The Northerndownhill series has made a name for itself over the past few years with a real mix of venues, some open and fast, some straightforward and some plain old nasty. Alwinton is the closest to epitomising that mentality with a short but massively technical track that holds plenty of steep and off camber sections of trail. With a few changes from a race earlier in the year the top section was extended well into the cleared section of trees which made for a little more pedalling but come Sunday it was flowing well and carrying speed a lot better than it had on Saturday. But that was just the gentle warm up for from there things became a whole lot more interesting as you dropped across the road. Tight off camber turns linking into rocky off camber straights with roots, trees & more greasy mud all doing their best to prevent you from finishing with a good time. Survive the whole track and you’re left with just the drop onto the finish line which itself proved a challenge to get right for many riders over the weekend.
Sitting on the edge of a military firing range near the Scottish Border there is a noticeable lack of population which leads to a real feeling of isolation at the venue so from that perspective alone it’s fairly unique. There are unfortunately a few issues with the one local who is nearby though which lead to a slightly increased push to the start. No big problem though and as ever transport was plentiful with no shortage of practice available, even for the very slackest.
Come racing and it was Andrew Dorritt who kicked the podiums off with a run to third in Juveniles and a time of 2:54. Second went to Brad Swinbank just under a second up on 2:53 whilst the win went to James Purvis with a 2:50. Third in Youth went to Jordan Byers with a 2:54, just under a second down on second placed Peter Hook. However, it was Rory McRitchie who took the win in style with nearly a ten second margin from his 2:44 run.
Ben Stanley took third in Juniors just three tenths down on Jordan Doig’s 2:33. Matty Leggett took the win with a 2:30, good enough for a top ten overall time of the day.
Into Seniors and it was Jamie Scott in third on a 2:32 with Michael Coup in second on a 2:27. The win went to Calum McRitchie on a 2:26, just over a second clear.
Masters next and the highlight of Russ Clark’s day was taking third with a 2:40, the lowlight occurring not long after when he dropped his house keys down the thunderbox. Chris Lazenby took second with a 2:36 but it was Mark Weightman who pulled it out of the bag to take the win and with it the spoils of victory. 2:30 was his time even if as ever there was mutterings of his desire to be a few seconds quicker!
Michael Strangeways took third in the Vets on a 2:59 with Pete Hoggan in second on 2:53. Shaun Kelly was the man on the top step though with a 2:45. Unfortunately there were only two riders in the womens category which meant that it was Esther Sands who took the win from Gina Robertson.
Last riders at the top of the hill come the end of the day are always the Experts and Elites. In Expert it was down to Joe Young to take third with a 2:26, definitely a stylish way to celebrate your birthday, with Steven Turnbull in second on a 2:24. The win went to Liam Little who looks like the hard work he’s put in this season should see him on his way to Elite for 2012. 2:22 was a quick time and put him third fastest of the day overall. In Elites it seemed impossible to get a clean run but nevertheless Adam Brayton’s first run time stood him in good stead for the win having ripped down the course in 2:13. Second went to Pete Williams on a 2:15 followed up by some Pinkbike writer in third.
Thanks to Liam Little
for this Helmet Cam run of the track – yes, the tunnel of trees really was that dark!
Cheers to Carl, Phil and everyone else at Northerndownhill who put the events on and keep things running smoothly, they’re one of the hardest working organisers when it comes to finding new venues for us to race. Next up from them is the North East Champs on the 22nd/23rd October which being double points will no doubt pull all those desperate for points out of the woodwork thanks to its double offering. After that is their second Mass Start ‘Super D’ at Kielder Forest. Check out their flyer here
for more info.Northerndownhill.co.ukFull results from Roots&Rain.com
Cheers to Adam Pagett
for the pics.