Mountain Bike Category System Explained
What AGE category do I race in?
All categories in MTB racing are age based until you get to the age of 19. To work out which category you belong in, see the table below. As an example, if you are 14 now, but have a birthday later in the year, then you are classed as a 15 year old and would race in the Youth category:
U12 Downhill – Riders taking part in Short Course or Mini Downhill events can compete in their 10th, 11th and 12th year.
Juvenile - To qualify for the Juvenile category, a rider must be in the year of their 13th or 14th birthday.
Youth - Riders in the year of their 15th or 16th birthdays.
Junior - Riders in the year of their 17th and 18th birthdays.
Senior / Expert / Elite - When a rider reaches the year of his or her 19th birthday then the Senior or Sport category is the appropriate aged based category. See below for how riders can attain Expert or Elite status.
Master - for riders aged 30 to 39. In Downhill Senior riders will default to Master on reaching the year of their 30th birthday. In Cross Country, Sport riders will continue to be classified as Sport unless they elect to ride in the Masters category. This change was introduced for 2011 in recognition of the high standard of competition in XC Masters racing, to allow an extra category option for those in this age group.
Veteran - for riders aged 40 to 49.
Grand Veteran - for riders aged over 50 (DH and female XC) or aged 50 to 59 (male XC).
Super Veteran - for male XC riders aged over 60
Need some help to work out your category check out the License category quick guide for the birth year for each category
How do I qualify to a higher ABILITY category?
Qualification from Senior/Sport/Junior to Expert or Expert to Elite is gained through your "End of Year" ranking points.
Female Cross-Country and Downhill
These riders should apply directly to British Cycling if a category change is required.
Elite: The top 40 ranked riders will remain Elite. Elite riders ranked outside of the top 40 will retain their status and any other eligible rider can gain Elite status if two World Cup finals have been achieved in one season. The top 10 Expert riders will be promoted to Elite. The 1st placed Junior rider will be promoted to Elite (British Cycling reserve the right to move more than 1 rider up on merit). Dispensation will only be considered for riders who have been injured for a minimum 8 week period during the months from April to September. A letter from a GP or specialist must be provided.
Expert: Any Elite riders ranked below 40, Expert riders ranked 11-80, Top 25 ranked Senior riders, Top 25 ranked Junior riders (only if 2nd year Juniors), 1st placed Veteran & top 3 Masters (optional, but Vets and Masters riding out of Cat will be offered Expert). Dispensation will only be considered for riders who have been injured for a minimum 8 week period during the months from April to September. A letter from a GP or Specialist must be provided.
Senior: Juniors moving up an age group, but outside the top 25, Entry level riders of senior category age, Riders ranked outside the top 80 Experts, Non licensed riders of Senior category age
Top 50 Elite Ranked riders stay elite
Top 5 Experts are promoted to elite
Top 2 Juniors are promoted to elite, or top 5 dependent upon age & ability
Elite riders ranked below 50
Expert riders outside the top 5 remain expert.
Junior category riders ranked 3-5 are promoted, dependent upon age & ability
Sport category riders ranked in the top 15
Master category rider ranked in the top 3
BC will consider applications for upgrade from riders who fall just outside these thresholds.
Male & Female Four-Cross
Riders must remain within the top 20 NPS standings
1st place Junior rider. Optional and dependent upon age
Top 3 Senior NPS standings
The winner of a 2008 Senior NPS event
Elite riders ranked outside the top 20
Junior riders moving up to Senior
Master age riders wishing to progress to Elite
Find out more