Location: National Cycling Centre Indoor BMX Track, Stuart Street, Manchester
Event: 23-24 March 2013
| | |
The 2013 British BMX Series gets underway this weekend with a multitude of talented home grown riders on show at the National BMX Centre in Manchester.
Coming just four weeks before the UCI BMX Supercross opening round, which is also at the National Cycling Centre, the meeting will be seen as a valuable opportunity for Great Britain’s riders to experience competition conditions on the indoor course - which are difficult to simulate in training.
With nine rounds in total in the British Cycling series, each rider’s best seven results will count towards their final total and determine the champions in each respective category.
British champion Liam Phillips will start after missing the last six rounds in 2012 with his focus understandably on his London Olympic ambitions, particularly after a crash at the world championships in Birmingham left the 24-year-old from Somerset with a broken collarbone.
In his absence British Cycling Olympic Academy coach Marcus Bloomfield claimed the elite men’s title though he will be absent from actual competition for the first round in Manchester.
Elite men - Marcus Bloomfield
Elite women - Abbie Taylor
Junior men - Quillan Isidore
Whilst Phillips will be favourite, expect stern opposition from British Cycling BMX Academy athletes Kyle Evans, Daniel McBride and Curtis Manaton and Olympic Development Programme rider Quillan Isidore, a world champion in the Boys 16 category.
Isidore will also defend his junior men’s title, a class apart in powering to the victory in 2012, triumphing in eight rounds to confirm his status as one of the country’s most exciting talents on the back of his heroics to earn a rainbow jersey in Birmingham last May .
The elite women’s category is equally impressive. Great Britain Academy rider Abbie Taylor took last year’s crown in a 12 months that saw her finish a notable third at the Abbotsford UCI BMX Supercross round, albeit in a weakened field post-Olympics.
Her dominance in Britain was reflected with eight victories in the 11 rounds though matching that feat will no easy task for the 19-year-old as familiar faces pose a threat, none more so than three-time world champion Shanaze Reade.
Like Phillips, three-time elite world champion Reade had limited participation in the 2012 series, making three appearances ahead of the London Games and the Cheshire Ghostriders Club rider will have aspirations for a fuller programme in 2013 as the journey to the Rio 2016 Olympics is in its infancy.
Elsewhere, British Cycling Olympic Development Programme rider Charlotte Green and the Talent Team Programme’s Valerie Zebrokova will want to continue their impressive progress which saw the burgeoning talents finish second and third respectively last season.
The elite competition is just one segment in a robust weekend of BMX racing as categories for a myriad of age levels including cruiser and veteran classes make up the schedule with Britain’s £24m world-class facility making the perfect venue to open the UK’s premier BMX series.