What a way to end a successful series! Views, sun, tough competition and an old school course that put the mountain back into mountain biking; round four of the popular Nutcracker season ender had it all!
Fremington was the place to be on the weekend with hosts Dales Bike Centre providing the Nutcracker crew with an excellent race headquarters while the competitors could fuel up on the legendary cake and coffee available in the café.
Nestled in the magnificent Swaledale valley, North Yorkshire, Fremington offered a technical course with a lung busting amount of climbing; the infamous ‘Grind' more than living up to it's name and attracting riders from near and far - the furthest coming from New Zealand!
The future racing stars started proceedings with the popular Sweat Monsters children's racing kicking off at 12pm with tons of youngsters enjoying a competitive blast on their own special course while the more mature competitors had chance to get to get a taste of North Yorkshire mountain bike racing at it's best.
Come 2pm and the entire race headed en mass to the foot of Fremington Edge where they were set off in their respective categories in one minute waves. Ahead lay an eight kilometre course packed with enough mountain biking fun that should have ensured a permanent grin. However, starting with a tricky slog to the top of the moors over broken sections of dry stone walls may have not been to everyone's taste, but the views and the sense of achievement when you got to the top had to be immense.
As you bettered the Grind a swift turn right and you were greeted by a swathe of dazzling purple heather on a rock-strewn descent that took you around the edge of the moors leading to the alien landscape of the old lead works while bemused sheep looked on.
Craters that undulated in a roller coaster way delivered you the very edge of the world. With the stunning vista of the Swaledale valley laid out before you, you had a split second to appreciate the view before hurtling into the abyss taking you back down to the hill snaking your way back to start another lap.
First man to crest the top leading a well strung out field was master rider Tony Fawcett. Taking the climbing in his stride Fawcett held his lead virtually unchallenged for three tough laps while the race splintered into its own pockets of race categories behind him.
Female master winner Jane Chadwick suffering from mechanical problems ploughed on using the tough course as useful preparations for the World Singlespeed Championships in Ireland in a weeks time. Elite rider Calum Chamberlain completed four laps reviling in the fantastic conditions to take the win with local elite women Jess Roberts grinning her way to a well earned win in her race.
It was great to see junior women's British cross country champion Beth Crumpton wearing her jersey with pride as she tackled the Yorkshire grit for two tough laps with Jack Humphries holding off the tough competition in the junior men's race to take the win from Richard Johnson.
The whole day saw riders tough it out, racking up the laps in their respective race with one thing their mind, finishing! Waiting to welcome them was beer and burgers as promised all well deserved and eagerly consumed while waiting for the results a great end to a great series!
For full results and to check what the Nutcracker boys have up their sleeves for next year check out:
If you want to experience the stunning Swaledale valley for yourself why head over to the Dales Bike Centre for a weekend of excellent mountain biking and of course cake!
1. Calum Chamberlain - MountainTrax
1. Jessica Roberts - WXC World Racing
1. Neil Hayward - sportstest.co.uk
2. Steve Wood - Sherwood Pines Cycles
3. Joe Richards - Wheelbase/Cannondale
1. Stefan Macina - Team JD Cycles Ilkley
2. Dan Cook - Planet X/On One
3. John Hick - Holme Valley Wheelers
1. Ruth Thompson - Richardsons CC
2. Nicola Hartle - Dirtwheels Cycles
3. Caroline Faircloth - None
1. David Nickleson - Hamsterley Trail Blazers
2. Gareth Shaw - None
3. Daniel Booth - None
1. Sue Dent - None
2. Laura Rhodes - Dirtwheels Cycles
3. Ruth Midgley - Dirtwheels Cycles
1. Tony Fawcett - Blackhawkbikes.com
2. Simon Rodgers - None
3. Alan Nixon - Blackhawkbikes.com
1. Jane Chadwick - Dirtwheels Cycles
Super Vet Men
1. Colin Murley - Dertwentside CC
2. David McClain - Hetton Hawks
3 David Williamson - None
Grand Vet Men
1. Bruce Rollinson - JD Cycles Race Team Ilkley
2. Duncan Stuart - Keswick Bikes
3. Billy Mathews - Square Wheels
1. Billy Harding - Paul Milnes / Bradford Olympic
2. Edwyn Oliver-Evans - East Bradford CC
3. Mike Thompson - TEF Richardsons Race Team
1. Scott Woolley - None
2. Tom Pidcock - Valley RT
3. Thamas Mein - MTS Cycle Sport/Inkland
1. Amira Mellor - Holme Valley Wheelers
2. Emma Brady - MTS Cycle Sport/Inkland
3. Hannah Savile - North Midlands Youth Squad
1. Bob Hewitt - None
2. John Hopkinson - Aire Valley Cycles
3. Craig Jarratt - None
1. Amber Southern - None
1. Jack Humphries - Wheelbase Cannondale
2. Richard Johnson - None
3. Jamie Bew - None
1. Beth Crumpton - HA & CC
British Cycling would like to thank the organising team, officials and everyone else who helped promote this event. Our sport could not exist without the hundreds of people, many of them unpaid volunteers, who put in many hours of hard work running events, activities and clubs.