The UK round of the 2011 UCI Mountain Bike Cross-Country World Cup takes place for the second year running in Yorkshire’s Dalby Forest on 20-22 May 2011.
The action begins on Friday night in the town of Pickering for the return of the Pro Sprint Eliminator before culminating on Sunday with the the main event – the Elite Rounds of the UCI Mountain Bike Cross-Country World Cup.
However, I must mention Saturday’s event as this weekend is not only for the elite rider. On Saturday they have what they call the “Dalby Dare” – this is a public race challenge where you can ride a world-level cross-country race track and see for yourself why it’s going to be so hard for the pros.
Britain had not held a top of the range cross-country mountain bike event since 1999 when a World Cup race was held at at Newnham Park in Plymouth. Since then the sport has become far more challenging and the new £200,000 course designed at Dalby Forest in 2010 is a track that stands above all other race tracks in the UK, a track that is designed to challenge the very best riders in the world.
Dalby Forest was already well-known for its excellent off-road riding, but the new course has well and truly put this area on the mountain bike map. It’s the ideal location for a cross-country world cup event because it already has the infrastructure to support the huge number of people who will be in town for this event. The entire world track course sits within a square kilometre of the forest so you are never far from the action. In fact, Dalby Forest was voted the ‘Best World Cup round’ last year and is all set to impress again this year and the beautiful town of Pickering has plenty to offer.
Cross-country mountain biking is one of the most demanding extreme sports and this race track has been designed so well that it will challenge the fittest and most skilful cross-country racers on the planet. When designing the track, followers of the event were not forgotten. There are several hubs on the course which are within easy walking distance of the event village which makes it a great spectator sport.
Olympian cross-country racer Oli Beckingsale and ex-World Cup racer Nick Craig were pivotal in the development of the new trail. Thanks to them the trail rides hard, but the course has a mixture of line choices and chicken-out runs around technical obstacles that may prove a timely option or a hindrance to competitors.
“I can’t wait to race the World Cup at Dalby, racing at home will be awesome. The course is great with a good mix of natural terrain and manmade singletrack. I’m just hoping I can ride fast enough to give the Brits something to shout about,” said Beckingsale.
“Dalby is a place to test the real all-round MTB racer – you need power, speed, skill and a good head for racing. It’s technical enough to bite you in the ass if you make a mistake,” explained Craig.
Last year this proved to be true. The course has been designed to stop any one rider dominating the whole way through. It was intended that it would winkle out strengths and weaknesses in all riders and so successful were the designers that the most thrilling finish in World Cup history happened in the final sprint to the finish line in 2010 – see our April 2010 article.
In 2010 britishcyclingvideos made an excellent video about this course and we will leave you with that…