AE Forest NDH TT – Sunday 15 Jan.

AE Forest NDH TT – Sunday 15 Jan.

AE Forest NDH TT – Sunday 15 Jan.

The first race of 2017 was upon me, not sure if I was ready for it in all honesty due to the Christmas holidays (all the booze and food) and changing jobs I had hardly been on the bikes much or trained much, but sod it I thought will just enjoy it.

6.30am – My friend drew turned up and we quickly packed the car and set off, the car temperature read a balmy 7c outside, toasty!

As we got closer to the Scottish boarder and the iconic sign the temperature literally dropped from 7c down to 0c and we even saw the white stuff a few miles later, me and drew looked at each other thinking damn it’s going to be a nippy one!!!

The event was sold out with 120 riders entered, so there was no surprise when we reached the venue to find the car park jam packed with racers.

8.30 am – Myself and drew got setup and signed on, the number 35 was handed to me and I saw this as a lucky sign as I have just turned 35. After speaking with Carl the race organiser he informed us it was the same track as last year where I managed 4th, with this in mind there was no need to overdo practice.


9am- The course started on a fire road sprint into a very tight left hairpin corner, this was actually quite tricky with no grip to help slow you down and get through the corner, but in the back of your mind you wanted to leave the braking to the last second to help carry speed for the 50m sprint ahead. This nice fast stretch of single track had a few whoops, jumps and drops then followed into the woods with a nice drop off sending you a good 10ft, onto 4 or so mini table tops and then the last straight that had a weird table that kicked the back end up hard. This year I spent more time looking at this section and decided it would be faster to go around it.

11.45am – Practice over time for food and a quick change as I was soaking wet and freezing cold, giving my bike a quick check over I found I had smashed the cage off my left pedal L this will make clipping in interesting!

My race run was at 1.20pm so had lots of time to kill, once changed we sat in the car with the heaters on full blast which was nice and toasty, so much so it was sending me off to sleep nearly.


1pm – Setting off up the hill for my first race run, I managed to time it perfectly as I only had to wait 5 minutes which saved me getting cold again.


On the line ready to go although it felt strange having to clip my left foot in first instead of my lead leg, was also worried if I unclipped on the left side I wouldn’t be able to get clipped in again! Putting this to the back of my mind the countdown began, 5, 4,3,2,1 and I was off!

Hitting the first corner well I then push hard through the sprint, the run was steady with no real mistakes other than maybe being abit to cautious. The time keeper informed me I was 1st, how-ever I knew my nemesis Brad was still to come down. After the first run I was sitting in 3rd and my good friend drew in 4th his best result to date so he was really happy!

Photo courtesy of Jerry Tatton below.


1.50pm – A quick 40 min rest and a top up on energy then back up the hill we went, knowing I was only 1 second off the win I had nothing to lose.

2.10pm – Once again starting with the dreaded left foot GO! Being over excited I hit the first corner to fast, leaving my braking too late and nearly went though the corner which lost me some precious time. With this in the back of my mind and the 1 second gap to think about I pressed on hard, I felt a lot faster on the rest of the track and kept it low while pumping as hard as I could over the jumps. As much as it killed me I didn’t style it up for the togs on my race run.

Photo courtesy of Jerry Tatton below.


Back to the time keeper and I was 1 second faster how-ever 1st and 2nd had also gone quicker, this left me one second off the win again. Considering I haven’t really rode much in the past few months I was happy and with the pedal being smashed I did ok. It felt good to be back on the podium and the Gt sanction was perfectly suited to the track, it’s so planted on the fast stuff. Drew finished in 4th so was stoked for him and his best result, well done mate!


Big thanks to Carl Davidson race organiser, the marshals, medics and spectators. Big thanks to TRG for the support along with GT, Kenda and Flare clothing.

A big shout out to Jerry Tatton for his awesome pictures and hard work! Go check out his work on roots and rain and bag yourself an awesome picture!

3.30pm- Car all packed up with muddy kit, bikes and smiles on our faces we headed home! Until next time! Keep shredding!



NDH TT AE 28-2-2016

NDH TT AE 28-2-2016
Tony Kay – race report

So the first race weekend was upon me! Alot quicker than I expected! Wish I had spent more time training instead of thinking save it for tomorrow loads of time yet well I was wrong….. Anyways….

So woke up to a beautiful fresh winters morning on the Saturday feel really excited! Once the car was packed mainly by me!!!! Me and team mate / gf and with our cheeky mascot Monkey we set off.

The drive was around 2 hours but soon pasted driving through the stunning mountains of the lakes. On arrival we was greeted by a smiley face team mate cath Tilford. All unpacked we set off for practice… me being here twice before kinda knew the route to the top. Riding up the fire road was full of turn offs and we headed down one only for the girls cath and kelly to say ” NO it must be further up !!! ” so 2 against one took their word hmmm but after another hour of climbing and ending up near fort William and a million wind turbines this can’t be right! Luckily cath got single rang the bike shop and yes the turn off we first went down was correct! I knew hate bring right!!! smile emoticon

So after a thousand mile detour we reached the track! The track itself was technical but with being just flat out speed it did make it tricky. First straight down a fire road into a tricky left hand harpin corner that was easy to overshoot. Then it was basically a straight line descent with a few small corners into little jumps drop offs and a nice bomb hole.

Once past this it took you into the woods that hit a nice drop off where you could go big depending how fast you hit it then into some nice smooth tables tops then into a small fresh cut piece and boom over the line.

Once finished we headed back to our hotels to freshen up and head into town.

Found a nice pub had a few pints and a good pub meal with lots of banter we won’t talk about the underpants! DOH! Shared a taxi back what I can only describe as dumfries most pissed up man in the world! A very polite old drunk I might add that made it interesting.

Sunday morning arrived again we clear blue skies perfect! Kelly had to drag me out off bed though was sooooo comfy! Breakfast sorted and we head for the track!

The tracked had changed slightly by adding in a few more corners that caught me out as I went down with out walking the track, lesson learnt always walk the track or atleast cruise down! Not go down at 80% race pace opps! Kelly swapped from flats to clips and she felt 100% better on he bike myself and cath was happy aswell! Was also nice to here a familiar voice in the background the one and only blakey boy! Nice little team turn out!

So my first race run was little nervous as wanted to make sure I got the first hairpin correct and nailed it, head down the track and once finished was sitting in 4th! Took it a little to easy as wanted to make sure I put in a decent time.

2nd run new I had to made only a second to podium so knew I had it in me. Set off only for the dreaded hairpin to bike me in the ass! Really put the cranks down and focused on the remaining track! Was slightly faster but remained in 4th! Was happy with the position as respectable. Kelly was stoked to be in 4th only a few seconds of Helen gaskell, proud of her. Cath finished in 3rd!!!! And blake finished in 2nd! Great result for the team!

Perfect weather for racing, perfect team mates, friends, good job from the marshals, nicely run by Carl Davidson NDH, also thanks to the photographers as I love a good pic! AKA as ( CALENDAR BOY ).

Big shout out to our sponsors Gt, Kenda and flare and TRG RACING  for their support.

Bring on the next race! Keep shredding!

Tony kay 1.47.17 – 4th 30-39 Men
Blake 1.47.20 – 2rd 19-29 Men
Kelly Gott 2.02.83 – 4th 18-35 Women
Cath Tilford 2.11.75 -3nd 36+ Women

2016 Start Cycles ND(H)uro, Round 1, Hamsterley 14th February 2016

2016 Start Cycles ND(H)uro, Round 1, Hamsterley 14th February 2016

I’ve raced DH for the last few years and although I’ve enjoyed it, I’ve found myself wanting to focus more on technique than speed.

So… I bought myself an Enduro bike and thought I’d give a different race format a go.

The Northern Downhill Enduro at Hamsterley was the first race of the 2016 season. I have to admit I’m sold by this venue, great for DH and pretty awesome for Shredding on the smaller travel bikes! It’s perfect for enduro and a personal favourite of mine.

The tracks were a mix of DH and trail, having ridden them a lot I thought I could do well but I was hindered by a virus which took its toll physically. For those of you that think enduro is not knarly enough your mistaken, travelling at speed over roots and rocks still requires big balls of steel and plenty of opportunity for showboating and to massage our egos! (You know who you are!) I opted for a tactical approach and chose to ride the most technical and peddley track first – 4x into old nps.

Started off with a peddley straight over rocks and roots down into couple of bus stops options, despite taking the high line instead of the low and catching another rider up, I managed a respectful second place overall.

But it’s hard to know where you win and loose. That’s was makes it a little more exciting. I learnt how important it is to pick lines and peddle to carry speed. Section 13 was ridiculously exhausting…with a up hill sprint in the middle…then into the hardest root section, which killed me. I had to stay loose and on the bike despite having dead legs (you know how that feels).

I’ve never been so physically challenged… I lost time. Final section was transmission into nitrous… Well what can I say… Nothing left in the tank! Despite feeling ill, I rode with friends and placed 4th. Whoop ! I’m definitely racing the series

NDH Hamsterley TT 19-04-15

NDH Hamsterley TT 19-04-15

The NDH TT track is not a technical race as such but a mighty good test of fitness and peddle power. This weekend was the third year that I’ve participated in this event and this time there was a pretty awesome turn out for the women’s category than seen previously. It’s always a reach for a podium. In practice Saturday and Sunday I felt fast and confident, despite the late night socialising with friends! I enjoyed the buzz of being able to clear the jumps on Transmission, tho not always an advantage in terms of carrying speed but a definite exhilarating feeling of being on my bike, with a grin from ear to ear and the sound of dry dusty trails beneath my wheels. I found some satisfaction in making some progress from last year. I wanted some light rain like it did earlier in the morning to give the track some grip. Something I’d forgot on my first race run as I came out the wooded section into the final section far too hot, in the blink of an eye I slammed like a dainty wrestler in the grit and onto the fire road! What a fool I’d been to think I could have cornered so tightly! After my Mighty Mouse scream, it felt like I took forever and a day to back up on my feet. I held back before joining back behind Helen Gaskell to complete my run in a disappointing 5.36?

With a little pep talk from myself in between runs, (by the process of thinking!!!) I considered why not have best of three runs for a brief wasted moment…..but for my second race run I mainly focused on staying on my bike and being smooth, how it’s supposed to be. I loved every minute of it, had fun but couldn’t find my pace I knew I was capable of and was cautious not to make the same mistake again in other areas which considered of grit sized marbles. not quite feeling I’d done enough, I crossed the line with a time of 4.12 and settling with 5th place. So…for me it’s a fact fitness is key to reducing injury and racing faster as I remember both Peaty and Atherton once staying. I managed 8 loops of the fire road hill climb to the top over the course of the weekend, awesome crowd of new and old friends, I’ve got a massive bruiser on my hip and a swollen wrist but I’m feeling stronger and fitter ahead of Steel City!


Cath Tilford 5th Master Ladies

Ben Tilford 15th Vets

11013477_810001212382474_7727877365311681979_n 1509999_810003569048905_7787426516264278313_nPhotos: Gavin Lowe


NDH Mini DH Chopwell 17th November

NDH Mini DH Chopwell 17th November

So here it is Liams Race report from Chopwell:
Here it was. The final race of 2013 at Chopwell organised by the guys at NorthernDownHill. Not only was this the teams last race for 2013 but the last race I would be doing on my trusty Devinci. With this been a season ending race, me, Blake, Rich and both Micks were keen as always to put in a good result.
Around 8am we arrived and signed on. It was abit chilly but when we saw how much pedalling was needed we soon got the blood pumping. After 2 or 3 practice runs I called it a day and chilled out in the van for my race. The rest of the lads put in a few more to get every part of the track dialled.
The race was classes as a trail bike TT. Therefore an enduro bike was most likely the best bet for putting in a quick time. Unfortunatley I had no other choice than my dh bike. Mick Hill rode his hardtail kona and Mick Waud, Rich and Blake chose to use their dh rigs.
My 1st race run went smoothly with not as much pedalling as I should of but I placed 2nd, 4seconds behind 1st place. I was happy but wasn’t settled. I could smell 1st place and that’s what I wanted. In the meantime the other lads put in their run and had a good one except Blake who unfortunatley had a minor off the track moment.
After a re-group at the van and a few rude things drawn on Riches number board we were ready to get our arses in gear. This time there was no messing about. A heavy dh bike wasn’t goin to stop me putting the power down in every corner. I wanted to make my time up and wanted it badly. Pedalling through every section I could I blocked out the pain. Reaching the finish with my legs feeling like led I made up my time and planted 1st place. With been chuffed to bits I made my way to the woods to watch my team mates come through and give them some abuse. First through were the old boys who looked very fast. Poor little Richard, god I’ve never seen that guy pedal so hard! His head was bobbing and he was hungry for it. Mick Hill finished 6th Mick Waud 8th and rich 9th. We then all Waited for Blakey boy to come through until one racer took a tumble injuring his knee which called the race to be delayed. Meanwhile me and Mick Hill helped carry him down on the stretcher. (Hope you heal up soon enough mate!) the race was then resumed and we cheered Blake on to get those legs moving. He came down smashing into the berm and hopped over the rock with his shoulder scrapping the tree. Man he looked quick! He was on it! We soon caught up with Blake for him to tell us he finished 7th out of 53 which is awesome!. I could secretly tell he wasn’t happy but bearing in mind 85% of people were on enduro bikes and he pedalled his little heart out on his transition.
As the darkness closed in the podiums were done and the flow of traffic was creeping out of the forest.
During the journey back watching the white lines on the motorway disappear underneath the van I was thinking what a great season Trg has had with so many great results and so many laughs with each other. It’s quite sad to see the old bike go and 2013 disapear into memories and results on roots and rain.
Coming from everyone at TeamRockGardener, thankyou to all of our sponsors for supporting us all through 2013 and to everyone else who has done the same and we look forward to working with our current and new sponsors throughout 2014. Also thankyou to Carl at NorthernDownHill for putting on this event and everyone else who helped out.

NDH Ramsgill 23rd June

NDH Ramsgill 23rd June
Sunday 23rd June I was praying for nice weather as it was race day at ramsgill in North Yorkshire held by Carl Davidson at Northern Downhill. As i put in many weekends with a shovel all last summer to get in some lines Ramsgill is always a place I love to try do well. 
Riding a new track built by team cycopath that I had only rode once was exciting. It was interesting to see how much things have changed in the few months I spent away from there.
Practice was fun and I was enjoying the new features that had been put in. I only had around 3 practice runs as I felt confident and thought I would save my energy. There was a few riders new to downhill and they seemed to be having a good time and enjoying the sport and track.
With the rain hit and miss It was still rather warm but windy on the tops, my first run didn’t go too well for me with a few wrong lines and a slow exit out of a rock garden. Coming down over the hip jump and through the berms followed by wall ride I crossed the line in 1st place. I knew I could improve by a few seconds if I manage to put in a clean run.
2nd run I powered off the start and down the fell side, hitting the table top to shoot you into the woods. Pumping through the woods I hit my correct line but was still a little slow on the exit. Snapping through the two sharp berms I crossed the wall and got on the cranks to hit the wooden sender shortley followed by the hip jump and berms.
Crossing the line again i still wasn’t happy with my run but managed to maintain 1st place which I was super happy with.
Watching everyone get to the bottom with smiles on their faces was good to see. We all had a laugh while medals were given on the podium and must say in my eyes the day was a success.
After hearing about a lad having to be airlifted on the Saturday I wish him the best in recovery and let’s hope he’s back on a bike soon enough.
Thanks to Stef Reeves, Allison, Steve and Carl Davidson for hosting this event and the rest of the NDH crew along with marshals, medics and anyone else who offered a helping hand to make it a successful weekend

NDH Keilder rd5 North East Champs

NDH Keilder rd5 North East Champs
Kielder RD5 North East Champ’s was well underway last weekend. I was hoping for a good result as it was possibly my last race for this year’s season and wanted to end it on a good note.
After seeing a video of the track I didn’t pack my spikes as I thought they wouldn’t be necessary after seeing the rock garden infested top section of track. Unfortunately I was wrong, the previous bad weather turned to bottom half of the track into a challenging slop fest where a spike would of helped. But not to worry I had the correct tyres for the first half of the track over the rocks.
My first practice run on Saturday went fine, I enjoyed the track and found the main rocky shoot challenging. On the other hand my second practice run didn’t go so smooth. I took a big crash on the rocky shoot which madethe medics panic and carefully help me up. I had one more run with an injured leg, back and stomach and called it a day after 3 runs. After two games of pool with James Wilson (stif cycles) me, James, ant and rich Easton had a chilled out night at the campsite pub to get ready for our race day on the Sunday.
Sunday morning came and I had one practice run carefully picking my lines to get ready for my race runs. The top section of the track went great on my first race run but all turned bad as I entered the woods, I had 5 crashes in the woods and my temper grew which made my run even worse. After fighting through the chewed up bottom half of the track I crossed the line not very happy. I tried too hard in the bottom but infact slow and steady was the way forward. I looked at my time that I thought would put me in last but infact I was in 3rd! it looked like everybody was crashing on their race so on my second run I knew exactly what I had to do.
The top section was the same as my last run, hitting all my lines and making it through the rocky shoot without any serious mistakes. The bottom section through the woods was tiring but I kept at it and kept things smooth. I had one or two stalls in the mud but I kept fighting through and was determined to cross that line without hitting the ground. I kept it all together and put in a time of 3:33:617 which kept me in 3rd place and earned me a place on the podium. I was chuffed to bits that I finished the season with a podium and was also very happy that James Wilson joined me in 2nd place, well done James and well done to ant Preston who took 4th.
Thanks to Carl and everyone that organised the weekend and also everyone who put in their hard efforts to built the new Kielder track. It was a fun weekend and a perfect ending to the season. 

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.