The course was new for 2017. It had never been raced before in its present format. The general layout and key features were assessed by Simon Burney and formed into a course proper by the same course designer as our Ripley event, Tim Evans. Rider feedback was glowing with general comparisons drawn to ‘Old School Belgian Cross’. 2018 will see detail changes to the layout in and around the Event Hub area.
Riders race around the course in a clockwise direction with the start being situated at the Event Hub.
The start/finish straight is 350m long on tarmac before kicking uphill into a tight right turn onto a closed section of the A59 High Bridge. Having crossed the River Nidd, and probably not after having enjoyed the views of Knaresborough, the course turns tight right again onto a short segregated stretch of the Beryl Burton Cycleway. The course then drops onto grass and a short stretch that will undoubtedly be muddy. Approximately two hundred metres later the course makes its way up a set of woodland steps that are approximately four metres wide and may possibly be partially ridable by the sport’s most talented. Sixty metres later, the course emerges from woodland and takes on a rolling and twisty grassland profile, initially through some fast ‘Lazy S’s before cresting into a descent that is very doable but will command the full attention of those pushing the hardest to maximise their advantage. After negotiating a twenty metre long naturally occurring sand pit riders will cross the River Nidd via a wooden bridge before entering woodland again for a short tricky off camber bank prior to riding up a short but tough track that will undoubtedly see race or group winning attacks. After a acute grassy turn the course swoops fast downhill to rejoin the start/finish straight.
The organisers would like to acknowledge the assistance of Mrs Josephine Noble and Strutt & Parker LLP in allowing the course to travel across an area of private land so as to preserve an environmentally fragile part of Nidd Gorge.