• The Mountain Time Trial

    The Mountain Time Trial

    Tyneside Vagabonds' Classic Time Trial
    Since 1947
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The Mountain Time Trial

The North East's premier cycling time trial
celebrates its 63rd edition in 2018

The 2019 Mountain Time Trial takes place on Sunday 19th May
Headquarters is at Belsay School
First rider starts at 10.01am



Ride the classic 47 mile course
Legendary post-race buffet for all riders
Extensive prize list and trophies for all categories



Entries are open now!
Enter online through the Cycling Time Trials website
Closing date for entries is Tuesday 7th May


The History

The Mountain Time Trial was first run in 1947



Initially run over a 67 mile course, the Mountain Time Trial was a ground-breaking event for the North East.  It took place in a different era when racing took place under much more secretive conditions!


In fact, the route was similar to the course currently used, taking in the climbs of Coldrife and Bilsmoor, but returning over the Ottercaps on the A696 rather than over WInter's Gibbet.  As ever, the event enjoyed "brilliant weather"! Pictured right is the feed zone on Coldrife during the inaugural event.

mtt 1947c

The winner, in a time of 3 hours 20 minutes and 33 seconds was Stan Bain of Barnesbury C.C.

The Course

The classic 47 mile course starts and finishes in Belsay, taking in Rothbury and Elsdon, and the climbs of Coldrife, Bilsmoor and Winter's Gibbet

The Trophies

Trophies are awarded for fastest man and woman, junior, and veteran on standard, as well as fastest man and woman on the timed ascent of Bilsmoor

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The Mountain Time Trial

With the cancellation of the Cramlington 10 mile time trial on Sunday due to roadworks that sprung up overnight, action was limited to massed start racing.  Sunday saw the Sloan Trophy road race at Stamfordham as well as the club's first North East Youth League promotion at Prissick.

North East Youth League Round 2 - Club Youth Circuit Championships

Martin Wells did an excellent job of promoting the club's first massed start cycle race for many years, supported by a number of other club members.  This event also doubled as the club's circuit race youth championships.

Matty Wells took another well-earned podium placing with 3rd place in the C category race, just one place ahead of Daniel Holmes.  Harry Ryder finished 5th in the D category race ahead of Sam Holmes, whilst Monty Rigby finished 6th in the E category race.  Joe Tubby was also competing in the A category race against stiff competition and finished a creditable 14th.

Full results are available here

Sloan Trophy Road Race

Report by Graeme Gow

The Sloan Trophy was contested on Sunday 26th April, starting in the very picturesque village of Stamfordham. There were two Vags taking part in the race, young Tim Irwin and even younger Craig Gow. After Saturday's biblical downpours the weather forecast was to be slightly better, however rain was on the agenda. As it turned out the sun was shining, albeit it was a tad on the chilly side. 

The race started under controlled conditions for a few hundred meters and then the lead car indicated the race had started for real. The course for those of you that don't know it, was an anti-clockwise loop out of Stamfordham, up to Black Heddon a couple of other left turns and back to Stamfordham. That doesn't really help much! But, for those that did the 100 mile TT it followed the exact loop round (just no wind). The race distance is 62 miles and is on a rolling course with no great climbs in it, but testing enough for the average club rider.

Lap one saw the only female rider taking part (Anna Turvey) dropped off the back of the marauding pack in the first couple of miles due to the speed of the race start. As the bunch came round Craig was sitting very comfortably in 8th place keeping out of trouble, which generally manifests itself at the rear of the group. Tim was sitting comfortably in the pack. 

As the group came round on lap two, Craig had settled in round about 18th place in the bunch and was looking very comfortable. Tim was there or there abouts, keeping a watchful eye on proceedings. As the race unfolded Craig had got himself a good wheel to sit on, only for two riders to try and push him out and take the wheel themselves. Craig has learned that although he is probably the smallest and youngest rider in these races, he isn't to be messed with. Tim Irwin on the other hand has learned that, although he might be a big strapping lad, you don't try to steal a little fella's wheel, especially when it's your team mate you are trying to push aside.  (Tim declared he had only been told off once during the race and unfortunately it had to be Craig that did the telling off).

Not seeing the race unfolding as you do on each lap of the Prissick Crits, it makes it a bit more difficult to cobble a race report together, however with Tim as a set of eyes in the group I got a good idea of what happened out on the course. Craig, from what I can gather was racing with maturity, conviction and an ability that belies his age and experience. Not content with sitting in and letting others do the work, he covered some attacks and was involved in chasing down groups that had made an attempt to get away, at all times looking comfortable, at ease and not intimidated by anyone or the situation around him.

By lap three a couple of riders had made a break, however were closely policed by the following peloton. 

Lap four was Craig's undoing. A group of 6 riders came through Stamfordham with about 100m advantage. The next group was slightly bigger with about 8 to 10 riders, including Craig. He had a steely determined look on his face and as we watched him go by, he stood up out of the saddle and shot out of the group he was riding with. Unfortunately Craig hadn't realised there was another lap to go and he was going for the sprint finish. Once he crossed the line he realised there was another lap to go. Unfortunately his legs said there was no lap to go and shut down on him. The last lap was a lonely procession for Craig. Disappointment did not even start to say what was written on his face at the end. 

After the mad dash towards the finish line on the penultimate lap, there were a lot of tired bodies and with tiredness comes lapses in concentration. With somewhere between two and three miles to go Tim got involved in what appeared to be an argument between a rear wheel on one bike and a front wheel on another. The inevitable happened. The rear wheel won and there were about 5 riders ended up on the floor. Unfortunately for Tim this was the start of a slow limp back to the end of his race. Tim is fine, however his brand new Shimano Dura Ace wheels wouldn't look out of place on Fred Flintstone's car (I hope the mechanic can sort them Tim).

It was good to see the club represented at the race, even though the results weren't in our favour. 

Next weekend Craig is representing the club at the Barnesbury festival of cycling Junior Road Race at Stannington. Let's hope he gets his lap counting right this time.

Legends of the Mountain TT

The Mountain TT has seen many great riders and performances over the years

Here are some of the highlights...

  • Jack Watson

    Jack Watson

    Jack Watson has been fastest veteran rider on standard in the MTT on no fewer than 11 occasions since 1998 and despite being in his 70s now, is quicker than many riders half his age
  • Chris Newton

    Chris Newton

    Former Olympic medallist and Commonwealth champion in the team pursuit, Chris Newton, from Stockton-on-Tees rode the MTT just once. In 2010, in what was his final year of racing, he set a new course record for the 47 mile course of 1:50:16, winning the event by more than 6 minutes.
  • Ron Longstaff

    Ron Longstaff

    Ron Longstaff, riding for Tyneside Vagabonds, won the second edition of the MTT in 1948, and again in 1954. He returned to ride the event in 2009 aged 80 and is the oldest rider to complete the MTT.
  • Martin Gibson

    Martin Gibson

    Martin Gibson rode and finished the Mountain TT in 21 consecutive events from 1993 until 2013, regularly placing in the top and winning the event in 2005.
  • David Cook

    David Cook

    Former National Road Race Champion David Cook won the Mountain TT on 3 consecutive occasions between 2000 and 2002.
  • Graeme Obree

    Graeme Obree

    Graeme Obree, who has too many accolades to mention, rode the event in 2007 on one of his unique bicycles. He finished 3rd after puncturing on the Gibbet, in what was his last solo time trial.
  • Ian Norris

    Ian Norris

    Ian Norris is one of 6 riders to have won the Mountain TT on 3 or more occasions, winning in 1986, 1989 and 1992.
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