Transmission. Accelerator. Nitrous. Three distinct trails and as many runs as you need to set your fastest time. The open format of Alpinestars MTB Trail Attack returned to Hamsterley Forest on 22nd July 2018. Similarly to the inaugural event of 2017, the conditions couldn’t have been better as registration opened up bright and early, giving riders plenty of time to collect their number boards, timing chips and complimentary Alpinestars t-shirts. After a handful of practice runs, bike fettling and breakfast, the field assembled for the rider briefing. All systems were go for a day of flat out racing.

The mercury was rising, the trails were calling. The field had four hours to get as many runs in as possible to set their fastest times. With live timing installed, riders could see their time and position on each trail and their overall time after each run. With only 50% of the field making the cut to Round 2, riders eagerly analysed their race runs, figuring out where they needed to rip harder to make the cut.

The first cut. 50% of the fastest men and 50% of the fastest women advanced to Round 2. The slate was wiped clean as riders headed back up the hill to set a new time. By now, most riders had their lines dialled so it was just a matter of riding hard, minimising errors and having the fitness to ride pedal to the metal on the flatter sections. Under the scorching sun, Sophie Cade and Liz Waterhouse battled it out for the Women’s title. Sophie nailed her final run, taking home the honours with a 7 second advantage.

The final round. A straight shootout between the fastest 32 riders across all categories for the chance to be crowned Alpinestars MTB Trail Attack Champion 2018. Blasting down the trails in reverse order of their fastest times from Round 2, the first riders descended to the finish. 3 minutes and 50 seconds was a competitive time for the first half of the field before the seriously fast riders started shredding the now loose and dusty trails. The time to beat rapidly dropped to 3 minutes and 31 seconds before the fastest rider on the day and last man on the trails, Scott Mears, posted the winning time of 3 minutes 26 seconds, bringing the curtain down on an epic day in the woods.

Photography: Carrick Armer & Alec Ledner

Videographer: Jack Tennyson