The weekend of the 16th and 17th of April saw over 300 students from all corners of Britain, and Northern Ireland descend on a sunny Blaenau Ffestiniog for the Annual British Universities Student Downhill Championships held at the Antur Stiniog Mtb Centre.
The Blaenau Ffestiniog rugby Club had allowed the students to use the local pitch as a camping area, and they must be praised for being so respectful to the Club's hospitality, and the town of Blaenau Ffestiniog during the weekend.
Snow capped mountains greeted the competitors as they woke on Saturday morning prior to practice, but that soon became bright sunshine as the day progressed.
The race was held on The Black Powder trail, one of the World famous Antur Stiniog black trails on site, and proved to be a tough, challenging test for all riders.
Sunday saw open practice until 12pm,and then all competitors completed a race run, with the top 100 moving on to the final and the Championship run.
In the Men's race two World Cup riders stole the show, with University of Nottingham's Jono Jones taking the win in a time of 2.31.6mins from Exeter's Josh Lowe only half a second behind.
University of South Wales' Thomos Owen took 3rd with a time of 2.33.1mins to round off the podium.
In the Ladies race the University of Manchester's Bex Baroana took the win in a time of 3.05.8mins, with Queen's University of Belfast's Mary O Boyle in 2nd place just over 3 seconds behind, and Aberystwyth University's Heather Kay taking 3rd place.
A great weekend of racing, and another fantastic event for Antur Stiniog, and Blaenau Ffestiniog.
The next race will be the Annual Dh Ffest race on the 2/3rd of July, and then the prestigious Welsh Championships will be held at Antur on the 6/7th of August.
2016 is the Visit Wales Year of Adventure and Antur ‘Stiniog are getting involved.
The Year of Adventure is all about getting out there and exploring the best of what Wales has to offer. Escape the confines of your daily life, get out there and have some fun in the wild.
Antur ‘stiniog is embracing the year of adventure and in particular the weekend of adventure on April 2nd/3rd 2016. We have teamed up with another top Welsh mountain bike destination Bike Park Wales to set an adventure challenge to riders.
Antur Stiniog situated in Blaenau Ffestiniog, within Snowdonia National Park. BikePark Wales 129 miles South of Antur ‘Stiniog and is situated in the South of Wales in Merthyr Tydfil, just 20 minutes North of Cardiff and on the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park. The drive between the two centres takes you right through the heart of Wales and through two of the UK’s most beautiful and unspoilt National parks.
In the spirit of the Welsh year of Adventure Antur ‘Stiniog and BikePark Wales would like to set a challenge to mountain bikers visiting Wales during the great weekend of adventure on April 2nd/3rd 2016. Any riders who can prove that they have ridden at both centres during the weekend of adventure and taken the incredible route between the two sites will get a free T-shirt. Anyone who can prove they travelled by public transport will also get a free coffee and a piece of cake and anyone who is brave (crazy?) enough to prove that they have pedalled under their own steam and ridden at both centres during the weekend of adventure will get a T-shirt, cake and coffee AND a weekend uplift pass at Antur Stiniog or free season pass for BikePark Wales.
Riding these two iconic destinations, crossing Wales and taking in two beautiful National Parks is bound to be a true adventure that will create memories to last a lifetime. Why not organise a group of mates, get booked in to ride at the two centres and have yourself an epic adventure?
Keep us posted on your trip via social media #WalesAdventure #anturstiniog #Bikeparkwales
Riders will need their day ride passes with valid dates as proof of their ride at each centre.
Prizes can be claimed on the Sunday only at the second destination of the visit.
Riders finishing their trip at Antur Stiniog will get an Antur Stniog T-shirt, riders finishing their trip at BikePark Wales will get a BikePark Wales T-shirt.
Proof of public transportation in the form of train or bus tickets covering the whole route are required.
Valid GPS tracking data to show pedal powered transport between the two sites is sufficient proof of a human powered journey between the sites.
Sunday the 13th of December saw the 3rd Annual Antur Stiniog fundraiser held for the Wales Air Ambulance.
Over 80 riders, many in fancy dress came to support the event, and raise money for a fantastic cause.
There were also 3 World Champion Mountain bikers in attendance, Rachael and Gee Atherton, along with Danny Hart, who all donated signed shirts for the raffle.
Having raised £6,000 in the last two years, all involved were keen to add to this fantastic total.
The onsite raffle, and a loyal customer shaving his head raised £1000, and the Grand total reached £2,300 for the event.
Antur Stiniog would like to thank all the riders involved, and all the people, and Company's who donated prizes for the raffle which raised such a large amount of money for a charity not only for Mountain Bikers, but for everyone in Wales.
On Sunday the 20th of September, Antur Stiniog was again the venue for a thrill packed weekend of Downhill mountain biking,as the British Downhill Series rolled into town.
Former World Champions Steve Peat, and Manon Carpinter were among the 350 riders who were all welcomed to Blaenau Ffestiniog for the final, and deciding round of the Series.
The race was held on 'The Black', which is the most difficult, technical track at Antur which includes the infamous 15 foot drop in at the start of the field section where a lot of the crowd has gathered to watch.
Is was also a special occasion for Steve Peat, Rob Warner, and the old school mountain bikers, as it was the 20th anniversary of the passing of the late, great Jason McRoy, who was one of the pioneers of the downhill Mtb scene,and a special category has 30 of his friends, and racers from the 90's all race together again, and they all stopped during their race run to gather by the memorial tree that had his ashes scattered on in an emotional memorial led by Steve Peat before racing began, a fitting tribute.
Downhill racing is always a tight affair, where split seconds can make the difference between winning and losing and this was no exception.
It was a good weekend for Antur Stiniog's downhill team with rider Ben Lovell taking the win in Expert men with World Cup rider Shaun Richards from South Wales just 0.023secs behind.
Antur Stiniog's Bike development and coaching officer Adrian Bradley also won his class with a time of 2.49.4, 5.1seconds up from second place man Mark Weightman from Leisure Lakes Bikes.
James Hughes from the Antur team was unlucky to puncture on his race run after a fantastic 8th place in qualifying in Elite men, and Iwan Griffiths from Llanrwst was a solid 8th place in Expert men.
The Elite race was won by Madison Saracen Team Rider Matt Simmonds with a time of 2.31.4 with Mike Jones from Team Chain Reaction Cycles fresh from his 4th place in the recent World Championships in second place 1.8 seconds behind.
Mark Beaumont, Joe Smith and local rider Emyr Davies made up the rest of the podium.
Elite women was won by 2014 World Champion Manon Carpinter with a time of 2.51.9 with 4 cross World Champion Katy Curd 9 seconds back.
Other results were
Juvenile boys :
Morgan Tyrell 2.58.5
Jaime Edmonson 3.00.1
James Elliot 3.06.3
Youth Boys :
Matt Walker 2.43.1
Connor Bate 2.43.2
Joe Breedan 2.43.7
Junior Men :
Neil Stuart 2.39.6
Jacob Dickson 2.40.9
Elliot Heap 2.42.6
Master Men :
Adam Smith 2.47.1
Kye Forte 2.48.2
Dave List 2.50.9
The event was again a great boost for Blaenau Ffestiniog, and the local economy, with no beds available in the town over the weekend, and with Red Bull, Pink Bike, Welsh tv and news on site, and an estimated 2,500 people to watch the racing on the Sunday ,this was another triumph for the Antur Stiniog Team.
This summer Martyn Ashton, Danny MacAskill, Chris Akrigg and Blake Samson visited the centre to film a video project Back on Track featuring Martyn Ashton. It was the first time Martyn had been on the on a two wheel bike since breaking his back and becoming paralysed 18 months ago. It was fantastic to see MArtyn back on his bike and his smile is worth a thousand words!