Photo Mark Pinder
Kielder Forest is to host the second round of the Saab Salamon Avalanche Trophy on the 17/18 May, making this the first time the series has visited England.
Kielder is the second leg in the five stage series and mountain biking superstars will be jetting in from the across the world to take part. Other exotic venues include Alpe D’Huez in the French Alps and Brixen in the Italian Tyrolean mountains.
The Dead Water mountain bike trail in the 648 km sq forest is where all the action will be based, with seven stages of different lengths and difficulty. There’s also a chance to take on essential fuel as you pass through the Active Zone (based in Kielder castle) before heading back out into the forest.
The Avalanche Enduro isn’t just a DH race, but a test of both enduro and DH skills, with riders required to ride to the start of every stage via special link trails. You’ll have a set time to dash up the fireroad to the next special stage, so a bike light enough to pedal up hills will be required.
Ironhorse/Extreme.com rider Clive Forth has been working with the Forestry Commission to bring the event to the Border wilderness. “The event is huge and being selected to stage the competition is a massive feather in the cap for Kielder Water and Forest Park. What the venue lacks in sheer altitude it makes up for in a really good terrain, which is perfect for endurance events. Around 300 professional and amateur bikers will be taking part, so it’s going to be a fantastic spectacle.”
Alex MacLennan, Forestry Commission Recreation and Tourism Manager, added: “We’ll be using sections of the new Deadwater Trails, which peak at 2,000 feet making them the highest in England. Massive investment has gone into creating sustainable mountain bike routes in Kielder – long regarded as a sleeping giant by off-roaders, eager to tackle a true wilderness. This event shows that we can now attract major competitions.”
The big bike weekend at Kielder continues with a 31 mile Border Raid into Scotland on 17 May, sponsored by the Kielder Bike Place. For more details go to www.thebikeplace.co.uk, or call 01434 250457.
Events run both days with a top prize of a brand new Saab car for the rider topping the list after this year’s pan-Europe Avalanche competition.