Cascades MTB Park gets a few tweaks

2013-06-22 00:00

WITH the first action of the 2013 UCI MTB & Trials World Championships at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg now just two months away, interest in the courses on which the year’s global MTB pinnacle will be staged is building rapidly, with the cross country tracks receiving subtle tweaks from course designer Nick Floros.

The track for the elite cross country element of the champs is not dissimilar from the one utilised for the Pietermaritzburg leg of the 2012 UCI MTB World Cup, with last year’s event having served as the ideal trial run ahead of this year’s premier showcase. However, some changes to the already popular course have added even more value and intrigue.

“Apparently our cross country course was ranked the third best out of all the UCI MTB World Cup cross country courses in 2012, with guys giving us some really good feedback,” explained Floros.

“We’ve changed a couple of things for this year’s event but by in large the course is very similar to the one used for last year’s World Cup.”

With, for practicality, the two feed zones being in very close proximity to one another, each lap consists of two separate halves, or loops, with both feed zones forming the epicentre of all the action.

Most of the changes that have been made for 2013 are found in the first loop, with Floros hoping they will help ease congestion and create good strategic opportunities, particularly on the closely fought opening lap, with riders set to experience the first of these changes just seconds after having crossed the start line.

“We’ve changed the final stretch of the start straight, just before the climb up Red Face Hill, slightly,” said Floros. “Just before the climb begins, we’ve shifted the road six or seven metres to the right of the previous track, before then turning back left slightly and aiming for Red Face Hill.

“We’re hoping that by introducing the slight bend we will give the guys a better ride in to Red Face Hill and this should hopefully reduce the bottlenecking that always occurs on the first lap at the top of the climb because now riders should be able to go into this first trail two or even three abreast.”

With the majority of the second loop of the lap remaining relatively unaltered, the only change to this portion of the lap comes at the very end of the loop when riders make their way out of Corkscrew and into the start/finish straight.

“With us having raised the level of the area near the front of the park the start/finish straight has received a bit of a makeover as well which should make for a far smoother, faster entry from the end of the second loop of the route into the straight,” added Floros.

The UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships takes place at The Cascades MTB park in Pietermaritzburg from August 26 to September 1, and will be preceded by the UCI MTB Masters World Championships from August 21 to 25.

More information can be found at www.mtbworldchamps.co.za.

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