Legends of mountain biking are heading to Selkirk

L-r, Paul McGreal and Peter Laing tested the course in Selkirk earlier this year
L-r, Paul McGreal and Peter Laing tested the course in Selkirk earlier this year

SELKIRK High Street will be shut for two hours next Friday night (June 7) as the 2013 British MTB Marathon Championships and the Selkirk MTB Marathon join forces to celebrate all that is mountain biking.

The two events will run alongside each other the following day when up to 100 elite cross country riders and as many as 400 sportive riders will take on courses around Innerleithen and Selkirk.

The weekend’s cycling festivities will begin on the Friday evening when Selkirk High Street will be transformed into a traffic free street party for all the family to enjoy. There will be a number of cycling events and activities that spectators can not only watch and marvel at but also take part in too.

Organiser Paul McGreal, of Selkirk-based Durty Events, said: “Thanks to huge support from Scottish Borders Council we’re closing Selkirk High Street from 7 until 9pm and filling it with a festival of exciting cycling related goodness: Urban Street Trials races, Roller Racing, and a portable pump track. Part spectator event, part ‘have a go’, part ‘come and enjoy the spectacle with great food and drink’. It will give the marathon riders and supporters a chance to relax, let their hair down and have some fun ahead of the challenge they are going to have to overcome.”

On Saturday June 8 up to 100 elite mountain bike racers from throughout the UK will descend on the Royal Burgh for the 2013 British MTB Marathon Championships.

Joining former Olympians Oli Beckingsale (Endura MTB Racing) and Nick Craig (Scott Syncros Pioneer) on the start line will be The 2012 British MTB Marathon Champion Lee Williams (Gateway Cycles), eight time winner of the Three Peaks Cyclo-Cross Rob Jebb (Team Hope Factory Racing) and Scottish cross country mountain bike legend Rab Wardell (Alpine Bikes Racing).

Among those fighting for the women’s title will be the 2012 British Marathon Champion, Jane Nuessli (Fischer-BMC), the 2012 World Endurance Champion, Sally Bigham (Topeak Ergon Racing Team), Amber Southern (WXC World Racing), currently ranked number one in the UK and Rachel Fenton (AW Cycles), who will be determined to go one better after her second place British Marathon Championships performance in 2012.

All of the elite riders will take on an 80 km single lap course that includes a fantastic mix of natural and hand-made singletrack, twin-track forest roads, ancient drove roads and some of the very best man-made trail centre routes at Innerleithen in their bid to claim British honours.

Selkirk MTB competitors have the choice of one of three fully marked courses - 25km, 50km and 80km. These routes that pass through the valleys of the Rivers Tweed, Yarrow and Ettrick will suit families, novices, intermediates, enthusiasts and racing snakes alike.

Course designer, Pete Laing, has been scouting new sections to freshen up the marathon courses. For those taking on the 80km course he is determined to include a few optional timed ‘Enduro’ sections (an uphill, a downhill, and one that’s a bit of both) in order to add a little more spice to those who want to race their mates and have the opportunity to claim the unofficial title of ‘King or Queen of the Hill’.

McGreal added: “We’re really chuffed to be organising the British Championships alongside the popular Selkirk Mountain Bike Marathon.

“We believe we have the best trails the Scottish Borders has to offer. We are determined to provide an achievable challenge for all our riders in fantastic surroundings with a lot of fun thrown in too.”

The British MTB Marathon Championships and the Selkirk MTB Marathon will be staged on Saturday June 8 and the event will be based at Selkirk Rugby Club. There is still plenty of time to enter. Online entry is via www.entrycentral.com and there are also links from www.selkirkmtbmarathon.com and http://www.durtyevents.com/.

Entry fees are:

British MTB Marathon Champs - £40

25/50/80km Marathon - £30. Entry on the day (subject to availability) - £35.

12-15 year olds ride for free over the 25km course but must be accompanied by a full price entry adult.