With North Wales arguably being one of the top destinations in the UK for mountain biking, it comes as no surprise therefore that the region's annual inter school mountain biking competition has grown to become such a success in the area.
The inter county high school cross country mountain biking competition begun 3 years ago with a handful of schools taking part. 2014 saw the biggest competition yet with the Active Young People teams in each County hosting their own first round at Amlwch, Coed y Brenin, Llanberis and Ysgol Llanfyllin. 21 schools battled it out to decide on the team being selected to represent each County in the finals. North Powys, Gwynedd South, Gwynedd North, Anglesey and Conwy all sent a team of 12 children to compete in the 4 different categories: Year 7&8 boys + girls, year 9&10 boys + girls at Nant Bwlch yr Haearn Outdoor Centre, Llanrwst.
The North Wales final saw the children complete an individual time trial to decide on their seeding in to the finals, followed by an A Final and a B Final. Being a team competition, each of the 3 riders from each county were competing for points for their team.
The individual time trial saw the fastest times by Owen Leeson (Year 7&8 boys), Catrin Smith (Year 7&8 Girls), Sol Kerfoot Robson (Year 9&10 boys) and Gwenno Hughes (Year 9&10 girls).
There was some close racing in the races with the South Gwynedd boys team storming to a 1, 2, 3 in the year 7&8 A Final. Nobody could come close to Gwenno Hughes representing Anglesey in the year 9&10 girls race, she shot off from the start and increased her lead each lap. A battle for 2nd and 3rd place ensued with Cadi Wyn representing North Gwynedd overtaking her team mate to finish second.
The last race of the day was the boys year 9&10 and with many of the riders regularly racing in the North Wales Go Race MTB series and further afield, this was going to be an exciting race to watch. Jack Brookes (Anglesey) got off to a quick start an kept the lead for the first lap and with only one obvious place to overtake, Jack Nash (Conwy) and Sol Kerfoot Robson (Conwy) stayed behind and waited for the right moment. Jack Nash took the lead after the 1st lap but Sol Kerfoot Robson eventually overtook and pulled away to take a well deserved win.
The winning teams were presented with a trophy sponsored by the Outdoor Partnership and all of the competitiors on the day went home with a prize donated by local bike shop Evolution Bikes, Bangor. Bikes and maintenance was provided by local firm Rhyddid Adventures who had also provided invaluable mountain biking sessions for some of the children through the 5x60 scheme beforehand. Many thanks goes to Nant Bwlch yr Haearn Outdoor Centre for allowing free use of the brilliant venue.
Final team standings:
Year 7&8 Girls:
Anglesey 36 Points
Gwynedd North 34
Powys North 29
Year 7&8 Boys:
Powys North 42 points
Gwynedd South 26
Gwynedd North 25
Year 9&10 Girls:
Gwynedd North 38 points
Gwynedd South 25
Year 9&10 Boys:
Conwy 33 points
Gwynedd South 27
For more information on the North Wales Go Race MTB series, click here.