You may know the TweedLove name as being the host of one of the biggest mountain bike festivals in the UK. It’s also home to the UK’s only pro-level enduro race – the Shimano TweedLove International enduro. Aside from putting on stellar events that have riders frothing year-in, year-out, TweedLove has just announced that it will be delving into a whole new avenue in 2017 by launching a brand new Enduro Race Team.
The TweedLove Race Team is starting out small – figuratively, and literally. With two young local fellas on board – Ben Balfour (16) and Callum Thornley (13) – the race team will primarily be a youth development squad to help get local hitters into the burgeoning UK enduro race scene. No massive international names. No big contracts. No huge multi-national corporate sponsorships. Just grassroots racing with enthusiastic riders who live and breath mountain biking.
“We’re interested in working with talented riders in any discipline”, says Neil Dalgleish of TweedLove, “but enduro is what a lot of the young riders are most excited about”. For Dalgleish and the wider TweedLove team, the Race Team will of course also be an opportunity for the Scottish brand to spread its name further afield. And from the sounds of things, the team is only set to grow from here on in. “We’re hoping to provide more races for younger riders this year”, explains Dalgleish, “and we’ll be adding one or two other riders to the TweedLove Race team soon.”
While we wait to hear who else will be joining the TweedLove Race Team, check out this neat little edit of Ben and Callum ripping it up on their local trails in Scotland. Awesome stuff!
The Tweed Valley in the Scottish Borders has a reputation in the world of mountain biking for good reasons. Spread across its hillsides and forests is an impressive collection of quality trails which, by no coincidence, also serve as the back garden of some very talented bike riders. Witness, for example, that 66.6% of the recently-announced Trek Factory Enduro Racing Team (namely Katy Winton and Lewis Buchanan) were home-grown here in the valley.
‘Bike Valley’ has also been home to the award-winning TweedLove Bike Festival for the last eight years, and annually hosts several of the UK’s best attended and highest-rated MTB races, including what is currently the UK’s only pro-level enduro race – the Shimano TweedLove International enduro.
The valley has a high population of committed pinners, a fact reflected most clearly not only in the number of trails to shred, but by the incredible number of fast kids living locally. There are four fully booked-up kids bike clubs operating within the space of eight miles here, and literally hundreds of kids starting to leave their parents in the dust.
Since 2010 TweedLove has played a part in the growth of the bike community and reputation of the area, and has now stepped up to support a new team of young riders, starting with local shredders Ben Balfour (16) and Callum Thornley (13).
“Everyone knows bike events aren’t the big bucks players in this industry,” says TweedLove’s main man Neil Dalgleish, “but nevertheless we can help support and promote some of the incredible talent that’s been emerging out of the woods here.”
TweedLove is probably best known for enduro, a discipline with issues around insurance and lack of a co-ordinated structure in the UK, mainly as it’s not supported as a race format by British Cycling. This causes problems for younger riders aiming to progress and build enduro race experience. “We’re interested in working with talented riders in any discipline, but enduro is what a lot of the young riders are most excited about,” says Neil. “We’re hoping to provide more races for younger riders this year, and we’ll be adding one or two other riders to the TweedLove Race team soon. Ben has already raced our enduros and wiped the floor with a lot of the adults – it’ll be exciting to watch how he does this year. Callum’s got less enduro experience but rides incredibly well for such a young dude, and has shown his ability in a lot of disciplines.”
But it’s not all about immediate results though, as Neil explains, “We’re not really selling products like most sponsored teams, so there’s not so much pressure for results. We just want to do our bit in this fantastic community to promote some of the amazing riders who are growing up around us now. At the same time, the team can help promote the area, our community and our events.”
Local bike shops Alpine Bikes have also agreed to support the riders and Whyte Bikes have offered to help with the race bikes. “It’s great that other brands and organisations are getting involved too”, says Neil. “Ian Linton has offered to do some snapping for the team, and the guys at Out of Office have given a heap of time to make an intro video edit.”
More info: www.tweedlove.com