucky winners of the riding holiday courtesy of 2 holidays will be given away at each round in a raffle drawn by a podium winner after the presentation podium.

Future events

• We have now signed the lease on the land for the Alwinton track. This track will be built in the next couple of weeks and we will be holding some bedding in days soon so keep your eyes peeled. Again as Kidland these are event only venues and must not be walked or ridden without our permission.
• Mass start enduro We are in negotiations with a bike hire and shop whom will help promote the event and sponsor the prize fund.

We are always looking for whatever support we can, if you feel you or your company can help us in any way we would be over the moon to hear from you!

Phil ndh

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