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Race Report: The Naughty Northumbrian Was One of the UK's Wildest Enduro Races

Aug 27, 2019
by Tommy Wilkinson  
Stage 5 was a stage for the ages. Carl and his band of men made possibly the most unique stage an Enduro in the UK has ever seen.
Stage 5 was a stage for the ages. Carl Davison and his band of builders made possibly the most unique stage an Enduro in the UK has ever seen.

Widely regarded as one of the most unique mini cycling festivals in the UK, the Naughty Northumbrian has gained a reputation for amazing, short and wild stages, stunning terrain and some of the finest beer in its first three years.

A collaboration between Carl Davison, Barry Kemp and local boy Tommy Wilkinson has seen the event go from 350 entrants in year one to 760 in year three. It's an event that not all will complete - it is steep, tech and old school terrain set amongst the most remote valley in England. It is also a stunningly beautiful area.


With a mixture of good food, 900 people camping, a growing expo, games, beer and music, the event is developing into a relaxed, carefree reflection of the area it is in held in.

Most riders who have raced here before know what to expect and others have no idea how amazing the riding here in Northumberland is. With plenty of pinners in the county, but no big names, the area has struggled to get on the map for a number of years, but this event has changed that.


With 6 stages spread across 25 miles, taking you from event HQ at Clennell Farm all the way to Fairhaugh, only 3 miles from Scotland, this is a big day with deceptively punchy climbs that caught many out. Add into that some unnervingly high temperatures for this area at this time of year, and water was a must have pre-requisite. The event demands riders carry 1.5 litres on themselves but in this temperature the 600 litres at the feed station was blown out quickly. On Sunday, a further 1000 litres were added next to the, as ever, fully staked out mid-forest pizza stop.


With riders buzzing all weekend, the tunes blaring out at the top of stage six and plenty of spectators there was a party spirit going on.

There was also a gravel sportive on over the weekend. It was full of huge views and epic miles but wasn t all plain sailing. Some errors were made and we ve learnt a lot - It d be wrong to ignore those errors and we ll make sure we engage with riders for in depth feedback.
There was also a gravel sportive on over the weekend. It was full of huge views and epic miles but wasn't all plain sailing. Some errors were made and we've learned a lot - It'd be wrong to ignore those errors and we'll make sure we engage with riders for in-depth feedback.


Stage 4 was a brand new freshie cut amongst some young growth way out back of the forest. A definite fan favourite and it's been amazing to see Carl's trail building progress over the last 3 years.


THAT stage. We've often looked at the rocks and been keen, but the stars aligned for it to happen this year. A real love-hate stage that was alien to may riders. Control your braking, don't stop, let the bike move underneath you. Easier said than done. Ride this, and you can tackle any natural trail in the UK.

Chris Hutchens travelled up from Bristol to experience the shale of Stage 5.
Chris Hutchens travelled up from Bristol to experience the shale of Stage 5.

How good were these gluten-free Taco's?


Mitsubishi UK provided two brand new pick ups for the media team to use across some very remote terrain. Rough ford crossings steep pitches and rocky moorland were all tackled with ease.
Mitsubishi UK provided two brand new pickups for the media team to use across some very remote terrain. Rough ford crossings, steep pitches and rocky moorland were all tackled with ease.



Good times!

Early morning over Upper Coquetdale.
Early morning over Upper Coquetdale.


Beer from Wylam brewery in bio degradable beer cups. We still filled 3 skips but everyone was much neater than last year. Thank you for respecting our home.
Beer from Wylam brewery in biodegradable beer cups. We still filled 3 skips, but everyone was much neater than last year. Thank you for respecting our home.

The cinema night was a rip roaring success. Vision movie Dudes of Hazzard and the latest Descent-World film were played with over 450 watching.
The cinema night was a rip-roaring success. Vision movie, Dudes of Hazzard and the latest Descent-World film were played with over 450 watching.

The event is a definite badge of honour to complete and it was amazing to see riders get back on out the Sunday after being a bit daunted during practice. Many who felt it was too much for them rode 3, 4 or 5 stages and watched others tackle key sections of the trail with a beer later in the day. As organisers, we are happy for riders to take a DNS and ride what they are comfortable with. It was great to see such a positive attitude to the challenge, and refreshing. There is no shame in being a bit nervous of these trails - and the camaraderie on course was fantastic.

The majority decided they'd dive in deep and go for the full 6, maximum laughs!

All stages were being monitored by the safety team of doctors, paramedics and surgeons from Mountain Rescue all weekend and being guided by Barry's amazing safety plan - himself being a mountain rescue leader.

With that in mind, Stage 3 was scratched from the results after a rider suffered a broken leg and needed a technical extraction. He's in good spirits and while it was a shame to cancel the stage, safety and rider welfare always comes first. You can read his story here

Local Pinner Andy Weeding knows these trails well first racing here in 2009.
Local Pinner Andy Weeding knows these trails well, first racing here in 2009.

Louise Ferguson checking out the fauna of Northumberland National Park.
Louise Ferguson checking out the fauna of Northumberland National Park.

Smiles.
Smiles.

The easiest trail of the event Stage 1 isn t that easy.
The easiest trail of the event, Stage 1 goes across the hill more than other stages, but still has plenty to think about.

Roost. Yes Please.
Roost. Yes Please.

Some of the Naughty trails have been here over a decade now, and this event marries great riding with amazing craic, a chilled vibe and a wonderful community of riders who seek to push themselves and encourage others to do so.

On Sunday evening, we drew a charity Raffle, with £900 raised and the winner getting an Orange P7 or Crush Frame kindly donated by the top baeys at Orange bikes, who along with Team Cycles Gatehead, Stoked Clothing, Descent-World, Highfell Events and Funn donated awesome prizes.

Top Chief Joe Barnes described this as the best event he d been too in ages - despite Ferg pipping everyone for the win
Top Chief, Joe Barnes described this as the best event he'd been to in ages - despite Ferg pipping everyone for the win!

Female winner Louise Ferguson looking composed all day long in the sweltering and often uncomfortable heat. 1600 litres of water were put out for the riders on Sunday after feedback.
Female winner Louise Ferguson looking composed all day long in the sweltering and often uncomfortable heat. 1600 litres of water were put out for the riders on Sunday after feedback.

This event pushes riders - It s not a beginner level event. That said many were prepared to roll up their sleeves and ride terrain that only 10 years ago was regularly been ridden by riders on hardtails but is seldom seen these days. This is old school tech.
This event pushes riders - It's not a beginner level event. That said, many were prepared to roll up their sleeves and ride terrain that only 10 years ago was regularly been ridden by riders on hardtails, but is seldom seen these days. This is old school tech.


The Wylam Brewery bar was stacked out once again. The 6.7 Jakehead was disturbingly popular....
The Wylam Brewery bar was stacked out once again. The 6.7% Jakehead was disturbingly popular....

How many people got the slo-mo of this falling
How many people got the slo-mo of this falling?


Despite the jovial nature of the event, there was still a race to run and the results threw up some surprises with the technically gifted riders rising to the top.

You can check those results here: https://www.rootsandrain.com/race7655/2019-aug-25-send-it-events-the-naughty-northumbrian-enduro-coquet-valley/results/

Stage 2 Fairhaugh and high above the Usway Burn. Steep.

We'll have some news about 2020 details and how to enter in the very near future - in the meantime a huge thank you to everyone involved.

All non aerial images by Lewis Gregory.


22 Comments

  • 3 0
 Class couple of days out in gorgeous remote scenery. Trails were so much fun to ride. Will definitely be back next year. Well done to all involved!
  • 1 0
 Great event and weather was much better than previous years. Sunday was a scorcher. Probably the hardest Enduro in the UK this year. Took loads of images, they can be found here - www.rootsandrain.com/race7655/2019-aug-25-send-it-events-the-naughty-northumbrian-enduro-coquet-valley/photos/filters/photogs2589
  • 1 0
 Not raced in years, never done an Enduro, so did it on a hardtail, how hard could it be?

Bloody hard as it turns out, still feel shattered but ready to have another crack at it next year! Stage 2 and 5 were definite highlights, just as well the weather held them together.
  • 1 0
 Can't fault the organisation, marshalling nor stage quality. The vibe all weekend was really great and the camping field was perfect! Long days for short stages but the smashing weather helped make that more tolerable and the views were just stunning!
  • 1 0
 I must have ridden a completely different event, no variety in terms of stages, too short for the amount of pedalling between stages, lack of support, in particular the water provided, like how the coverage emphasises the amount of water provided when in fact there was not enough and even the mountain rescue raised concerns over this, amazing, couple of burger vans and a beer tent with no one serving, real party atmosphere, the 5 hour drive was clearly worth it
  • 3 0
 Congratulations to all involved, this looks like an amazing event. I need to get entered for next year!
  • 2 0
 This year was an absolute belter! Best tracks yet, great festival vibe and the weather topped it all off beautifully. Three cheers to all involved!
  • 1 0
 Raced this every year so far but unfortunately broke my fingers weeks before so missed it ! but marshalled it instead and it was mint ! well done to all who raced .. it was a tad warm like !
  • 1 0
 The stages were awesome and I did really enjoy it but my god did you have to pedal for them. There was a heap load of traversing over a 25 mile course for not a lot of racing.
  • 2 0
 With a bit of luck, our usual transition to 2 and 3 may be open again next year. We couldn’t use it this year due to logging . The long way round is a slog - as you found out! Pleased you enjoyed it though and hopefully see you again!
  • 1 0
 @TommyWilkinson: That's good to know. Any chance of a stage or two which uses more of the terrain and less of the elevation in future? The six on Sunday were all excellent, don't get me wrong, fun to ride and a hell of a challenge to race on but something over 3 minutes would be an awesome addition!
  • 2 0
 @sourmix: We'll all sit down and have a chat about it. I know we'd love to do that for sure, but we need to see what's possible and what's not. Fingers crossed!
  • 1 0
 @TommyWilkinson: Tommy whats the crack with the trails - are they off limits to the public now that the race is over?
  • 2 0
 @johnnyboy11000: They are totally off limits Johnny. Very commercially active land and a big no go area from the FC.
  • 2 0
 @TommyWilkinson: Thanks dude, appreciate the response. If you ran all six stages the same next year it would still be a great event, but something longer would be really cool.
  • 2 0
 @TommyWilkinson: no worries, it would have been nice to have another go but wouldn't want to upset anyone and jeopardise future events.
  • 1 0
 There was inadequate water out on the course but there were plenty of riders out on Saturday with just a single bottle so they need to carry some responsibility and be better prepared
  • 1 0
 From what i can make out this should be called the Marmite Enduro. loved or hated with no inbetween. one on the list to try in the future!
  • 2 0
 It was brutal riding all stages Saturday then Sunday in that heat, but I’ll be definitely up for it all again next year!
  • 1 0
 An absolute brute of an event: my first Enduro. Was a true challenge (especially doing it all again on the Sunday). Definitely one for the calendar.
  • 2 0
 That event looks so awesome. Can't beat a good old northern vibe!
  • 1 0
 Sick weekend and thank you ???????? This was a one to remember.

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