Kielder NDH. Words and photos: Jerry Tatton.
This was the last race of the year for the NDH organiser Carl Davison. In summary, the idea was to put on a short and less extreme race; the name of the race reflected this – a “Funduro!”
One of the main purposes was to attract new racers, to help less experienced riders expand their horizons.
Despite this, there were some very experienced and capable riders there on the day, which simply demonstrates how much respect Carl has amongst the mountain bike community in the north of England; they just keep coming back for more!
The route followed the Deadwater trail at Kielder Forest, a mostly graded, flowy Red route. For those that don’t know, Kielder is home to Europe’s largest man-made forest and has a huge reservoir. It has also seen lots of sporting action in the past, including many Rally GB stages, various Yacht races and of course mtb races.
The loop was approximately 10 kilometres with 3 timed stages. The climb from stage 1 to 2 being quite some hill……
Stages 1 and 3 were fast and flowy routes with plenty of berms, but nothing too technical for the riders new to racing. Stage 1 did however have a beastly uphill sprint!
The 2nd stage did throw in some more technical rock drops, jumps and roots, but chatting to many of the riders, stage 2 appeared the most fun.
One good thing about the NDH races is, there’s always a surprise stage that sticks out from the rest on difficulty (I speak from experience!).
The race was capped at 120 riders due to the diminishing light at this time of year.
75 drenched riders completed the route, regardless of the horrendous and biblical rain throughout most of the day. The rain itself certainly juxtaposed the race name of Funduro.
The fastest rider of the day, a veteran, Lee Baxter finishing in a total time of 6:22:59 over the 3 timed stages, certainly showed the young ones how it’s done. The next fastest Zach Robson was only 6.70 seconds behind.
The fastest of the women was Jenny Nuttall with a total time of 7:40:87 and close behind her Sarah Vayro 6.19 seconds slower.
The prizes for the riders on the podiums supplied by the fantastic Start Cycles.
This was definitely a good level entry race for people not sure whether to get into mountain bike racing. Not only was the total distance easy going for most, but the trail technicality was very accessible to all the riders, with a few technical features in stage 2, but there were also “chicken” runs available.
Next year looks to be superb for the NDH races.
Carl has planned a couple of Funduros, 3 ND(H)uros and TT’s throughout the year to keep all of us racing and busy throughout the year.
Bring on the rain, the mud, the dust and more great racing from Carl and the Northern Downhill crew and their sponsors Start Cycles.
Massive thanks go to Start cycles who sponsored this event at Kielder and thanks to James the timing dude and everyone else who has helped or taken part this year.