Typical Nutcracker terrain and scenery
The 2012 instalment of the North of England cross-country series – the Nutcracker - is now open for entries. This year will see 4 rounds at for different venues across the North of England, with one new venue.
Nutcracker Round 1: The series gets underway on Easter Sunday, 8 April, when it’s back to the Gandale venue near Catterick. This venue was used for the Nutcracker series for the first time in 2011, but it had previously been used by Bikelicker’s resident Troll, Adey Dent, back in the days of NEMBA. Gandale is a superb course and venue, with lots of short but sharp climbs and descents and plenty of 'techy' terrain to test even the best of riders. This is one not to be missed!
Nutcracker Round 2: For round 2 it’s back to the home of Lord Zetland and the 2011 Dare2B British National XC Championships – the Aske Estate. This event takes place on Sunday 13 May and after the deluge of rain that was most definitely not enjoyed across the Nationals weekend last year, everybody has everything crossed for a decent day of weather! The course is superb, even in the wet – as you’d expect for a National Championship course. Don’t miss out on your chance to ride the fantastic switch backs and drop-offs of the Troll Trail, and if you dare you can attempt “The Chute” – a steep and slippery bracken-clad descent that caught more than a few riders out at last year’s National Champs! This event doubles as the North of England XC Championships and so double points are available for the points chasers.
Nutcracker Round 3: Heading North and on Sunday 24 June, the Nutcracker teams up with Cycle Development Northeast in order to bring the new venue of Chopwell Wood in Gateshead on stream. This is a forestry venue – the only one on the Nutcracker calendar, and so provides a little bit of something special for those trail centre bashers amongst you! Final course details are still to be confirmed, but without doubt this will be a singletrack-tastic event, promising oodles of technical and exhilarating terrain! Don’t miss it!
Nutcracker Round 4: The Nutcracker wouldn’t be the same without a visit to the Dales Bike Centre in Swaledale – the spiritual home of the series. Proprietors of the bike centre Stu and Brenda Price have been supporters of the events from the start and each year look forward to welcoming the North of England cross-country scene to their home and work place. Following the same Saturday “mass start” format as in 2011, racing kicks off at 2pm, with practice available throughout the morning on what is almost certainly one of the toughest, yet grin-enducing courses in the UK. Racing takes place on the infamous Fremington Edge, which looms over the Swaledale valley and boasts the highest height gain of the entire series – by a considerable margin! And it doesn’t end there: Saturday evening sees the “Series Blowout”, with a licensed on-site bar and BBQ back at the bike centre. Camping is plentiful in the field adjacent to the centre and all are welcome to stay. It’s a great opportunity to reminisce with fellow competitors about the highs and lows of the series. And it doesn’t end there either... Full of beer and with heavy hangovers.
Sunday morning provides the perfect opportunity to blow away the cobwebs in the mountain bike Mecca that is Swaledale! The “Hangover Ride” leaves the bike centre at 10am on Sunday morning for a leisurely social potter along some of the Dale’s best trails – you’ll be in awe at what this area has to offer, and best of all there’s no charge to join the ride! This is certainly one action-packed weekend not to be missed so be sure to get it in your diaries early: Saturday 18 & Sunday 19 August.
The series, now in its third year, is growing rapidly year on year, expanding its catchment area and rider pool. With the current total prize fund now in excess of £7000 for the year in both product and service, it is expected that rider numbers will once again increase upon the previous year.
The series will, once again, be headlined by Dare2B – the extreme clothing arm of Regatta and RWD Brakes, joined by Biketreks of Ambleside.
For further information about the 2012 series and for online entries follow the series link at the top of the page, the individual event links in the course previews above, or head over to the Nutcracker website: www.nutcrackermtb.co.uk