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Going for gold. Sub-nippers Jenna Ross from Winteron Primary leads Megan Tyrer (23) of Howick Prep and Abigail Don-Wauchope (19) from Winterton in a Spur KZN schools series race presented by Mongoose. Primary and senior school riders will be in action at the Cascades MTB park in Pietermaritzburg, in the build-up to the UCI MTB and Trials World Championships on Saturday 17 August.

Photo: Gavin Ryan/Gameplan Media

Foresight from the event organisers has seen one leg of the Spur KZN MTB School series presented by Mongoose on Saturday 17 August moved to the Cascades venue, where all the infrastructure for the World Champs will be in place, affording the youngsters the chance to race where their heroes will be in action a few days later.

The series caters for primary and high school riders in the Under 8 (Sub-Nippers), Under 10, (Nippers), Under 12 (Sprogs), Under 14 (Sub-Juniors), Under 16 (Youth) and Under 18 (Junior) divisions.

For series organiser Ewan Cochran, the opportunity to stage a leg of the series at the World Championship venue will be a major shot in the arm for the development of the sport in the region.

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Serious business. Nippers, from left, Seth David James (Ridge Primary), Craig De Beer, Heath (Umhlanga College) and Megan Smith (Hillcrest Primary) line up for a Spur KZN schools series race presented by Mongoose. A special race will be staged at the Cascades MTB park in Pietermaritzburg, in the build-up to the UCI MTB and Trials World Championships, on Saturday 17 August.

Photo: Gavin Ryan/Gameplan Media

"The World Champs vibe will be unbelievable by that stage, and the schools are really excited about getting a chance to race where the legends will be racing a week or so later," said Cochran.

Pupils will race in the school colours, and Cochran hopes that schools will come out in numbers to support their athletes.

"Some of our high schools, like Maritzburg College, Thomas More College, Northwood, St Marys, and Howick, and primary schools like Highbury and Hillcrest are really supportive of the sport, but we are hoping that this event might get a few more involved," said Cochran.

"The schools need to recognise the performance of their top athletes, formalise schools teams, and ideally award colours to athletes to do really well. I really hope some of the schools bite!"

The course will range from 2km to 4km and will use the same start and finish and feeder zones that will be used at the Masters and Elite champs later in the month, but will not include the serious technical challenges.

"This series is about introducing riders to the sport and making sure that it is exciting and fun, so we won’t be using the hectic rock gardens that you can see on the course!" said Cochran.

"The format will be a lot of fun and very spectator friendly," he added.

"Our future Burry Standers are there, and we have plenty of talent in the ranks of KZN school boys and girls," he said.

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Sprog talent Beanie Thies will be a force to be reckoned with at the Spur KZN schools series race presented by Mongoose at the Cascades MTB park in Pietermaritzburg, in the build-up to the UCI MTB and Trials World Championships.

Photo: Gavin Ryan/Gameplan Media

Local stars include Alan Hatherly and Carlo Marzoppi, both of whom have been named in the national Cycling SA squad and are regulars at the Spur series races, as well as the rising star Beanie Thies.

"For these youngsters it is going to be an unbelievable month," Cochran added. "They get a chance to ride on the same venue as the worlds, then they get to see the best local riders against some of the best in the world in the Masters, and then they get to see their legends like Sauser and Kulhavy in the flesh!"

Any juniors riders interested in taking part in the Spur series presented by Mongoose, and getting involved in the unique leg of the series at the Cascades MTB Park can contact Ewan Cochran at ewan@multisportschool.co.za or visit www.mongooseschools.co.za. Participating schools will also be able to set up stands and displays at the venue.

The UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships takes place at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg from 26 August to 1 September 2013, and will be preceded by the UCI MTB Masters World Championships from21 to 25 August. More information can be found at www.mtbworldchamps.co.za