Hoonmasters – Dustin’ off the cobwebs

 

Winters in the Northumberland are long – forget the idea of the industrialised, hard lived ex pit villages of the south of the county, which are undoubtedly a battle to negotiate – No, it is the beautiful, remote but vibrant communities in the rural areas that get the weather the longest. 

Yet the riding does not stop, and much like every corner of Britain that is because passion mixed with borderline obsession means that bikes have to be ridden at any cost. 

And so Hoon Masters came to be. This is the “LOTL CREW” – an unruly bunch from the hills of Northumberland –  take on playing an impomptu game of football with jumpers for posts , just we use bikes and attack corners and try to get one over on our fellow crew.

It’s not the first incarnation of mates racing to be seen in this part of the world – Gravelanche Enduro, Mole Races, Hoonduro and more have taken their place in local folk lore, and so have the after race curries, cake and beers. 

If you’ve seen “On Any Sunday”, then you should know where this comes from. And it is the future, too.

The idea was tempered into reality by the enigma that is  Death CHR, a man with no real name but a larger than life persona. He carries on the story from here …..

Tommy

The man himself, Lord of the Loam. Hidden gems in Northumberland that will remain hidden, but ridden by the chosen few.
Northumberland is tech, rooty, rocky.  Spare tubes come in handy.

 

” When I was involved in motorsport, the ”season” was always precluded by testing for all the big teams, and it still is in so many cases.


For the clubman competitor its not so easy to do this, pay money to use a “testing facility” to find out if the changes you have hopefully made over the close season, have made any difference.
So…if the be all and end all is winning, but you haven`t got a test budget how do you find out how quick you aren`t?


Its not the same when someone suggests a bunch of mates go and ride the trails and straffa will show who`s fastest, after all, Chris Ball isn`t using a phone app to time his events is he?

 

Keevan Edwards came to sample some very delicious terrain. He left full after a day’s pushing the edge of traction beyond the wall!

 

Hence the idea of Hoonmasters, a bunch of mates riding against the clock, which is being held by an independent body…
It was initially suggested that a specified number of people turned up with a mate to create a team and see how they faired on unknown territory, but while the captains were keen, other team members proved hard to find……

Did I forget to mention humour, the spirit in which it would be conducted? To make it a real race, a Hoonmasters trophy was created by local craftsman to give the mate`s race a hefty chunk of gravitas, after all who wants to race for a tin of beans, we also managed to get a bit of help from a local brewery just because ….

Our brother from South Africa Brad Illingworth is a true Northerner these days. He’s been here long enough now to have adopted the lingo and understood the rules of Loam. Untouchable over 5 stages. Hoonmasters champion.
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He rides more than you. Digs more than you. Delivers more parcels than you.

 

Even after all the organiser`s efforts some folk were too worried/serious/afraid to turn up, so the startlist made quick reading, but at least there was a startlist and some people had turned up!

Ahead of them lay  a few relatively unknown trails (and not to be spoke of) at a location even fewer of them knew, just to keep it fair(ish).

The morning was spent trying to huck to flat and generally just loon about in a vain bid to hide their nerves, but it was obvious, everybody was nervous about throwing their hats into the ring. Racing, while seemingly losing popularity amongst the average joe, is a leveller.

 

The crafting of a very fine trophy: Photo/ Death

Having spent the previous week mucking about with his laptop, the timing organisation had been able to provide “live timing”, but the attendees were all too nervous/scared to find out the truth…after all, the clock never lies does it?

Five trails later, including a not too popular uphill, and we had a set of results…..

And the winner was……Well you had to be there to find out, that’s what Underground racing is all about isn`t it ?

If you really want to find out, when you get that mystery invitation in your inbox, don`t ignore it……

 

Tommy Wilkinson

Filmaker, Photographer and writer at DWAgency. I spent 12 years racing, had a wee crash that meant I couldn't race anymore, so now I'm the worlds biggest DH World Cup Geek out there......

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