LIFE-SAVING medics will take on a 40-mile charity mountain bike ride and are urging others to saddle up alongside them.

Bikers are being encouraged to test their skills in Hamsterley Forest, County Durham, while raising funds for the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS).

The ‘Hamsterley Beast’, which is back for its second year, is set to attract hundreds of entrants from across the country on May 15.

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The event organisers - a small group of mountain biking enthusiasts - set up the challenge to “give something back” to the air ambulance which comes to the aid of many injured cyclists across the North of England. They hope to smash last year’s £10,000 total raised for the charity.

GNAAS doctor Jeff Doran from Hurworth, and paramedic Jamie Walsh from Bowburn, will tackle the gruelling ride.

Dr Doran said: “We’re both really looking forward to the challenge and have been putting in some good miles leading up to the ride. We are urging others to join us.

“We airlift many bikers from busy city centres and also remote locations such as forests. The aircraft is crucial in getting severely injured patients to hospital quickly.”

The event is not a race and riders can complete an 18 mile or 40 mile route through the forest.

The £30 entry fee will go towards GNAAS and participants that want to raise extra money for the charity will receive an official sponsor form, guidance in setting up an online sponsorship page and a GNAAS challenge t-shirt.

For more information and to sign up visit hamsterleybeast.com