24 May 2012 | By moredirt
Superstars of the mountain biking world will be racing against the clock this weekend (26/27 May) in Hamsterley Forest, near Barnard Castle, as the 2,000 hectare beauty spot stages one if its biggest ever off-road events.
The Forestry Commission and Descent Hamsterley are hosting a spectacular endurance race with 300 bikers straining every sinew over six hours to claim top spot.
The County Durham woodland has become a magnet for bikers thanks to the trailbuilding efforts of the Hamsterley Trailblazers group and Forestry Commission.
Alex MacLennan Recreation, Forestry Commission Public Affairs Manager for the North East, said:
"It's the first time the event has been held in Hamsterley and it's a real feather in the cap. The starting line-up reads like a "Who's Who's" of biking, with a former world champion downhiller joining the UK top enduro riders. The action will be thrilling for spectators. It's brilliant to be able to get this calibre of event to Hamsterley and a reward for the massive volunteer trailbuilding effort invested in recent years."
Enduro racing began in Europe and is gaining in popularity in the UK. Hamsterley is part of a five legged championship called the Fetish Gravity Enduro, with other rounds in Scotland and Wales.
Organiser Steve Parr said:
"The format is a bit like car rallying with racing over stages, so it is always very intense. It's a test of muscle and technique. There are some really fast sections at Hamsterley and elite riders will top 40mph, adding to the frenetic action."
Spectators are welcome. The event village is situated behind The Grove and will be sign posted from Hamsterley Village. Saturday is mostly practice, with the action on Sunday starting at 9.30am and lasting well into the afternoon. Local riders are reminded that due to this high profile event the mountain bike trail network will have closures in place for most of the weekend.