A venue with a strong history of Scottish downhill events Pitfichie is known for its granite slabs, sharp rock edges and technically challenging tracks.
We’re bringing you previews to the 2017 Scottish Enduro Series, and with round one out of the way, our attentions turn north and east. Pitfichie’s been a regular race venue over the years, however, never has the North East of Scotland or Aberdeenshire held an enduro event on its doorstep.
Photos by Ross Bell.
Things look to be changing in the future though with development plans afoot under the North East Trail Centre Organisation (NETCO) and Tarland Trails group.
So what should be expected of this new Enduro venue, a place most riders on the Enduro circuit will be very unfamiliar with. One thing we’re certain of is that riders will have a superb weekend racing and that we’ll see more from the areas riding and racing scene over the coming year.
Getting you up to speed.
Firstly, a little history for those who are completely in the dark about this new venue for 2017. Situated beside the quaint village of Monymusk it’s a well loved venue for local mountain bikers. The downhill track was first developed by a bunch of students and local riders putting in the hard graft before the Scottish Cyclists Union Mountain Bike (SCUMB) downhill series came to the venue in 2003.
In 2005 the local Forestry Commission developed a number of mountain bike routes including the Devils Staircase descent. This development didn’t expand beyond a number of trail and sadly further development was stopped. The downhill track was then expanded with a new line built and used a number of times since providing an even more technical and difficult descent. The venue has been a regular on the SDA event list and will no doubt be on there again in future.
There’s a lot of established tracks at Pitfichie already, including some trail centre but expect some fresh cut trails. Yes, we love fresh cut as much as you! We’re excited to see what the guys at NETCO have been up to. Not even the locals will know some of the stages. The tracks are pretty varied but one common feature is the granite slabs of the region. There’s a reason Aberdeen gets the name ‘The Granite City’ so prepare for a few dents on those fresh wheels.
Between the granite there’s some soft peaty ground and further to the west of the series of hills is a more loamy affair. You’ll be getting wild down some of these trails. Expect stages to range from just over 1 minute up to around 5 minutes long with some stages checking you’ve been getting the winter miles in and others checking the technical skills as well.
What to bring?
Due to the abundance of granite on the trails we’d recommend some spare brake pads. The grit really wears pads out. Sadly this also means it wears drive chains out as well so maybe a spare chain will be good.
The hills are quite exposed so make sure you pack some waterproofs in case you’re stuck on the summits during the weekend.
Tyre choice is a difficult one. With a mix of trail centre and tech DH it’s not an easy choice. We’re thinking something a bit more nobly up front such as a Continental Baron and a heavy DH trye on the rear which rolls a bit faster. We’ll be throwing on the downhill casing Der Kaiser to avoid the punctures.
A few extra days?
If you’ve got time before or after the race then why not try some of the other riding spots in the area or swing by the Cairngroms for some big mountain riding. Our enduro rider Chris Hutchens offers guiding services so drop him a message or grab some coaching while you’re up. I’m sure he can show you some incredible riding in the area.
Food and Accommodation.
Aberdeen has an abundance of accommodation around and a plus side of the economic difficulties in the area means you’ll find a cracking deal on rooms. Aberdeen was once one of the only places in the UK where room rates were cheaper at the weekends.
The closest major town to the race venue is Inverurie and for some place country side living then check out the hotels and accommodation in Kemney, Kintore, Torphins, Alford or Westhill. They’re all within driving distance of the venue.
We’ve already had one race flash by so before the seasons over and while the start of spring is upon us then grab a few extra training miles in and prepare for a big loop at Pitfichie. There’s going to be a solid mix of stages at round 2 and we’re excited to see racing head to a new part of the country. We’ll be there to see the action unfold. Catch you on the trails!