A MASSIVE bike challenge was marred when a cyclist was badly hurt.
The man in his 50s had to be airlifted to hospital after he came off his bike at Green Lane Farm in Holmfirth.
He had been among 400 cyclists taking part in the 17th Holme Valley Mountain Bike Challenge, organised by Holmfirth Scouts.
The group were just over an hour-and-a-half into the course when the man crashed shortly after 10am. It is thought he hit a garden wall in the Washpit area.
The Yorkshire Air Ambulance was called and the man from Bradford was flown to Leeds General Infirmary.
He had suffered serious head injuries and was last night said to be in a stable condition.
A spokeswoman from Yorkshire Air Ambulance said:
“He was unconscious when we arrived.”
Two road ambulances were also sent to the scene, but were not needed.
Organiser Andrew Armitage said he did not know how the accident happened..
The air ambulance landed in the middle of Underbank Rangers’ rugby pitch at Cross, Dunford Road, causing a match to be temporarily halted.
The game, between Rangers under 13s and Queensbury, was stopped just after half time .
Club secretary David Wilson said: “We were told there had been a big race, that a cyclist had been injured and the air ambulance needed somewhere to land.
“We were 10 minutes into the second half and had to halt the game for 25 minutes to allow them onto the pitch. We were then able to resume the game.
“The man had obviously had a very serious accident.
“The air ambulance landing caused quite a bit of commotion and excitement amongst the young players.”
Cyclists come from all over the UK to take part in the 30-mile challenge, which this year raised money for new equipment for the 1st Holme Valley Scout Group.
The event combines local roads and lanes with more demanding off-road terrain.
Despite the accident, yesterday’s event was able to continue.
Mr Armitage said: “For this year’s event we had around 420 cyclists which made it certainly as big, if not bigger than previous years.
“It’s gone from strength to strength over the years – we had 80 cyclists taking part when we first started.
“People come from all over the UK to take part, including groups of family and friends. People come and make a weekend of it.”
Riders set off from Hade Edge and cycled through Dunford Bridge, Thurlstone, Tinkers Monument, to Jackson Bridge, Hepworth and Scholes.
The group then travelled through Cartworth Moor, Hinchliffe Mill, Harden Moss, Holme Village and Ramsden Reservoir before finally finishing at Hade Edge recreation ground.
The route is varied each year.
Some of the more difficult parts of this year’s route were the rough two-mile downhill track at Jackson Bridge and the last leg of the challenge, a climb from Ramsden Reservoir to Hade Edge.
Participants – aged from 14 upwards – took between two hours and six hours to complete the course.
Kirkburton cycle shop TriCycling helped with extra bike parts and repairs on the day.