Mountain bikers gear up for school contest

THE common weekend sight of dog walkers and youngsters playing on swings in Scott Park will this month be replaced by the sound of bike wheel gripping grass as the Galashiels greenspace hosts the first Borders Inter-schools Mountain Biking Championships.

The competition will feature races for pupils from primary five to sixth year and schools are being invited to enter as many riders as possible in each age bracket, with the aim of achieving overall champion school status.

The riders will initially undertake a skills element in Scott Park and the results will be used to grid the start line for each event – a short off-road race through Gala Policies woodland.

Borders Sport and Leisure, as organisers, alongside Scottish Cycling and the Borders Cycle Development Group, has arranged a series of coaching sessions across the region to help riders prepare for the contest.

Chief executive of Borders Sport and Leisure, Ewan Jackson, said: “The Borders has been producing world-class mountain biking talent for a number of years now and this is an opportunity for us to inspire and encourage the next generation of riders.

“We hope to make the championship an annual event and to use it to help to keep alive the great feeling of achievement that has been derived from the recent Olympic Games.”

Richard Lord of Scottish Cycling added: “We are building some really strong clubs across the region that will be delivering regular coaching sessions with the aim of planning more races in the future.”

The championship takes place on Saturday, September 29.