Northern Down Hill Rd1 Alwinton

Northern Down Hill Rd1 Alwinton
Adam Hurst (TRG rider)
Race report for Alwinton.Arrived at the cold and snow ridden venue of Alwinton on the friday before the race. walked the track, first impressions were super steep and super gnarly!! The top was a really awful pedal fest which was virtually impossible to ride from the first uplift saturday morning. The middle after the fire road was so wet and had a sketchy, near vertical rock garden in the middle before levelling out for the bottom section. Practise saturday went well, managing 6 practise runs which was probably a little too many for the nature of the track. I only had 2 crashes on Saturday which were on my first and final run, so decided to clean my bike and put it away. Then getting the casual gear back on and walking the track again…… the track was destroyed, braking bumps, roots taking you off track, holes which were hub deep. it was definitely going to be a tough track to race on. walked back from the track with my bro (james hurst) discussing the recently observed lines and complaining about our soar muscles. Got back to the caravan, downed a few Fosters and headed to bed.
Woke up sunday feeling sore and battered. never the less i got my fresh set of pants and team jersey on and headed out for the uplift, managing to catch the first one up and being able to rail a Virgin track. The track had definitely dried a little but not for long due to another freak rain shower. It was just going to be one of those days. Managed to get 2 practice runs in Sunday morning which i would say was enough due to the tough challenge ahead. My first race run was the better of the 2 managing to stay on the bike but having a very messy and wobbly top section and a slow middle section. the second run consisted of a decent top section then threw it away coming off the bike on a polished root.
The overall weather for the weekend was overcast with the odd patch of sunshine and the frequent showers. I managed an 11th place with a time of 3:12.499. I was happy to get down but was disappointed knowing i could have gone a lot faster.
It was a fun weekend with a gnarly track, a decent uplift and a bunch of sound Geordies, and I will take the result as a positive and a place for improvement for the next race.


Richard James Molloy (TRG Overlord)
my race ramblings…
Alwinton – NDH rd1After weeks of glorious sunshine, and a teasing video of Jack Reading riding a dry Alwinton topped off with glowing reports of how well it was running on the uplift day the weekend before the race. Imagine how I felt as I watched the weather reports for the week running up to race weekend!My hopes for a dry Alwinton had been dashed – oh well if it had to be gloop! then so be it.

I didn’t walk the course as I’ve had the ‘pleasure’ of riding Alwinton before, and after talking to a few riders I was happy not much had changed since my last visit.

The push up from where the uplift leaves you gave me all the information I needed to know about what lay ahead – Wet and i’ll say it again – gloopy.

From the start and down though the stumps wasn’t too bad but it would get worse as the weekend progressed. The section through the conifers just after the old start was where the problems started, this section was really boggy and was very difficult to carry speed through. Once over the fire road the track was in much better condition and infact and was riding really well. The switchbacks had been worked on and in places widened. The entry into the rock garden now had a couple of options, direct over a root step down or swing out wide and through some rocks. Rest of the course basically remained the same other than some large holes appearing and it was apparent that the work done by Carl and his team to remove a top layer of mud had improved the overall feel of the track, yes it was still a mud fest but it was manageable. The bike (most of the time) would go where you put it, although the feeling of being a passenger made it self known on more than one occasion.

Practice on the whole went well and I was happy to finish the day with no major offs. Adam seemed to be dialling in the course well and his choice to run a Kenda KOT front and Nevagal rear was working really well.

Race day: 2/3 hours of rain over night had turned the top section into an absolute quagmire! But thankfully the rest of the track remained the same as the previous day. Time to race and as suspected the haul down to the fire road was just painful, it was a joy to finally enter the forest and only have to deal with Alwinton’s infamous features! My run was steady away, I was careful not to have any offs, I was too slow through the entry into the rock garden as I paused to get clipped back in – personal note to self, even though I changed back to Shimano DX pedals from Mallets, which by the way performed superbly, Alwinton is a flat pedal course all day long! I knew this from last time but still ran clipped in. Rest of the run went relatively well and I crossed the line in one piece having had a clean run.

I finished 9th in Vets and survived yet another outing at Alwinton, I wasn’t fast but this time I had kept the bike rubber side down a vast improvement on the last outing . Hopefully next time will be even better.

Thanks goes to Stef for Cycopath cycles for for his spannering skills and also taking the photos, Also worth a mention are Team CHR top banter and Mad Mick Hill for his enthusiasm.

Finally, as always thanks to Carl and all the Northern downhill team for putting on yet another great event.