Meet the Nominees for MountainBikeNI Volunteer of the Year Award

Posted on December 7, 2017 @ 11:37 AM in Mountainbiking

The MountainBikeNI Awards, powered by Chain Reaction Cycles, exist to highlight and recognise the best and brightest in the world of mountain biking in Northern Ireland. This year, we've introduced a new category that acknowledges the volunteering efforts of some of the MTBNI Trails Team who selflessly give up their time to help with the upkeep of our mountain bike trails.

Below, we've given you a very brief introduction to all of those nominated!


Donal McKendry

Why do you help out at the maintenance days?

"It is a simple case that I help out on maintenance days or separate site days to give a little back to a venue provided to us all as free to use at any time. The facilities & trials are excellent and it is in our interest to do what we can to ensure the trails stay that way. 

We all want a good days mountain biking, getting speed up and negotiating our way down the trails, and don’t want to have to deal with pot holes or loose stones or debris that could injury or harm to us (and the bike).

Plus it is always a good days craic, a bit of graft and everyone is there for the genuine reason of giving back – it’s only a few hours."


Where is your local track?

I choose to use Davagh Forest Mountain Bike Trails as they are 20 min drive for me and provides me with a good mix of blue red & black trails, fresh air and the chance to chat to someone. 

I currently mountain bike instead of the road bike now as it provides me flexibility of when I go out on the bike, how long I ride for, I can decide my pace depending on fitness on the day. And you ride cooler bikes."


Jonathan Martin

Why do you help out at the maintenance days?

"I enjoy helping at maintenance days as it’s a good way to keep the trails in peak riding condition.  Entry to the trails are free so spending a day digging is a small price for such a variety of trails and trail centres. 

I enjoy hearing from the trail builders about what sections could be improved or suited better to the flow of the trails, learning what makes trails sustainable and as always there’s plenty of craic and slagging.  The post digging lunch is always a big bonus. "


Where is your local track?

"My local track is either the Rostrevor trail centre or Tollymore Forest.  I love the rush MTBing brings, the physical exertion riding up the hill followed by ripping down trails, down drops and sometimes clearing jumps.  It’s a great way to get the heart pumping and the head cleared.

It has a fantastic community side too, everyone helps each other and are happy to donate inner tubes or spend a day digging trails."


Stuart Hamilton

Why do you help out at the maintenance days?

"I help out at the trails days at Davagh as it's a way I can return some time and energy into such good trails that have been provided for me to enjoy. The trails are fun and flowing and I enjoy giving my energy so the trails are kept in good condition for when I return to them."


Where is your local track?

"My local trail is Davagh Forest, as it is the closest trail to me, it takes me an hour to travel to and from, but Davagh enables me to improve my fitness and skills on my bicycle. I also regularly visit Ballykelly forest, and Banagher reservoir for closer circuits."


Wayne Brownlee

Why do you help out at the maintenance days?

"I guess the main reason for attending the maintenance days are that i really enjoy giving a wee bit back i suppose. As every rider knows there is nothing worse than riding a trail to be constantly wacked in the face by an overhanging tree branch and if i can spend a bit off my spare time helping with the maintenance then i am only happy to.

You also get to meet your fellow trail users and even a ride out when finished for the day. (oh and the lunch provided is pretty awesome too lol)"


Where is your local track?

"I live ten minutes away from Barnetts Demesne which is handy for a quick few laps but when i have more time to ride then its off to Castlewellan MTB trails which i love. 

I enjoy biking as being a type 1 diabetic of 27 years it helps me to keep active and doing something that you enjoy doesn't make it feel like a workout."


Niall Convery

(Image courtesy of Martin Kennedy Photography)

Why do you help out at the maintenance days?

"I do the volunteering as the trails are brilliant facilities which provide me and my friends with safe and fun places to mtb and they are free of charge so it is very easy to do and it is nice to give something back. Also the days are good craic, camaraderie and the volunteers are friendly, outgoing sort who are easy to get on with.

The work itself is physical which I enjoy and you see the improvements to the trails at the time which is again a boon. I also enjoy taking the journalists out as I am proud of the trails and its nice to show them around."


Where is your local track?

"Main track is mainly Davagh Forest and Barnett Demesne though love them all."


Sam Thompson

Sam has been helping out at Castlewellan maintenance days for years. Despite regularly travelling hundreds of miles in a week for his job, he will always make time to come down to the trails at Castlewellan for either a session on the bike or to help keep them in shape. 


Where is your local track?

"I ride Castlewellan regularly just for fun and my own sanity. "


We're incredibly grateful to the entire MTBNI Trails Team for everything they do to help keep our trails in top shape. If you'd like to join the team, visit to learn more. 

Voting for the MountainBikeNI Awards closes on Friday 5th January at 12:00 - Vote now here!

Ethan Loughrey
Ethan Loughrey  Mountain Bike Officer

Hardest thing about Mountain Biking? Definitely the trees.

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