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.
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.
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
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.
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/
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.