The 2006 Premier MTB Series boasts a wider geographical spread than recent years, with events stretching from perennial favourite Newnham Park near Plymouth to Drumlanrig, near Dumfries. The addition of a Scottish round will please many, although the actual centre of gravity of the series hasn’t moved all that far north – the next most northerly venue is Sherwood Pines, with Checkendon and Margam Park hosting the other two rounds. That’s most corners of the country covered, though.
There’s quite a lot of variety across the five rounds. Sherwood Pines may not be all that hilly, but it’s a fairly unrelenting proposition. Sherwood Pines will also host the first and last round of the Trek 6-4-2 endurance event, with riders racing for 6, 4 or 2 hours. Fear not, though, for there’ll be an endurance race at every round of the Premier Series – after Sherwood Pines it becomes the Marathon Series and will be run over 25, 50 or 100km distances rather than set times. The first Marathon will be at the second Premier round at Margam Park, the venue for 2005’s British Marathon Championships.
The Drumlanrig round should be well worth the journey, and there’s plenty for the non-racers to do around the estate of the Duke of Buccleuch and Queensbury. The start and finish of the XC and Marathon races will be on the lawns of the castle, while nearby there’s a children’s play area, craft shops, art collection and even a bicycle museum.
Then it’s right down to the other end of the country for Newnham Park. The Marathon here will be the National Championships. And then the last round will be at Checkendon, near Reading, a new venue for the Premier series but a popular XC destination.
Series sponsor Trek will be running its Demo Program at each venue, giving competitors and supporters the chance to try out a wide range of Trek bikes, including WSD women’s models. The organisers are keen to emphasise the family and social side of bike racing – there’ll be children’s races on Saturday evening and the traditional pasta party for all competitiors. And – rejoice! – there’ll be showers at every event.
Those dates in full:
- 6/7 May – NPS Round 1 and Trek 6-4-2. Sherwood Pines
- 3/4 June – NPS Round 2 and Marathon Series Round 1. Margam Park
- 8-9 July – NPS Round 3 and Marathon Series Round 2. Drumlanrig
- 5-6 August – NPS Round 4 and Marathon Series Round 3/ National Marathon Championship. Newnham Park
- 16-17 September – NPS Final and Marathon Series Final. Checkendon