DoonThaBrae Events (DTBE) held the first in event a three- race mountain bike series in the Glen Tanar and Birse area near Aboyne recently.
Scotland is one of the best places on the planet for the exciting and fast growing activity of mountain biking.
The north-east has some of the best wild trails to be found anywhere but until recently it lagged many other areas in the country in terms of providing facilities and opportunities to race.
Enduro is now the most popular and accessible discipline in the sport. Riders complete a course of 20-30km, cycling up hill tracks to the top of four or five ‘single track’ runs. They are only timed on the descents, with the cumulative time determining the winner.
DTBE was set up to run enduro mountain biking races in early 2017 by Alexander ‘AJ’ Fyfe, whilst he was still studying computer science at Robert Gordon University.
From the very start DTBE worked closely with landowners including Forestry & Land Scotland, Dunecht Estates, Birse Community Trust and Glen Tanar Estate. Their support and input has been excellent and has been critical to allow racing to take place safely, managing possible interaction other hill users, wild life and ensuring trails are maintained in good condition.
After much hard work and preparation, DTBE ran the first ever one-day local enduro event in north east Scotland at the Hill of Fare near Echt in autumn 2017.
The following year two local enduro events succesfully took place at Drumtochty and Pitfichie, which in 2018 also hosted a two-day round of the Scottish Enduro Series for the first time.
Continued strong growth of mountain biking and demand for racing has allowed DTBE to put on a three race series for the first time in 2019, with prizes for each event and the overall series.
In the first 2019 race in the Glen Tanar and Birse area on Sunday June 23, the sun shone and more than 180 entrants enjoyed a tough test of riding five stages, covering a total of 30km with over 1000m of climbing.
A unique feature of DTBE north-east enduro racing is the inclusion of a youth category, for riders aged between 9 and 12. This format has been developed with the support of local cycling club Deeside Thistle, to allow young riders to complete a slightly less technical shortened course, with non-racing adult chaperones.
It has proved extremely popular, being a great way to introduce youngsters to the competitive side of the sport. DTBE has also done a lot to encourage female riders, with a separate start to the male competitors proving popular.
There were more females than ever taking part in the Aboyne race, with mums and their children crowding the female category podium.
The next 2019 races are at Hill of Fare on August 11 and Drumtochty on September 29. It’s a great social day out for riders and spectators alike. For more information on these races and to enter, visit www.doonthabraeevents.com or find them on Facebook and Instagram.
Aberdeenshire Enduro Series Round 1 (Aboyne):
Youths (9-12 mixed), sponsored by Cycle Highlands, Ballater - 1 Finn Watts; 2 Joshua Hunt; 3 Duncan Amundrud.
Junior Men (13-17), sponsored by CRC Trail Building, Durris - 1 Samuel Hubbard; 2 Angus Fraser; 3 Calum Dempster.
Women, sponsored by Bike Remedy, Stonehaven - 1 Emily Murphy; 2 Jane Davidson; 3 Anne Murray.
Men (18-39), sponsored by 20Twenty Bike Clinic - 1 Calum McBain; 2 Neil Stewart; 3 Stuart Paterson.
Senior Men (40+), sponsored by Bennachie Bike Bothy - 1 Barry Coull; 2 Michael Ellington; 3 Richard Hay.