THE 17th annual Exmoor Explorer mountain bike challenge attracted nearly 400 riders from all over the country.

They rode out from Minehead Rugby Club in glorious sunshine progressing through Minehead and up onto North Hill at the start of the 31 mile route.

Traditionally run with a 20 mile short loop and the option to do an extra 10 mile long loop for those looking for a more strenuous ride, the format was changed this year to allow less experienced riders to have a go.

It consisted of with three loops approximately ten miles long, getting progressively more difficult, with the third loop very aptly named the ‘Killer’.

A fee is charged per rider and all surpluses after running costs are given to charity.

This year £5,000 was donated to the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance and Jackie Barnes, one of the Exmoor Explorer committee, is shown above presenting a cheque to Derek and Diane Albutt of the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance.

Previously, in addition to donations to host organisations such as Cutcombe Fete Committee, Timberscombe Cricket Club and local village halls, funds have also been donated to Breast Cancer Research, Musgrove Park Hospital, and the David Rayner Fund to name but a few.

Committee member Neil Brooks said: “Seeing the riders enjoying themselves makes all the hard work organising the event worthwhile.

“It’s very rare that anyone has a complaint and whatever the weather throws at the riders they always come away with a smile on their faces. That’s what it’s all about.”