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  • Why are GB so good at DH and so bad at XC on the world mtb stage?
  • crosshair

    Sorry Ryan but your wrong. At Banjo Cycles XCRampage the other week, there was a guy in grand vets riding an old steel hard tail from the 90’s that you could pick up on eBay for nothing I’d imagine.
    He was bloody quick!
    Xc really really really isn’t about kit!!!! A helmet yes, but the rest is up to you 🙂


    You probably can and 176 nations have chosen ZERO riders including the UK.
    No doubt budget constraints etc will be mooted but if you want medals 1 rider is a DNF in the seeding run.
    The other 3 have put up decent times vs the Junior boys times though.

    Premier Icon njee20

    Just looked at the worlds.
    There are 4 competitors in the Junior Womens Downhil.

    You mean that’s the full entry contingent?

    Do you not have to qualify for the worlds? Seems a bit weird though.


    We do seem to keep producing juniors who show promise, but then the jump in ability needed to do well in the elite races seems to be too much for many of them.


    Gorrick works for a couple of reasons IMO. As BR says the location near 10m+ people with the M3 / trains giving easy access gives you a population base. The location pretty much has a single landlord who although wants to ban recreational cycling, is accommodating to the organised events (knows where folks are plus a culture of encouraging competition within the workforce who enter themselves must help). The second and for me most significant reason is that they put on a race event pretty much every month, usually made up of loads of classes. It becomes habit forming and not only can people build into their schedule (easy to get to don’t forget) but they can easily see how they are progressing through the year. In many respects it works like the road TT scene – lots of club races in an area which the best guys can then feed into a regional, national and international scene (most of our best roadies come up from either TT or track, again single location base structure)
    Events like Big dog, while great fun, happen once a year in their geographical location. I see them more as a social event and although I am aware of similar events all over the UK I haven’t got the time (or back in the day when I had the speed, the money to pay travel) to go to race – I would rather save those weekends for a trip to a ‘bucket list’ venue.


    Dirt can’t even be bothered to print the Junior Womens seeding even as a one liner after the Junior mens article.


    At my regular DH spot, probably more than 50% the riders on any given day will partake in a race/timed event or two at some point during the year, regardless of their ability.

    Compare this with the massively popular trail centre down the road and it’s more like 15-20% of them who race.

    I’d guess the reason for this would be the amount of fitness that it’s perceived you need to enter a XC race and not come last by an embarrassing margin. Compare that to DH where there’s always a chance you may do alright if you can keep it upright as there always plenty of people falling off.


    thisisnotaspoon – Member
    I was about to mention the Gorrick, but I think it maybe ilustrates a different point. In the NE there was very little XC racing, whereas in the SE there’s loads. Conversely there was DH racing in the NE.
    I think that’s down to poulation density as much as topography, I don’t think people will travel to race XC beacuse if there’s no race then they can just go ride with mates to see who’s quickest. With DH you need the race infrastructure to see who’s quickest as it’s not always obvious.
    People will therefore travel from a larger area to race DH at Hamsterley, but I don’t think they’d show upto an XC race there. Whereas in the SE there’s still Aston Hill etc, but XC racing is far more popular than DH because there’s local events so you can turn up to a locla one and race.

    The final race of the NE XC MTB series is tomorrow at Hamsterley – I think over 200 riders have attended the series again this year, and it’s certainly not riding round a field – the course tomorrow will be laps of the “Hamsterley TT” route (organized by Northern Downhill earlier in the year). So I don’t think the lack of top competitors at XC is all down to lack of grassroots support or infrastructure.

    I think that the best XC riders come through the BC system and are snaffled by the lure of road racing – it’s where the money is if you want to make a career of riding your bike.


    Ferguson and Barnes take 5 & 7th in the U23 worlds. Not too shabby!

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