Oakwell Hall mountain bike trail ‘official opening’
As you all know the mountain bike trail at Oakwell Hall has been open for a while now. There was an impromptu ‘unofficial’ trail opening when Bike Track signed off the trail as finished and rideable however we always planned a proper event to officially open the trail. Ride Kirklees have put in a huge amount of work, from the germ of an idea through to the completion of the mountain bike trail, so it was only correct to have a celebratory opening day.
Wow, what a day it turned out to be…. The official opening of the Oakwell trail was amazing. It was hectic and stressful but worth every second of it. In Field of Dreams they said ” If you build it, they will come”…and they did. They came, they rode, they chatted, they smiled, they made new friends, they made it a special day, beyond my wildest dreams.
The past 4 weeks have been a crazy time – no riding, just typing – emails, texts, facebook, phone calls and planning!! Pulling together riders, stall holders, caterers, volunteers, paperwork, advertising and everything else that needs to be done to hold a public event. Soooo much planning, and for what? An absolutely amazing, sunny day hanging out with a great bunch of people who share a passion for mountain biking. After everything I’d put in, I really wanted this event to be a success, and to show off all the work that a group of mountain bikers can achieve. Judging by the feedback that is exactly what it was.
The event was held on the 30th June 2019. After what felt like weeks of crap weather, the forecast had improved. The day before turned out to be the hottest day in June for 40 years – it was looking good for the opening day. I was due to meet some RK volunteers and Oakwell Hall staff at 8:30am to get set up. Having not run an event like this before, I was nervous as hell…’Did we have everything organized’,’ would people show up’ were the kind of things on my mind.
I arrived to see Amanda from Oakwell and her husband Ben pulling out all the kit that had been stored earlier in the week – event tents, a mtb skill course, tables and a PA system. RK volunteers began to show up and so did Jules from Mobile Kuppa Coffee (to supply refreshments for us all). We loaded up the pick up and headed over to the field to set up the ‘village’ and I then realized the first issue – I had no idea where to set the tents up, and who was going to be in each tent. A quick group discussion with the team and we had a rough idea – DJ at the top next to the bar (cheers Magic Rock), tents down either side and stall holders wherever we can fit them.
The field soon became a hive of activity, with everyone getting the job done and we were on track for the opening at 11 am. One of my earlier worries was would people show up? Yes they did!! Long before the event officially started, people started to appear. They arrived with bikes, grabbing a coffee, ice cream, riding the trail and getting the day off to the right start.
The sound of music began to play. The smell of burgers, sausages and coffee wafted through the air. There was a buzz of chatter. All the planning and stress had been worth it. More and more people were coming in to the village – solo riders, groups of riders, mums, dads, kids of all ages buzzing around chatting about bikes and how good it is to have such a sweet trail right on our doorstep. Kids were building their skills and confidence on the skills course that was set out and riders were getting in some practise laps before the race.
The main event of the day was the time trial, and entries were filling up. Bob Hedley and Mark Jowett stepped up to take control of the start gate and organise all the riders. With the time trial not being a high tech race using timing chips, they made sure everyone had a stop watch, and set off with enough space between the riders. The whistles of course marshalls could be heard (in true enduro style) and the race was on. It was juniors first (under 11’s)
Followed by 12-16 year olds and then the adults. There was a buzz of excitement around the event with the race on, people submitting and comparing times, and a friendly air of competition. It was just a fun race…that everyone gave the full beans!
The time trials were finished by around 2pm, with 40 riders having entered, Bob and Mark started working out the results. It was now time for the ceremony…
My nerves kicked in again-time for public speaking over the PA!!! A few words of thanks and a speech by councillor Rob Walker and then time for me to relax with a beer.
…before the race results announcement and prize giving…(results are at the bottom)
The day was a huge success, so much so that we plan to run another one next year – hopefully bigger and better. A huge thank you to everyone who helped out on the day: Ride Kirklees group members for the marshalling, running around, just generally sorting stuff (Nigel, Liam, Mal, Bob, Mark, Chris, Greg and Mikey). The staff and volunteers from Oakwell Hall (Amanda, Ben and Les). Our sponsor, Yorkshire raw feeds, and all the stall holders:
- Magic Rock brewing.
- Otso clothing.
- Mobile cuppa coffee.
- Hargreaves cycles.
- Kirklees bridleways group.
- Charlotte’s ice cream.
- TY bike products.
- Andy’s man club.
- Tracy from precise protect.
- Whoosh mtb.
- Furness digital photography.
- Bee happy faces by Nic.
- Sally and Liz for the food.
- Eddie Hall for dj-ing
And of course everyone who came along to ride bikes, hang out on our trail, and make the day into a very special one. Thank You all!
(Apologies if there are any mistakes, I’ve done the best I can with the information received.)
Under 11 results (male).
- Leo McMillan. 5.18
- Taylor Green 5.55
- Charlie P. 5.56
- Rhory Casson. 6.10
- Noah De Wit. 6.12
- Seth B. 6.13
- Oswald Trent. 6.49
- Archie Sykes. No time recorded.
- Harry Haworth. No time recorded.
Under 11 results (female).
- Florence Trent. 8.57
- Kayleigh Harrison. No time recorded.
12-16 year olds (male).
- Archie Casson. 4.28
- Matthew Dalton. 4.50
- Taylor Muffit. 5.16
- Harrison Walker. 5.20
- Sam Davis. 5.27
12-16 year olds (female).
- Grace Austwick. 6.13
- Brodie Kilbury. No time recorded.
- Claire Trent. 4.41
- Paula Beaumont. 6.15
- Liz Austwick. No time recorded.
- Chris Kilburn. 4.04
- Dan Trent. 4.10
- James Smith/Antony De Heveningham. 4.19
- Neil Walker. 4.30
- Damon Sandison. 4.43
- Paul Bentley. 4.51
- S. Bonham. 4.54
- Don Willey. 4.56
- M. Parry. 4.57
- Jon Reeves. 5.08
- Gavin Richardson. 5.18
- P. Johnson. 5.58
- S. Hayes. 6.10
- M. Tomlinson. 6.11
- Darren Nickerson. 6.36
- Rob Austwick. No time recorded.
- Daniel Vokes. No time recorded.
- Michael Gray. No time recorded.
- Andrew Sykes. No time recorded.
- Kevin Wyman. No time recorded.
- Ben Coops. No time recorded.
Thanks again to everyone who came to join in with a superb day. See you next year 😉