Hadleigh Park International: Event Preview

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Following the success of the inaugural Hadleigh Park International last year, the event is back on the schedule for 2017 and boasts another world-class field of riders heading to the 2012 Olympic course in Essex this weekend.

Once again the race is the biggest of the year for UK cross-country, and with hors categorie status meaning maxium UCI points are available, it is an exciting prospect for domestic and international riders alike. For Junior riders the event forms part of the UCI Junior Series and has thus attracted some of the most promising young riders from across the globe. For the Elites, Hadleigh Park International will be play a pivotal role in the preparation of riders who will take the start in Nove Mesto na Morave in the Czech Republic to kick start their World Cup campaign just two weeks after.

UCI points attract top rider to the race.
UCI points attract top rider to the race.

Such riders include our Elite British Champions, Annie Last (OMX Pro Team) and Grant Ferguson (CST Sandd American Eagle), who will both be looking to perform well in front of a home crowd; Manuel Fumic, Maxime Marotte and Helen and Hannah Grobert of Cannondale Factory Team; U23 World Cyclocross Champion, Annemarie Worst; and Australian superstars, Bec Henderson and Dan McConnell.

Signing on - or signing autographs?
Signing on – or signing autographs?

British and European Champion, and last year’s Junior winner, Sophie Wright, will be one to watch in the Junior race, alongside her Great Britain team mate, Emily Wadsworth. Dan Tulett heads up the British Junior Boy’s contingent but will face tough competition from 2016 winner, Victor Lab. British Cycling has confirmed that it will be taking the following team to the race:

Sophie Wright
Emily Wadsworth
Cameron Orr
Dan Tulett
Calum Fernie
Sean Flynn
Frazer Clacherty
Ella Connolly
Evie Richards

With five male cyclists on there, it’s good to see that British Cycling are still taking riders to races, despite the pulling of UK Sport funding.

Also racing at Hadleigh Park will be strong fields of Youth and Juvenile Girls and Boys who will have the rare opportunity to ride the same event as their MTB idols, plus a short U12s race to keep all ages entertained and involved.

A fun weekend out for spectators and competitors.
A fun weekend out for spectators and competitors.

Hadleigh Park’s operators see this as being an important part of the Olympic legacy and one which they hope will encourage the development of young riders on their way to Elite success or simply a greater love for the sport. Looking at the start lists, there are certainly plenty of Hadleigh MTB Club members on the list, suggesting that the facility is certainly attracting the locals onto the trails.

The 4.5km course at Hadleigh Park will include many of the famous features of the Olympics, such as Triple Trouble and Dean’s Drop.

Aside from the racing, a highlight of last year’s event was the interaction between the public and the riders. Once again the arena area will be open for spectators to get a chance to speak with professional racers from all over the World, get autographs signed and watch a little of what goes on behind the scenes at a major international race.

Hadleigh Park Annie Last
Annie Last at Hadleigh Park

Also on the programme are the MAD MTB Display Team who will be showing everyone how to cheat physics with their incredible stunts and skills, plus a Facebook Live question and answer session with the Cannondale Factory Team on Friday night.

Entry to the Hadleigh Park International is free. There is no parking on site but a Park and Ride service is provided at a cost of £3 (free for those under 5). Extra food and drink stalls will be on site, and all the usual Hadleigh Park facilities will also be open. The event schedule and further information can all be found on the website.

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