Skip directly to content

AE Forest Enduro, November 2018

Last weekend saw Carl Davison and his Northern Downhill crew head back north of the border to Scotland, and the amazing Ae forest. Ae forest forms part of the popular 7 Stanes mountain biking centres across the borders of Scotland. The trails here are superb with a mixture of full on downhill stages, to more trail centre red/black graded gravity filled goodness.

This race was a 4 stage enduro, that was well thought out by Carl. Carl had to work tirelessly setting up the race course due to the recent and ongoing felling of trees due to Larch disease in the area. Some of the trails Carl had planned to use had been demolished in the fell. But Ae forest has a plethora of mixed difficulty trails and Carl’s quick thinking provided a great mix of stages for the race.

It always seems brave putting on races throughout the winter period due to the threat and unpredictable weather, but this weekend could not have been more perfect. Yes it was cold, and bitterly so towards the top of the hill, but clear skies to slightly overcast skies could not have provided more perfect conditions for racing. This again, was winter racing at its finest.

The race itself was 4 stages all in quite close proximity. 3 of the stages were from the very top of the hill, 2 full on downhill stages that were technical and steep. Roots and rocks provided the technicality and the steepness provided some pretty intense stages. One of the stages from the top, known as Shredder, a more purpose built trail centre affair, with one particularly tricky left turn towards the top straight off some boardwalk, the rest was a case of going breakneck speed. All these upper stages finished ½ way down the hill, and a relatively gentle peddle to the top. The 4th stage, called Omegaman, was again a trail centre stage, but superfast. This was the majority of riders final stage as it ended at the very bottom of the hill. Normally during enduro races, the stages are ridden in order, however, due to the limited sunlight during the winter months, all stages were open at once and riders were able to ride the stages in whatever order they wished.

So starting with the women’s race this time round. The fastest woman on the day was Elsbeth Greenshields in 8:00.91. This was Elsbeth's first enduro race and she absolutely smashed it on the day, second was Julia Ferguson in 8:13.23 and third was Karen Rushton-Wright in 10:19.39. These women sure put on a great race, highly competitive but also supportive to each other on the day.

The overall fastest male on the day was Matthew Atkinson (18-29) in a staggering 5:41.07, closely followed by Joe Young (18-29) in 5:46.53 and third place to Marcus Jones (40-49) in 5:54.83. You know what I'm gonna say now. Massive kudos to Marcus for keeping the younger riders in check and pushing them, a super fast time from a veteran, that's what we like to see! For a full rundown of the results and to see how your times compare head over to roots and rain.

So that's it for the 2018 Northern Downhill race series and a superb end to the season. Next year is looking good for the NDH, with a great variation of races, from TTs to enduros and a level entry funduro. The first race for the NDH is the very popular Hamsterley Enduro on 13th January 2019, which takes in trails in Danny Harts Descend Bike Park and the Forestry Commission's red/black trails. Book or lose out. Then there is a TT and air DH back at Ae forest, and we are promised one hell of a race on 10th February. For a list of the races and access to the entries head over to their official pages.

Until next year, Peace!

Jerry Tatton

Photography Editor & UK Races Editor