Kate Ball: Scotland’s a world leader in mountain biking

26-11-2016. Picture Michael Gillen. FALKIRK. Greenrig bike park. Lochgreen Rd. Callendar estate. Mountain bike trail. Falkirk Funduro cycling event.
26-11-2016. Picture Michael Gillen. FALKIRK. Greenrig bike park. Lochgreen Rd. Callendar estate. Mountain bike trail. Falkirk Funduro cycling event.
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Mountain biking in Scotland is having a moment. In the last few years, Scotland has embraced the true potential of the sport in this country, and a booming industry is steadily growing off the back of it. This country’s landscape may be what attracts mountain bikers here to ride, but it’s the buoyant industry that makes businesses stay.

I’m the Communications Manager of the Enduro World Series (EWS), a small Scottish business with a large global reach. Along with our partners, we put on large scale international mountain biking races across the globe. We’re just back from our first races of the 2018 season in Chile and Colombia, and before the year is out we’ll have visited France, Austria, Slovenia, Canada, Spain and Italy.

In fact, since our inception six years ago we’ve hosted 40 events in 14 countries across four continents, including two right here in Scotland. This is a big year for the EWS, as we expand our network of events to include both Qualifier races and a new Continental Series, boosting our presence to 74 events across 25 countries.

And whilst the nature of the business is becoming ever more international in reach, the series remains firmly rooted in Scotland. We work closely with the Mountain Bike Centre of Scotland and Edinburgh Napier University, who are currently our partners in a two year study to record, monitor and analyse all injuries in a bid to better understand and hopefully prevent them occurring in the future.

Projects such as these are a great way to showcase the expertise that already exists in Scotland and shine an international spotlight on them. You only have to look at the success of the Fort William Downhill World Cup or the investment that’s being ploughed into the Glentress trail centre near Peebles to realise that Scotland is a world leader when it comes to mountain biking.

We try and ensure that we add to that legacy, providing free resources on best practice and sporting guidelines to organisers around the world. Our series leader boards and trophies are also produced locally, ensuring there are treasures from Scotland proudly adorning mantelpieces from Australia to France, the USA and many places in between.

Our next Scottish event is the closing round of the European Continental series, which takes place in Fort William this October 13th in conjunction with No Fuss Events. Taking place at the Nevis Range - an already iconic venue thanks to the Downhill World Cup - the race will see hundreds of riders being put through their paces on the region’s famous trail network.

And with Scotland’s place firmly cemented on the international mountain biking map, you can expect to see some of the sport’s biggest name athletes and brands on the start line, all eager to experience a little bit of that famous Scottish mud.

For more information on the Enduro World Series and the Continental Series taking place in Fort William visit enduroworldseries.com

Kate Ball is Communications Manager of the Enduro World Series