RIDERS smashed a mountain bike challenge in tribute to Weymouth Royal Marine James Wright.

The third Big Reach mountain bike charity challenge saw experienced off-road riders and beginners alike get out and enjoy the course at Rogershill Raceway.

The annual event is in tribute and memory of Royal Marine James Wright from 42 Commando, who died in 2011 in Afghanistan, after an attack on his base.

The name of the event comes from James’s nickname ‘Big Reach’ after he befriended a wrestler of that name in New York.

James’s family created the event in his memory as he loved mountain biking and motocross.

Raising money for both Scotties Little Soldiers and the Royal Marine Charitable Trust, the events have already raised thousands for the good causes.

The course, which has easier and harder sections, was open to anyone of any ability to try out off-road mountain biking and was split into two sections this year – a one-hour competitive stage for the more experienced off-road riders and the two-hour Big Reach main event. The sun shone as riders tackled the bumps, and curves of the course.

James’s dad David Wright said everyone had a great day and they raised £800 for charity.

He said the new two-part format had been a great success and had been praised by both the experienced riders and by those trying off road cycling for the first time.

He said: “The opening one-hour fixed-course event for experienced off-road riders featured some truly outstanding performances, notably from James Horton and Simon Wakely who both managed six laps of the 3km to 5km course.

“The following main two-hour event with its easy, challenge and extreme route options gave all the riders a challenge according to their ability and the opportunity to push themselves to the next level.

“The sense and look of enjoyment and achievement was obvious on their faces on the completion of each lap.”

He added: “The band Under The Carousel provided a great rocking atmosphere to the event, which raised around £800 for the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund and Scotties Little Soldiers.

“Many thanks to all those who helped and supported the event especially the Hall family from Rogershill Raceway, Mud Sweat and Gears, Dorset Vehicle Rental and Wey Valley School.”