Jet setting mountain bikers from across the globe will be heading for the North York Moors on Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 as the UCI Cross Country Mountain Bike World Cup returns to Dalby Forest.
The spectacular event is being staged in the 3,440 hectare beauty spot near Whitby, with a road race through Pickering on Friday evening (20 May) raising the curtain on some great mountain bike action.
Last year, the rustic venue got top marks with elite racing teams rating Dalby as the top World Cup venue on the international circuit.
Nearly 11,000 fans watched the fabulous action unfold and this time round another bumper gate is predicted.
“The weekend will be one of the biggest mountain bike events held in Britain ahead of the London Olympics and many riders will be pushing for qualification points to compete in next year’s Games” said Alan Eves, Forest Management Director.
Amateur bike fans are also signing up to complete a timed lap of the black rated World Cup course on the Saturday (21 May) as part of the famed citizen’s ride - the Dalby Dare.
Among them are Heather King (29) from Runswick Bay and James Risker (27) from near Scarborough, both of whom work for the Purple Mountain Bike Centre in the forest.
James said: “The course is pretty tough to say the least, but what a fantastic opportunity to use the same trail as the world’s elite and compare a lap time.”
A giant tented village in Adderstone Field will be the centrepiece of Dalby’s World Cup weekend with trade and exhibition space sold out. Engineers have also made tweaks to the World Cup course, explained the Forestry Commission’s Martin O’Vastar.
“Feedback last year on the quality of the trail was brilliant, but we wanted to refine it further after talking with British Cycling and the UCI.
“The length has been shortened and the aptly named Worry Gill, which forced many bikers to dismount and run with their bikes, has been made slightly easier so more riders can stay in the saddle. It’s still a tough ask, but this is the sport’s pinnacle.”
Such is Dalby’s reputation that the Forestry Commission has been giving advice to the designers of the Olympic cross country mountain bike course being built in Essex. That event will replace the Dalby World Cup round next year, but top racing is expected to return to North Yorkshire in 2013.
Tickets to take part in the Dalby Dare, which includes a weekend spectator pass, are available from www.ticketmaster.co.uk priced £33.50. Spectator tickets are also available from the same internet outlet, costing from £5 to £52, including discounts for buying in advance. They will also be available on the gate.