The island hosts its second British championship cycling event in five weeks with the HSBC British Cycling Mountain Bike Marathon on Sunday.
With 192 confirmed entrants over all events, it’s the most successful Manx 100 event to date. The draw of the British Marathon Champs has increased numbers, but from a start of 12 riders only six years ago, it’s a massive increase.
The mtb championships is run over the 100km route boasting a quality field of who’s who in British marathon endurance racing.Â
With current British Marathon Champion and End2End winner, Ben Thomas, here to defend his crown, he may be hoping that his knowledge of the island will give him an edge.Â He will be tested by Three Peaks winner Paul Oldham, veteran endurance racer Ant White plus many other athletes, not forgetting a trio of Island Games locals - Elliott Baxter, Nick Corlett and Daniel Curtis - who have entered for a chance to be crowned British champion.
The entire Manx women’s mountain bike team has entered and six UK endurance female athletes.Â Local knowledge will no doubt aid Emma Atkinson, Emily Looker and Kirree Quayle in their quest to be crowned champion.
It’s not the only national jersey up for grabs on Sunday. The inaugural Manx Mountain Bike Marathon Championship is being held on the brutal 100-mile route.Â With riders such as Richard Rothwell, Keith Forysth and Phil Simcock from the UK endurance scene taking part, it is going to be a tough 10-hour day for the leading local riders such as Julian Corlett to compete against specialists of this ilk.
Little more than one month after the HSBC National Road Championships, Minister for Economic Development, Laurence Skelly, commented this week: ’We are very excited to welcome more than 100 mountain bike riders from the UK and further afield to the island and hope they enjoy the spectacular setting and varied terrain of the event.’
Organiser, Nigel Morris, admitted that the event could not happen without the continued support of a dedicated small group of volunteers, a growing number of marshals, St John Ambulance, Robinson’s (who are offering picnics for marshals and water/snacks to riders), Bikestyle and Eurocycles who are both helping with an E-bike to sweep the route.Â Indeed he is very thankful to all the people and local businesses that have helped out on the event.
The event starts at 6.30am on Sunday and will involve only one short road closure between 6.30 and 7am in the Onchan area which shouldn’t impact many general road users and locals, although organiser does request road users to take additional care around cyclists across the island.
If you spot any Manx 100 directional arrows please do not move or change them as even one missing or turned arrow could ruin riders’ event and potentially send them down dangerous routes.