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.

No, you only need to hold a BC licence if you wish to 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 become a British Cycling member click here.

No, you can enter as many or as few rounds of the series as you wish. However if you want to achieve a series ranking your six best results will be used to calculate your final series standing. We allocate series points to the first 100 finishers in your category.

It is wise to do so, as it’s cheaper, quicker and easier. It also guarantees your place. We do accept entries on the day, if there are places available, but there are no guarantees that there will be.

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 race. Think in terms of someone lying injured somewhere with no one realising.

There are very few reasons why we will cancel an event. Usually it will be to do with safety. 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.

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 will encounter extremely foul weather and poor conditions during the course of their participation in the sport.

What happens when we cancel:

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, and 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) We will seek to rearrange the event at a future date and all original entries will be honoured.

4) In the event you are unable to attend the rearranged event you will be offered a one race credit which is redeemable at any MSG Series race during the next 12 months.

5) Riders who have taken up a series entry and who are unable to attend the rearranged event will receive a credit calculated at series entry price divided by total number of events in the series. This is redeemable against the following years series.

6) 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.

In general a lap will be around 3.5 to 4 miles long. The expectation is that a regular racer will complete each lap in about 15 minutes.

Most categories have an age restriction on them. These are listed below. Your age for the series is defined as your age on 31st December 2019.

For example Jack is 14 years old at the beginning of the 2017 season. He turns 15 on the 1st October 2017; therefore he is classed in the Youth category.

Under 9’s – Born 2009 and after.
Under 12’s – Born between 2006 and 2008.
Juvenile – 13 to 14
Youth – 15 to 16
Junior – 17 to 18
Sport – 19+
Veteran – 40 to 49
Grand Veteran – 50+ – Male only
Open – 19+
Expert – 19+ British Cycling licence
Elite – 19+ British Cycling licence
For more info, see British Cycling

If you are new to racing, we would recommend the Open category which for both male and female races lasts approximately 1 hour (2 or 3 laps). For all other categories race durations please read the British Cycling Mountain Biking Rulebook.

For us to provide entry on the day we have to employ reliable staff to man registration as there is cash handling involved, there is a cost involved with this along with banking the takings post event. There is also quite extensive manpower required to process all of the information provided on the entry form both on the day (data input for Timelaps) and post event with data collection and auditing. Our plan for the future is to move towards pre-entries only. The answer is simple plan ahead, pre-enter and save money!

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), 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 warning of any difficult sections.

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

We offer full refunds of online race entries up to a fortnight before the event (e.g. should the event be on the 9th April then refunds will only be offered up to midnight on the 26th March 2017). After this point we cannot offer a refund, however we will happily move your race entry to another round at no extra cost up to the pre-entry closing time (no entries can be transferred to the 2019 season). Once pre-entry has closed there is no more that we can do as funds are committed to pay for the event.

Race day is a very full and very busy day. With the exception of the Under 12’s where we have a sighting lap each race has practice time allocated to it. For the morning it is up to 15 minutes prior to race start at 10:00am, for the afternoon it is from the completion of the Under 12’s race until 15 minutes before race start at 14:00pm. The time allocated is sufficient to complete one leisurely lap of the course, so there are no hidden surprises once racing commences.

No rider should be on the course outside of these times. Most especially during the Under 12’s race. We are unable to guarantee support, assistance or insurance to anyone not complying with this. For that reason please note that in 2017 the minimum outcome for being on the course outside of the allocated practice times will be disqualification.

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 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).

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: –

  1. A fallen rider is on the course and causing some obstruction.
  2. Course conditions have changed during the race and are therefore an unexpected problem.
  3. Course markings have been damaged.
  4. Race officials are on the course.
  5. An animal has entered the course unexpectedly.
  6. A member of the public has entered the course.

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: –

  1. The Commissaires have judged it dangerous for the race to continue, e.g. high winds, lightning, course conditions deteriorating badly, etc etc
  2. The race medical cover has ceased to be available, for example to escort a seriously injured competitor to hospital.
  3. 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 has been 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.

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 Matt (matt@mudsweatgears.co.uk) by the Friday 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.

Calculating race results with multiple categories on course at any time 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 timekeepers version is usually released online on the day of the event here www.timelaps.co.uk