Plenty of thrills and spills for downhill racers

Steven Turnbull, Team CHR 2012 champion.
Steven Turnbull, Team CHR 2012 champion.

North Northumberland mountain-biking Team CHR has had a busy couple of months on the national and Scottish circuits.

First up was round two of the British Downhill Series on the World Cup track at Fort William and with a full entry of the country’s best riders this was going to be the ideal opportunity for the Cheviot Hill Riders to see what level they were riding at.

Unfortunately, things did not go well for the team. With gale-force winds forecasted for the Sunday and the gondola probably unable to work, race runs were brought forward to Saturday, meaning there was very little time for practice.

CHR had five riders competing but only Thomas Pollock managed to post a time, with an excellent 13th place in Experts with a time of 5.26.840.

For the other four things did not go so well – Rob Tait separated his shoulder with a crash during practice, young James Purvis broke a bone in his hand also after crashing in practice and Shane Craig and Steven Turnbull both had mechanical failures on their bikes during their timed runs and were unable to finish so, all in all, one to forget.

Next up was round two of the Scottish Downhill Series and this was held at Glencoe, one of the steepest and most technical tracks in the country.

With injuries and other commitments, Team CHR only had three riders competing here and again it was Thomas Pollock who continued his good form, finishing seventh in Experts in a time of 2.45.995.

Shane Craig recovered from knocking himself out in practice to post a time of 3.23.318 for 36th in Seniors and Joe Mallen finished with a very respectable time of 3.11.440 and 15th place in Juniors.

The following weekend was round three of the UK Gravity Enduro series at Hamsterley Forest near Durham and this again saw a full entry of the country’s best enduro riders on what turned out to be the hottest weekend of the year so far.

Team CHR had four riders competing here with both James Knowles and Michael Strangeways coming away with good results on tracks that were a great mix of trail centre and natural trails.

Seniors: 12 James Knowles 14mins51secs; 64 Oli Austin 17min34secs.

Veterans: 15 Michael Strangeways 16min32secs; 32 Leigh Robinson 17mins 46secs.

The final meeting was the team’s annual club championship held on their local track.

Once again, this was very closely contested and in the end Steven Turnbull regained the title he last held in 2009, closely followed by Shane Craig in second place and defending club champion Rob Tait, who had just returned from injury, coming third.

Team CHR is a British Cycling-affliated club.

They run a successful race team that has had members compete in World Cup DH races all over the world as well as hosting local training days.

All the latest news and racing information can be found on the club’s website and Facebook page.