The 2013 season kicks off this weekend for the Mountain Trax – Vauxhall Motors Cycling Team. The riders have been training hard since the start of November, successfully battling through the wet winter months. The riders are both well ahead of their training targets and looking forward to testing their legs at the first events of the year, which will include the Brass Monkey marathon and Gorrick cross country in which both riders will compete.
Tim is in contention to win the Brass Monkey series title, so the team’s first objective will be to secure victory in January. Following these events, the team flies to Spain for the Andalucía Bike Race which is a six-day stage race from Cordoba to Jaen. This will be the first big test of the year. Ben is looking forward to returning to Spain, having taken part in last year’s event. “It was great racing Andalucia Bike Race last year. The trails were some of the best I’ve ridden and the February sunshine was an added bonus. It’s good to see a few more Brits have signed up to this year’s event; it’s certainly a race I’d recommend. Hopefully pairing with Tim and having team logistics manager John Newport along for support, we can challenge for a top 15 result.”
In March Ben will attend the first of the British Cross Country Series at Sherwood Pines Forest. Ben will be aiming to challenge for top five podium finishes in the series and also at the National Cross Country Championships in July. Meanwhile, on March 24, Tim will begin the defence of his National Endurance Series title at the Whinlatter Challenge.
The main priority for the team will be marathon distance events. In April, Ben and Tim will take on the Roc Laisagais round of the UCI World Marathon Series before heading home to race for the National Marathon Championship title in Builth, Wells on April 14. Afterwards the team will fly to South Africa to compete in JoBerg2c, the nine-day stage race from Johannesburg to Durban.
Tim is already excited about visiting South Africa. “The Old Mutual JoBerg2c is our main aim for the early season and, from reading the stage descriptions, it looks like it’s going to be a tough one and will take lots of perseverance and great teamwork to complete successfully. The thought of 900km of amazing riding, on some of the best trails in South Africa, to finish on the coast is mind blowing and has helped motivate me through another wet, cold British winter.” With three of the biggest events on the mountain bike calendar falling into the month of April, the team will be aiming to be at peak fitness.
There won’t be much time to hang around in South Africa before everyone has to fly home, to support Tim at the European and UK 12 Hour Championships on May 11. Following Tim’s performances over the longer distances in recent years, you’d be a brave person to bet against him.
The team will then take a short break before the riders split up and head to different events. Tim will compete in the mountains of Schladming in Austria in the Alpen Tour Trophy at the end of May.
Both riders are hoping that the first half of the year will conclude with selection for the World Marathon Championships which take place in Kirchberg, Austria on June 30. Tim and Ben have learnt from their time riding for the Great Britain Team at Worlds in 2012 and hope to have another chance this year.
In July the team will attend TwentyFour12 in Plymouth where they will be joined by two guest riders to form a four man team in the 12 hour event. The same will happen in August at the Gorrick 12 Hour, which is the local event of title sponsor Mountain Trax who are based just down the road from the Wokingham venue.
The Kielder 100 is the biggest and toughest UK marathon. The gruelling 100 mile event was won by Ben in 2011 and by Tim in 2012. This will be a key event for the riders, especially with it being the National Endurance Series final. A week beforehand, the riders will make their first appearance at the Isle of Man End to End, a race that attracts 1,700 riders to the island.
The team will conclude its season travelling through France in its Vauxhall Vivaro to the UCI World Marathon Series rounds in Ornans and Frejus. Each year, Frejus, which is on the Cote d’Azur, hosts the cycling festival Roc d’Azur, which in 2012 attracted around 18,000 visitors. The events will host the final of the World Series, as well as numerous other events, and the team’s final race will be the Roc d’Azur Cross Country race which finishes on the beach in Frejus on October 13.
It’s an exciting schedule with the team racing all over the world. See below for the full list of race dates and venues.
Roc d'Azur Cross Country
Brass Monkey - Round 3
Gorrick Spring Series - Round 1
Porridge Pot, Surrey
24 Feb – 1 Mar
Andalucia Bike Race
Cordoba - Jaen, Spain
British Cross Country Series: Round 1
Sherwood Pines, Nottinghamshire
World Marathon Series
Roc Laisagais, France
National Marathon Champs
26 Apr – 4 May
JoBerg2C 9 day
Johannesburg – Durban, S.Africa
European UK 12 Hour Champs
Wasing Estate, Berkshire
Southern XC Series: Round 3
Crow Hill, Hampshire
30 May – 2 Jun
British Cross Country Series: Round 3
World Marathon Champs
British Cross Country Series: Round 4
Margam, Port Talbot
Southern XC Series: Round 5
National Cross Country Champs
Cathkin Braes, Glasgow
Brighton Big Dog
British Cross Country Series: Round 5
Gorrick 12 Hour
Manx End to End
Isle of Man
UCI Marathon Series
UCI Marathon Series
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