FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Anything new can be a daunting prospect but with MSG there is no need.  We will try and help you to ensure you enjoy your experience so if anything isn’t listed below then just get in touch and we will answer any questions you might have.

DO I NEED A RACING LICENCE?

No, you only need to hold a BC licence if you wish to enter ranking events and collect points for your race result. If you do have a licence, you will need to present it at race registration to qualify for points.

We would generally recommend riders to give consideration to BC membership due to the range of benefits gained by doing so.

To find out more about becoming a British Cycling member click here.

DO I HAVE TO ENTER EVERY RACE?

No, you can enter as many or as few rounds of the series as you wish. However, your series place will be calculated from your cumulative results so the more is definitely the merrier.

DO I HAVE TO ENTER ONLINE?

YES, there is no other way to enter currently due to COVID restrictions

IF I HAVE PRE ENTERED DO I STILL HAVE TO REGISTER ON THE DAY?

Yes, Entry and registration (or signing on as it’s sometimes called), are completely different things. Entry is the process of paying to be in the race. Registration is something we need done for the purposes of safety and to be able to control the race. Simply put we need to know who is in each race, so that we can account for everyone. Not everyone who enters will attend. SO Think in terms of someone lying injured somewhere with no one realising.

WHAT HAPPENS IF WE CANCEL AN EVENT?

There are very few reasons why we will cancel an event. it will normally be to do with safety if we do. So possible reasons might be:-

1) Road conditions pose a danger to competitors and or other road users. i.e. flooding or heavy snow

2) Site access is hazardous. i.e. flooding or saturated ground likely to cause vehicles to become stuck

3) High Winds, if there is a risk of trees falling or SIMILAR, we will delay starts, stop a race early or cancel

4) Lightning: In circumstances where lightening poses a risk to riders we will delay starts, stop a race early or cancel.

5) …. And now we have COVID 19!…

That apart we are very unlikely to cancel an event for any reason whatsoever. In this the decision will lie with the organisers and the Commissaires.

It is of course the riders decision as to whether they wish to participate or not at any time. It should be noted that the sport is MOUNTAIN biking and therefore there is a reasonable expectation that riders may encounter foul weather and poor conditions during the course of their participation in the sport.

1) The organisers will take every reasonable step to make an early decision so as to avoid unnecessary travel for riders.

2) Every effort will be made to communicate the decision to cancel via our Facebook page. where possible a circular email will also be sent. It should be noted that venues are often in places without mobile phone signal or internet connectivity. The organisers cannot be held liable for any failure to communicate in these circumstances

3) It is a condition of entry that a proportion of your entry fee will be used prior to the event to facilitate the event occurring. This is deemed to be an administration charge and is not refundable. It is currently the first £7:50 of all entry fees except Under 12’s where the figure is the first £3:00.

4) In any event the liability of MSG Sport Ltd., will be limited to the price paid for entry to the cancelled event and no claims for consequential loss will be entertained.

HOW LONG IS A LAP?

We use the Olympic cross-country race formula, which specifies a lap to be between 4 and 6 kilometres in length. In broad terms that represents approx 12 – 15 minutes per lap.

WHAT CATEGORY AM I?

We have 4 categories for male and 3 for females over 12 years. These are based on relative ability. We have analysed the last 9 MSG events and published the analysis here to give you an idea of what might best suit you. The general idea is to provide close, competitive and fun racing, where you are up against people of similar pace.

If you are new to racing, we would recommend Category 4 for males and Category 3 for female s which for both male and female races will last 1 hour (approx. 2 or 3 laps).

Juvenile riders (13 to 14) should enter category 4 only. This is due to safeguarding where it is deemed that they should not race over longer times than 1 hour.

Youth riders (15 to 16) should enter category 3 or 4 only. This is due to safeguarding where it is deemed that they should not race over longer times than 1 hour 15 minutes.

HOW CAN I RACE FOR FREE?

Race day is in two halves. If you want to race for free, simply marshal the half you are not racing in and we will organise a free entry for you. Alternatively, you can pressgang someone else to marshal for you and we will still issue a free entry. One per session (morning or afternoon). Email g at graham@mudsweatgears.co.uk if you are interested.

DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR A FIRST TIME RACER?

Make sure your bike is in tip-top condition when you arrive on race day, don’t forget your helmet (helmets must be worn at all times both during practice and the race). Bring water, tools, a pump and spares. Arrive at the race venue with plenty of time so you’re not in a rush to get through race registration, which can get busy. Once you’ve signed on you should fix your race number to the front of your bike using the cable ties provided. Ideally do one lap of the course at an easy pace before your race – this will get you warmed up and also give you prior warning of any difficult sections.

Get to the gridding area 15 minutes before the scheduled start of your race and follow the commissaires instructions.

DO YOU OFFER REFUNDS IF I HAVE ENTERED ONLINE

Yes: we offer partial refunds, (see format and entry fees), of online race entries up to 11:55pm of the Tuesday when online entry closes before the event.  Once pre-entry has closed there is no more that we can do as funds are committed to pay for the event.

CAN I PRACTICE ON THE COURSE BEFORE THE EVENT?

The answer is no, not before race day. Most venues we use are private property and often only accessible when we have booked them.

However, each race has practice time allocated to it on race day. Course open for practice is indicated by a large green flag in the arena. For the morning it is from about 8:00 am up to 25 minutes prior to race start at 10:00am, for the afternoon it is from the completion of the under 12’s race until 25 minutes before race start at 14:00pm. The time allocated is easily sufficient to complete one leisurely lap of the course, so there are no hidden surprises once racing commences.

CAN UNDER 12’S DO A PRACTIC LAP

STRICTLY SPEAKING No: Rules for under 12’s are quite strict in that they should not be on course at the same time as adults and they should not be out of sight of a responsible adult at any time. Also their course will be a shortened version of the adult course and is only marked out during their race.

For THIS reason we offer a sighting lap prior to their race, this is supervised by our staff and is designed to give them a view of the course before racing.

CAN I BE ON THE COURSE AT ANYTOTHER TIME THAN PRACTICE AND MY RACE?

No rider should be on the course outside of these times. Most especially during the Under 12’s race, Course closed is indicated by a large red flag flown in the arena. We will announce when it is open for practice which is indicated by a green flag in the arena.

We are unable to guarantee support, assistance or insurance to anyone not complying with this. For that reason please note that in 2020 the outcome for being on the course outside of the allocated practice times will be disqualification for the rest of the series.

Please note the Race Director, Marshals, Commissaires and Announcers are in constant radio communication, and know precisely when the course open for practice announcements are made. So please no “so and so said we could” excuses when you are caught.

IN AN EMERGENCY

In the unlikely event of an emergency requiring riders to either use caution or be stopped, marshals will display one of two flags, either yellow (caution) or red (stop).

MARSHALS YELLOW FLAG

This will be shown to riders to indicate that there is an unexpected hazard.  The rider may proceed, but should use additional caution and slow down in doing so. Riders should avoid overtaking until the hazard has been passed. Riders who do overtake under a yellow flag caution are likely to be penalised either by a time penalty or loss of places in the final standings.

Some examples of situations where a yellow flag may be displayed: –

A fallen rider is on the course and causing some obstruction.

Course conditions have changed during the race and are therefore an unexpected problem.

Course markings have been damaged.

Race officials are on the course.

An animal has entered the course unexpectedly.

A member of the public has entered the course.

MARSHALS RED FLAG

This will be shown to riders in the event that it is necessary to stop the race for any reason. On sight of a red flag, all riders must stop where they are and not move until advised that it is safe to do so. No rider should overtake another in this situation. Minimum sanction would be disqualification of any rider seen to do so.

There are a range of reasons why this may happen. Some examples follow: –

The Commissaires have judged it dangerous for the race to continue, e.g. high winds, lightning, course conditions deteriorating badly, etc etc

The race medical cover has ceased to be available, for example to transport a seriously injured competitor to hospital.

A serious incident on the course. e.g. A medical emergency that requires the course to be closed for safety reasons.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A RACE IS STOPPED?

If a race has been stopped with riders distributed around the course (i.e. all marshals are instructed to display the Red flag), it is unlikely that it will restart. Generally speaking, the result will be declared as at the last point the lead rider crossed the finish line. In this the Chief Commissaires decision is final and binding.

Where possible the race will be stopped with all riders at a single point on the course. If it is feasible, safe and desirable for the race to be restarted it will be. However, in this the Chief Commissaires decision is final and binding.

Once a race has started it is deemed to have taken place regardless of if or when it might be stopped, and regardless of whether a final result is possible.

WHAT IS GRIDDING ABOUT?

The first and most important thing about gridding is that it is done for safety, not so that individuals accrue an advantage albeit it might be an unintended consequence that they do.

One of the most dangerous aspects of any race is a poorly managed start. Firstly, it is important that the start is designed to keep riders within a consistent course width, with gradual narrowing prior to arriving at any feature. Secondly it is important to try to avoid fast riders racing through slower in a constrained space.

Therefore, with safety in mind what we seek to do is identify the fastest riders as best we can and stick them to the front. There are numerous ways of doing this, and we do try to accommodate as best we can. Early season for expediency we may just take the series standings. As the season goes on we will try to use an average placing system. The reason for this is as the number of races goes on we can have people who have only raced once, won by a country mile but because there have been several races drop to the back of the grid…. This is precisely the danger we are concerned about!!

We also allow riders who have never ridden with us to apply for a grid position. All they need to do is email G (graham@mudsweatgears.co.uk) by the Tuesday prior to the event with information about previous results and we will take a view of that and if appropriate place them into the gridded riders.

WHY DO OFFICIAL RESULTS TAKE TIME TO COME OUT?

In current circumstances results will not be provide on race day. This is to prevent people congregating together.

Calculating race results is complicated to say the least. Most times there are queries, Commissaires penalties, and technical issues to be ironed out. For that reason, we allow 5 days for appeals before starting on the final calculations. It takes several hours work to compile the final outcomes, so with this in mind allow 7 days before expecting the final version.

The interim timekeeper’s version is usually released online on the day of the event here http://www.timelaps.co.uk/results.aspx