MORE than 100 riders are expected to compete in the inaugural race on a £24,000 mountain bike trail this weekend.

The 4X course, at Hamsterley Forest, County Durham, has taken nearly a year to build and allows four riders to compete over a 450-metre route.

On Sunday, riders from across the country are expected to compete in the regional championships.

The course has been built by Descend Hamsterley, which was set up three years ago in an agreement with the Forestry Commission.

Craig Hunter, from Descend Hamsterley, said: "The race is a great way to inaugurate the course.

"It's taken a lot of effort on the part of volunteers, funding partners and contractors to get it off the ground.

"But it gives Hamsterley the best facility of its kind anywhere in the UK."

Although the 4X route offers top riders a challenge, it also has enough race-lines to appeal to less advanced bikers.

Last month, in a separate project, a £200,000 skills trail was opened in Hamsterley.

Alex Maclennan, district forester for recreation, communities and tourism with the Forestry Commission, said: "Hamsterley is now firmly on the map as one of the prime English mountain bike venues.

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