We don't hear the term "Time Trial" much in mountain bikes. Obviously it's what we're all doing when we say "downhill" or "enduro" - racing the clock - but it signals that there's something a bit different when the phrase comes up. Something different is exactly what Northern Downhill is doing this year - sitting somewhere between Mini Downhill and a single-stage Gravity Enduro, this race looks like it was great fun.

Danny Hart putting in a practice lap

Race Report: Northern Downhill's Chopwell Time Trial

18 January 2015 saw the first NDH TT event at Chopwell Woods. This is a mini DH style grassroots event with practice in the morning and two timed race runs in the afternoon. It’s a totally relaxed format and great for riders new to racing in particular.With lots of first time racers signed up to this event it was shaping up to be a great day out for riders and spectators.

There was always gonna be a chance of snow and Chopwell woods didn’t disappoint. The track was frozen solid before practice with a nice layer of snow over the top. Starting at the top of the middle Powerline section, there were a couple of sharp corners, some smooth flow and a few slightly rougher sections, a couple of jumps and a few small bridges saw riders to the bottom. Gotta pedal hard on this course to get competitive! NDH donated a pound per entry back to the Chopwell Trail Builders who did great maintenance work on the track leading up to the event. Danny Hart put in a few practice runs to please the crowd although not racing to show his support for the riders. A few falls reported by the marshals but all being pretty sweet, the race runs started as scheduled for 12.00.

By then the snow and ice was about clear, a bit of slush in places but the track stayed frozen till the end. An hour and a half later and we were on to second runs with Scott Mears, James Purvis, Brad Illingworth, Lee Baxter, Alex Scarre, James Elliott, Alex McCabe and Rachel Simpson laying down the fastest runs for their categories during the day. No major incidents in race runs but riders were lucky to get away with two clean runs given the conditions! A great crowd hung about in the cold for podiums with prizes from Cycle Fix, Yorkshire Bike Guides, Roots MTB Coaching and Guiding, and Gravitate.


Photos: Adrian Webb