In the second race of the 2014 Nutcracker Altura MTB XC race series, which took place last weekend at Gandale, just outside Catterick in North Yorkshire, the home team walked away with almost a clean sweep of honours.

Organisers and promoters of the Altura-sponsored race series manage a team of youth and junior riders on a national development basis, funded by the profits of their events, which are rapidly increasing in popularity. In all, the Nutcracker Racing team comprises 6 riders; 2 youths and 4 juniors, of which the majority are from Yorkshire and the North, but with 2 of them haling from other regions of the UK. The team is supported by the cycling industry across Yorkshire and the North, with frames supplied by Stockton-based Edge Sports UK and Melton Mowbray-based Elite Bikes, wheels, brake systems and finishing kit supplied by Lancashire’s Hope Technology, disc brake pads supplied by Yorkshire’s RWD Brakes, tyres supplied by Panaracer/Zyro and race kit supplied by Yorkshire-based Altura.

Last weekend’s event saw junior male riders Tom Seaman, Ben Lawson and Frazer Clacherty take 1st, 2nd and 3rd position across the finish line, prompting a sea of identical green jerseys on the podium. Junior girl Sarah Lomas took the win by a comfortable margin after a tough race. Youth girl Eve Lyon picked up the bronze medal in her race after battling the wind for 2 laps of the gruelling course. Meanwhile youth male rider Elliot Metcalfe romped away from the rest of the field to take his second comfortable win of the season.

In other categories, and with Hope Factory Racing’s Paul Oldham away on Commonwealth Games selection duties in South Africa, Torq Performance’s Jon Hopkinson was on course for a win in the Elite category. After being plagued by punctures, Hopkinson was relegated to 2ndplace, with Trek’s Lee Gratton taking the overall win. Hope’s Annie Simpson took the Elite ladies win, chased by Danielle Rider and Joanne Clay. Meanwhile, old hands Pete Harris and Bruce Rollinson picked up from where they left at Dalby, with the usual half-wheel contest for the whole race. Harris eventually clinched the win with a last minute explosion of power on the final climb, 100 metres from the finish.

Having taken a verbal beating on Facebook after winning the Fun category at Dalby, Adam Ward stepped up to the Sport category in only his second year of racing. A solid performance resulted in a very respectable 4th place and a podium finish for the rookie rider, missing the medals only by 30 seconds after a 4 lap race. Firth Cycles’ Nathan Judge took the win ahead of an Arrow Cycles duo of Aaron Tuplin and Jack Wilson.

The organisers awarded a special prize to Team Kestie’s Angels – father and daughter duo Guy and Freya Kesteven, who completed 3 laps of the course on their Nicolai 650b full suspension tandem! With dad doing the piloting, 9 year old Freya provided the power from the rear, fuelled by a bag of Haribo mounted in a caddy bag on her handlebars! The “random tandem” as it has since been dubbed, successfully negotiated all of the A-lines and other technical features, where many solo riders took the less intimidating options. Such was the interest in the tandem that it has been reported that organisers are now considering the formal addition of a tandem category.

Round 3 of the Nutcracker Altura MTB XC Series takes place at Aske, just outside Richmond on 18th May. Entries are now open via the British Cycling website and organisers are reminding riders of the opportunity to save £5 by entering in advance and avoiding the on-the-day surcharge. The event doubles as the North of England MTB XC Championships, with the winner of each category taking away regional honours for the year, and the top 40 riders in each category picking up double national and Nutcracker series points for taking part.

Stay up to date with the Nutcracker Altura MTB XC Series and the Nutcracker Racing team by liking their Facebook page,