The season finale of the Scottish Cycling North Dirt Crit Series 2015 took place on Saturday in Forres at a new venue on the competition circuit: Sanquhar Woodlands MTB trails. The sunny Moray coast lived up to its reputation and, while parts of the rest of Scotland were battered by high winds and rain, the event enjoyed clear and crisp conditions throughout the day.
Riders came from across the north, representing the clubs that have strong youth development programmes: East Sutherland Wheelers, West Highland Wheelers, Black isle MTB Club, Wolfpax Riders and Ben Wyvis Cycle Club.
This final race of the five-race series was hosted by the Moray Mountain Bike Club, who have used the Sanquhar Woodlands MTB tracks for their coaching sessions this season, which no doubt contributed to the number of Moray MBC riders stepping onto the podium at the end of the day.
71 riders raced in categories from U6s up to U16s, with the best attendance in the younger age categories – the largest category was the Under 8 boys with 20 riders. Under 8s and above completed laps of the full blue circuit at Sanquhar, the number of laps increasing by one with each age category.
The 1.2 km track included a challenging mixture of fast smooth single-track, bermed corners, and switchback climbs that rewarded those riders with the best combination of fitness and technique.
The Dirt Crit series this season has seen some fantastic mountain bike racing, and the series finale was no exception with its share of thrills and spills, some not long after crossing the start line, others further along the course such as Moray MBC rider Dougal Howell who led the U8 boys category for most of the race before a spectacular over-the-handlebars crash led to an unfortunate early end to his race. In most cases however the riders were lining up their wheels at the start with children from other clubs who were not just rivals, but who had also become their friends over the course of the series. The old adage of racing ‘with’ your competitors as opposed to ‘against’ them was plain to see on the day with plenty of smiles, laughing and banter before the drop of the chequered flag.