British downhill mountain-bike star Marc Beaumont eyes up World Championships in South Africa (From Ludlow Advertiser)
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British downhill mountain-bike star Marc Beaumont eyes up World Championships in South Africa
THREE-time British champion Marc Beaumont is proof that people should follow their dreams.
The 28-year-old from Craven Arms is a full-time downhill mountain-bike rider, who has raced in nearly every continent.
The Shropshire star is travelling to Alicante in Spain today (Friday) for a week’s training in Murcia.
And the full-time professional is planning to compete in seven rounds of this year’s World Cup and at the World Championships in South Africa in September.
The sportsman well remembers a conversation he had with a teacher at college.
“I was almost a full-time racer back then and I had missed a large part of the previous summer term,” recalled Marc.
“I was standing in the queue to enrol for another year when a teacher said: “Do me a favour, stop wasting your time but, more importantly, stop wasting my time’.
“He would not let me enrol and I had no choice but to follow my dreams.
“I was fanatical about racing - I knew people could make a living out of it.
“I read the magazines every month and my bedroom was covered in posters of all my heroes.”
Marc describes his sport as ‘like downhill skiing but without the snow’. Bikers reach speeds of up to 50mph as they race as an individual against the clock.
Marc has won the British Championship three times, triumphed in two World Cup rounds and finished fifth overall in the World Cup series.
He was fifth in the International Cycling Union (UCI) world rankings in 2010 but was a ‘disappointing’ 13th in 2012.
“Last year wasn’t too great,” admitted Marc, who is sponsored by GT Factory Racing.
“I was 13th in the world. I only finished four out of seven races, so that was very disappointing.”
Marc started racing when he was 13 years old. He first represented Great Britain in 2001 in Colorado.
He was a semi-pro rider in 2003-04 and turned professional in 2005.
“Pearce Cycles have had a big hand in my career,” said Marc, who works out at Teme Leisure and is trained by instructor Nick Morris.
“They have run many local events and it was easy to get into riding when I was younger.
“I have had a good friendship with them and I have done a few training days and coached some of the up-and-coming local riders.
“That was nice because there was no mentoring when I was younger and it’s nice to put something back into the sport.”
Marc says he’s avoided serious injuries in his career. However, he has broken a foot which needed two screws insert and 12 weeks in plaster.
The sportsman says he’s excited about the year ahead.
“There are seven World Cup rounds and, of course, the World Championships,” said Marc.
“The World Championships are like the Grand National of biking. It’s all about one day and one race and the winner gets a coveted jersey.”
He says the World Cup series’ opening race at Fort William, Scotland, in June, is another priority.
He added: “It’s always exciting getting back into training. I am taking my road bike to Murcia to work off the Christmas turkey.”