The Santa Cruz Ard Rock Festival, supported by Maxxis and Camelbak, is well underway this weekend in the spectacular Swaledale valley in northern England. The festival provides the usual cocktail of racing, riding, expo stands from a plethora of brands and demo rides with specific loops shaken up with some live music and enough food stands to feed an army.
The event is arguably the biggest UK MTB event on the calendar this year, attracting over 4,000 competitors attempting 4 different races, and 15,000 visitors from around the globe. Saturday laid host to three events the Sprint (a short enduro loop), the Marathon and the Enduro – arguably the crown jewel.
The Enduro was graced by big names such as legends Steve Peat and Tracy Moseley along with current star and local hero Danny Hart taking a dip into the unknown.
The evening entertainment was headlined by the UK Foo Fighters, a tribute band and a host of other top quality musical talent. Saturday’s live music was also interrupted by a Maxxis Tires Pump Track Challenge, with a year's sponsorship from Maxxis up for grabs for the contest's winner. Last year's champion Jono Jones had returned to defend his title against tough challengers such as Identiti’s Pat Campbell-Jenner with well his well-known twin brother Matt Jones for support.
The weather has played ball the past two days leaving the progressive tracks packed with dust and loose rocks. The stages, while challenging to ride fast, are a great level of technicality to keep pros on their toes but managing to encourage new riders to the sport. This was my first time at the event, it is easy to see what all the hype is about.
Danny Hart gets set for to race, while many others form an orderly que for a fry-up.
Steve charges the hillside eager to take the category win, but he'd be taking more than that! Danny Hart cuts the same high line as Peaty.
The pumptrack was getting warmed up for this evening's events and SRAM and Shimano were on hand to help see to any mechanicals.
Full results here