Lucy CarterPeter LennonChris Sidwells
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The MountainBikeNI Award Winners

Posted on January 11, 2018 @ 4:24 PM in Mountainbiking

The MountainBikeNI Awards, powered by Chain Reaction Cycles, are consistently one of our favourite times of the year, but we equally can’t wait until they’re over to see who has won! Wait no longer, as we introduce your 2017 Champions:


Favourite Trail Centre: Castlewellan Mountain Bike Trails


For the first time, we've got a new champion in this category - congratulations Castlewellan Mountain Bike Trails! After five consecutive years of wins by Rostrevor Mountain Bike Trails, it's great to see the obvious popularity of other trails coming through. Castlewellan MTB Trails are actually the most visited trails of any in Northern Ireland.


Favourite Trail Section: The Great Escarpe, Castlewellan

A fantastic black section of trail in Castlewellan, The Great Escarpe lets you build up some serious pace on the flowing sections. It's a favourite for some of its wide berms that look incredible with a fisheye lens on your camera. Another first-time winner for Castlewellan Mountain Bike Trails.


Favourite MTB View: Roll Up Your Slievies, Rostrevor

We're off to Rostrevor with this winner, and it's easy to see why. The view from 'Roll Up Your Slievies' takes in the Mourne Mountains, Carlingford Bay and the towns of Rostrevor and Warrenpoint. A fourth consecutive win for the stunning views in Rostrevor, taking 54.6% of the votes.? Every time we're up there it's hard not to be blown away.


Favourite Trailhead Provider: Life Adventure Centre, Castlewellan

With another successful Christmas Trail Quest under their belts, as well as Ireland's first ever 24 hour enduro, 2017 was a great year for Life Adventure Centre at Castlewellan. Taking first place in the Favourite Trailhead Provider will hopefully have been the icing on the cake!


Favourite MTB-Friendly Café – Urban Coffee Café, Castlewellan

Urban Coffee Café is almost as synonymous with Castlewellan as the mountain bike trails are. Another new winner in the MountainBikeNI Awards, it's great to see the support that mountain bikers provide to local businesses. Next time you're stopping in, congratulate them on their win!


Favourite Spot for an Aprés Ride Pint: Maginns, Castlewellan

A wise man once said, "The only thing better than the first sip, is the thought of the first sip." Our Facebook feed was alive with mountain bikers reminiscing over good times spent in Maginns after a day on the trails. Yet another first-time winner in Castlewellan!


Best MTB Event of the Year: Red Bull Foxhunt

The Red Bull Foxhunt wins Best MTB Event of 2017. The variety in this category is a great indication of the vibrancy of mountain biking in Northern Ireland, with well organised events such as the Vitus First Tracks Enduro Cup taking third with 18.9% of the vote. Life Adventure Centre's Psycle 24 Hour Endurance received 12.5% of the vote and the Ulster XC 2017 events took 8.3%.


Favourite MTB-Friendly Accommodation: Blessingbourne Estate

A closely fought category, Blessingbourne Estate came out on top with 24.5% of the vote. It's reputation as a favourite accommodation spot for mountain bikers has officially been sealed with this being it's second win in a row. Blessingbourne is home to 12km of fantastic trails and award winning luxury accommodation.


MountainBikeNI Volunteer of the Year: Sam Thompson and Donal McKendry

We couldn't quite believe this. After almost 700 votes across two months of voting, we have a tie!

Donal McKendry from Magherafelt, and Sam Thompson from Rathfriland both ended up with 20.5% of the votes in this new category - congratulations to both of you! A big shout out to Niall Convery from Cookstown, who very narrowly missed out on a triple place for first, with 18.4% of the vote and to the other nominees and all of our volunteers.

We added this category as a small recognition of our incredible volunteers and everything they do for the trails in Northern Ireland. We're sincerely grateful to you all.


A special shout out also to the winner of the Garmin VivoSmart Heart Rate and GPS Monitor from Chain Reaction Cycles, Diane Burgess.

Ethan Loughrey
Ethan Loughrey  Mountain Bike Officer

Hardest thing about Mountain Biking? Definitely the trees.

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