Northern DH - Yorkshire Champs

Aug 24, 2011
by Alasdair MacLennan  
Ramsgill. For those who’ve been racing since the late nineties this name will conjure up images of a pretty legendary Rav4 course (the precursor of the BDS) and of course ‘that’ road gap. Unfortunately that hill wasn’t the location of the Yorkshire Champs. Firstly because there are recurring land ownership/permission issues there and secondly because that hillside is now devoid of trees, having been recently clear-felled. So it was to the hill opposite that we journeyed for the Champs, over a decade since downhill racing was last seen in the valley.

Got a couple of pics after my race run

Carl Davison is the man behind the Northern Downhill Series, the first series to be up and running in the area since the NAMBS, and has spent a lot of time over the past few years scouting out hills in the north for racing. He’s been doing a great job of it too, the series having earned a reputation over the past few years for having some tough courses. Some less tough too but they’ve been a means to an end and have still produced some great races. This weekend saw the first visit to the opposite side of the valley in Ramsgill and it was to a much more open trail than we saw first time round all those years ago.

Starting pretty much at the top of a moorland means you’re pretty windswept off the start line which thankfully transpired into a tailwind for most of the track. For UK riders think a Moelfre in miniature. For the rest of the world the track runs its course down a knotted and gnarled grassy hillside fairly typical of the Yorkshire dales. Crests, dips and fades, a bit of bog, a few rock and lots of fast, drifty turns summed up the order of the day. Off camber fades especially made for fun at speed, more so once doused with overnight rain. There weren’t many sections where line choice really made much difference, in the main there was a clearly defined line, and only the first few turns really left riders looking carefully at the options. Even the stream gap with its metal kicker which at first looked exceedingly sketchy proved to be well judged with added incentive to hit it in the form of the aforementioned rock and mud littered stream.

some pics for the report. photo taken by James Taylor

With 167 entries this was the biggest NDH event ever. As with all these events the atmosphere was chilled (no place for primadonnas at these events), there was plenty of opportunity for catching up and drinking of beer and there was plenty of riding. There was uplift on the go with Carl’s custom trailers which help stop damage, a major UK bugbear, and a standard flat farm trailer with copious carpet to protect the bikes as they were stacked. But to be honest the hill was such an easy push many riders could have happily saved some money and just pushed. Indeed as we all had to do come Sunday once the steep field became too much for the tractors to climb fully loaded after all the overnight rain. No hardship, it was ten minutes and warmed you up nicely.

some pics for the report.

Onto the racing and we’ll cover off the race results as well as the separate Championship titles. And that of course all starts with Juveniles. Thanks to the fast and relatively untechnical nature of the course the times were tight. Andrew Dorritt took third with a 1:34, Brad Swinkbank a 1:33 for second whilst Rowan Carpenter took the win just four tenths up and on the same second. Youth saw Liam McDermott take third on a 1:30 just over half a second down on the 1:29 of Robert Pickard. The win was snatched with over a one second margin by Peter Hook on a 1:28.

2nd Race run

In Junior all three on the podium did so with runs under 1:30. Mike Newbould just scraped under that with a 1:29 and a second down on the 1:28 of James Wilson. Billy Matthews took the win with a 1:27 which placed him right in the midst of the Experts.

Calum Mcritchie took to the third step on a 1:28 in Senior. Jamie Scott was just six tenths up on a 1:27 and took second which left James Risker to take the win having broken the beam on a 1:26, good enough for eighth place overall on the day. Into Masters and Mark Weightman was another of the riders to break one and a half minute barrier with a 1:29 which placed him third. Second went to Russ Clark on a 1:29 but the win went to Russ Harland who quite frankly blew the hill apart with his 1:25 which put him fourth overall. Lee Podmore was third placed in Vets with a 1:35, Pete Hoggan second with a 1:31 and ex-Expert Darren Howarth on the top step having broken the beam on 1:28.

some pics for the report.

With seven women racing this was also the best attended NDH from their side too. With a combined category it was Janine Wolstenholme in third with a 1:53, Esther Sands second on a 1:48 and Elite Angela Coates the win on a 1:41. Also worth a mention was Youth rider Emma Whitaker who took the womens championship title with a 1:56 having only narrowly missed out on the main podium.

Tom Kelly took third in Experts and broke the 1:26 barrier by a mere tenth which let James Swinden slip through onto the next podium step with a half second advantage. It was Liam Little however who took the win, and with it fastest time of the day. His time was 1:23 and a clear one and a half seconds clear of the next fastest man. In the Elite category Brad Illingworth took third with a 1:27, some Pinkbike guy second and Alex Florian the win having crossed the line on 1:25.

Junior podium

Yorkshire champions:
Womens: Emma Whitaker
Expert: James Swinden
Juvenile: Rowan Carpenter
Youth: Robert Pickard
Junior: Billy Matthews
Senior: James Metcalfe
Master: Chris Lazenby
Veteran: Richie Molloy

The next round is Alwinton on the 25th September after a venue change from Carlton Bank. This is steep, technical and true NDH territory. It's also set in a fantastically picturesque area of Northumberland. Entries are filling up quickly so if you want to race it, get your name down now to ride one of the most technical northern tracks. Entry forms available here.

Full results available on Roots and Rain here.
Thanks to Tom Towers for providing the pictures.


  • 2 0
 Heh, I remember racing on the original hill a long time ago. NAMBS used to run it back in the day with Brian Whitfield father of the great riders Chris Whitfield and Jed. The course was used for the Rav4 with the likes of Steve Peat on his blue GTidriveand Greg Minnaar on his Animal Orange? racing it...good times! The road gap was pretty big back in the day, I seem to remember Rob Warner binned it and broke his hand or something.
  • 5 0
 nivce to see some sheffield lads getting top places Wink
  • 2 0
  • 1 0
 double agreed!!!
  • 1 0
 triple agreed. now watch my edit of the weekend.
  • 1 0
 I`ve never been to this track but from the pictures above it looks like a big grassy hill with a track taped out. Were there any other features like jumps, drops, roots or rocky sections ?
  • 2 1
 correct me if im wrong but didn't liam little win expert? Just from reading the article i got the impression that he did but in the results he isn't to be seen
  • 2 1
 Liam little did win the expert class, but as he's not a Yorkshire based rider he can not win the title of yorkshire champ.
  • 1 0
 Spot on - the actual round four race results are written there and correctly show Liam to have not only won Expert but also fastest time of the day. The list of names at the bottom of the article show who won the Yorkshire Champs in their respective categories. Liam couldn't win as he lives in a different region. The same reason explains why there is no Elite champion and Angela Coates didn't win the womens.
  • 1 0
 Correct me if im wrong but Peter Hook is yorkshire isnt he??
as he lives just outside york

for the youth title
  • 1 0
 ahh I get it now Smile
  • 1 0
 Good to see riders taking advantage of the double points at the regional champs giving them a great chance to hit up the Halo BDS in 2012!
  • 1 0
 nice one, it seems you pressed the picture button instead of the link button for the link at the bottom Beer
  • 6 0
 Nothing to see here, move along, nothing to see...
  • 3 1
 yer buddy yorkshire all the way best county on earth
  • 1 0
 Properly good weekend, hope they include this track/similar sort of thing next year, would be awesome!!
  • 1 0
 well done billy for taking the win for the sps.
  • 1 0
 Steves pension scheme
  • 1 0
 think ill sign myself up Smile
  • 1 0
 "and of course ‘that’ road gap." Whats the story there?
  • 2 0
 Sorry, not many reading it will have read about the original let alone seen it in the flesh. It was a pretty big gap for it's day - reckon it still would be now to be fair. Some massive crashes on it as the take off was a little soft. One of our mates hasn't left the ground since...
  • 2 0
 Yeah it was pretty big with 2 landings the pro guys where landing on a natural down side further from where others where landing nige page was immense on this jump. I cleared it every time in practice then in my race run slid out on my landing wiping an old guy out who my mates say had a huge comb over and he was laid on the floor with his hair flopped on the grass. And cam corded in bits ha ha good times Gutted I missed this year but bones will break. BRIAN WHITFIELD what a legend that's when it was good venues
  • 2 0
 Sick, thanks guys. Thats some crazy shit!
  • 1 0
 Remember Ponting hitting the gap and flat landing it 10ft past everyone else?
  • 1 0
 Yes ponting I couldn't remember his name but he found like a natural down side miles past the landing glad it wasn't just me who saw it lol cheers
  • 1 0
 1st place yo ugly son

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