The delivery of Mini-DH has been reviewed in 2019 and 2020 by a project group, chaired by the Head of Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland (DMBinS), Graeme McLean. The release of this review has been postponed due to the uncertainty regarding organising and running events under COVID-19 related restrictions.
This collaborative review brought together event organisers, commissaires, coaches and Scottish Cycling staff to investigate the Mini-DH pathway, events provision and the support provided by Scottish Cycling. Mini-DH events in Scotland have been found to be a vital part of the pathway for young mountain bike riders wanting to dip their toe into the fast-paced, technical and thrilling sport of downhill.
From its club-led beginnings to the Scottish Mini-DH Series, piloted in 2012 by Scottish Cycling, the events offered for youth and junior downhillers in Scotland have grown in size and scale. Now with two volunteer organisations, Highland Hardline and Borders MTB, who both offer a full series of short-course racing for youngsters, there is a great opportunity to positively impact the pathway and provision.
The review investigated key themes, with associated actions ready to be put in place. The hope is that this review will create stronger links between the downhill community and Scottish Cycling, and impact the support offered, particularly at the start of the pathway. With the DH World Championships returning to Scotland in 2023, as part of the inaugural combined World Championships, the passion and opportunities for growth and increased support for the sport are clear.
Of the review, Graeme McLean, Head of DMBinS, said:
“I’m delighted we are able to publish and share this review with the mountain bike community. Mini-DH events are vital stepping-stones for our young racers, and we have seen Scotland’s strength and depth in downhill at the recent World Championships in Leogang. Performances like those will inspire the next generation of aspiring downhill racers, and having suitable events, coaching and pathways to support their development will make an impact on their future success. Volunteers are at the heart of everything we do, and this collaborative review reflects the feedback from the community.”
Allan Kenyon, Event Organiser of the Highland Hardline Series, added:
“As an event organiser, and a parent of a young downhill racer, it’s been fantastic to see such a growth in the number of children wanting to take part in downhill events. We have seen some big changes, with a move from Mini-DH to Short Course DH at our events, to better represent what we provide, and we welcome this review from Scottish Cycling, which will help to further grow and define the offering for youths and juniors. We look forward to seeing the positive impact of these actions at all stages of the pathway – and playing our part in making them happen.”