THE Winter Warmer, the first round of The Bike Place Kielder Marathon Series got off to a great start at the end of February.
Sixty-two hardy competitors started a challenging race over three laps of single track and forestry trails covering 55km in Kielder Forest.
The ground conditions on the day made it an extremely tough course. This was due to frost heave, making some sections very soft and cancelling out the effects of gravity on a few of the downhills. It was a cool day with fine drizzle on occasions but the sun made a few brief appearances which made it a good day for racing.
From the start, six riders set the early pace and stayed together most of the time until the final lap, when the podium positions were sorted out.
Steve Young of Lindale took overall victory with a finishing time of 3hrs 13mins, followed by Ray Honour in 3:18; second overall and first in the over 40 class, Steven Hope was second in class (17 to 39years) and third overall in a time of 3:19.
Luke Parkin, only 17 years old, made his debut into MTB racing and finished a commendable third in his class (17-39 years) and fifth overall. Paul Wass was first in the over-50 class in a time of 3:33 and seventh overall.
Amelia Taylor is to be congratulated on her win in the women’s class and 38th overall.
Most competitors managed at least two laps and retrials at that stage were a mix of mechanical failure or fatigue, but feedback was that they had really enjoyed the course.
The Border Raid is on May 5 and, weather permitting, it should be a good event.
All the proceeds of the series go to charity, divided between The Great North Air Ambulance and Kielder Trail Reavers. A cheque for £500 is to be presented to The Great North Air Ambulance at The Border Raid.
For more information about the Marathon Series and details of online entry go to www.kieldertrailreavers.co.uk