Interview: Si Paton - British Downhill Series Director

Feb 17, 2015
by Brice Shirbach  
Si Paton. Photo Phunkt.



INTERVIEW: SI PATON - BRITISH DOWNHILL SERIES DIRECTOR



Recently, I wrote a story about the revival efforts from USA Cycling regarding the Pro GRT series in America. To say it elicited a strong reaction would be a rather prodigious understatement. While many people have long questioned the intent and effectiveness of our current governing body's ability to effectively push mountain biking forward with some real momentum, the profusion of alternatives being suggested was also a bit of a mess. However, it's clear that this is a subject that scores of folks hold near and dear to their hearts, as evidenced through the impassioned response to the statements of the various people interviewed.

A few days after the release, while the storm clouds were still brewing (much of it was admittedly well off topic by that point), I received a note from someone with a strong sense of how things should be run. "Brice, great words! Maybe if you get a chance and think it is worthy, drop an interview on why the BDS is so successful here in the UK?" The note was from British Downhill Series Event Director Si Paton and I knew where he was going with this well before our first discussion: If the United States and USAC want to do things right, why not replicate the model of a series with a proven track record of success? Over the course of the weeks to follow, we would discuss that very question and plenty more.


Brendan s pretty pleased with his development version Gambler
Si pays a visit to the pits to see what mischief Fairclough and crew have got up to. Photo by geebeebee media
Tyre development in progress...
Si doesn't mince his words. Photo by geebeebee media.


How did you get your start with the BDS? Can you describe some of the efforts you had to put in from the beginning?

In 2006 we were at Cwmcarn in Wales at a NPS (the old name for the nationals) and with all due respect to the organizer, it was his last year doing the event and I think he just took everyone’s money and just laid out the minimum amount of effort. I remember standing with Rob Warner for an hour in the pouring rain while we were waiting for the uplift. He said, “Si, you could do a better job than this.” I actually reckoned that I could. I asked him if he’d back me and he said he would. In fact, after a bit of baiting by Rob, everyone who was in line for the uplift gave the idea a big cheer and as they say, the rest is history.

I went and applied and I think that British Cycling were happy that someone was willing to take on the job. It was really hard that first year, phoning up companies and having them tell me that I owe them from last year for services provided like skips, crowd barriers, toilets etc.. I was like, “No, that wasn’t me,” but everywhere we went, people were waiting for money from the national series organizer.

The number of riders was well down too, especially in the elite category. We’ve moved that up quite a bit now. We went from 30 elites in 2006 to over 90 last year in terms of the elite riders. In Fort William this year, over 25% of the field will be elite riders. A lot of that has to do with the fact that you can ride and race in the UK and live practically anywhere in the country. You can be at a track, wherever it is in the UK, by Friday night. I live in the center of England in Birmingham, and I can be at Fort William in 8 hours. I’d take the afternoon off and head out by 1:00 and be there between 9 and 10 at night. If you’re committed, you can do it. People will ask me why there aren’t any BDS races in England and it’s because there are no hills in England. It’s the BDS; it’s the premiership. You’ve got to go and race on the best venues and the best tracks.

Early on, the BDS had no credibility. If Peaty, Warner, Longden turned up you were lucky. When we picked up the series, one of the things that I think was key for us was making sure that everyone had a British Cycling membership in order to race the BDS. You’ve got to be affiliated with British Cycling. You race and if you score well, you go onto the British Cycling website for ranking. You develop your own credibility.

We eventually started selling out our races in two days. Fantastic and great for the ego. But then, all of a sudden the phone rings. One of our sponsors is telling me that we’re sold out and that we didn’t save them any spaces. I would ask them if they told me that their team was entering. “Nope.” Did they ask me to save them a space? “Nope. Can we still enter?” Nope. You just start to see these problems. So, we then began to require 100 points to qualify for nationals. That meant, if you win a regional race, you get 40 points. If you’re 40th, you get one point. If you hovering around that top 5 spot, you’ve got to race at least 5 races to get in, which showed that we were really driving our regional races. That was the key. You’re making these regional organizers put on these good events. That was very much instrumental to creating a desirable product. We rebranded it to the British Downhill Series as well, to sort of get away from the tarnished reputation of the old name.

You know the old saying, “If you build a shelf, you’re going to want to put something on it”? Well, that’s sort of what we wanted to do with our age categories. At the end of the day, it’s not a mainstream sport with 100,000 people racing downhill. On the British Cycling calendar, there are maybe 1,000 riders with points. Those are the riders that we’re trying to attract, so let’s make sure there is a pigeonhole for them. Let’s make sure they can come and race something that they want to be a part of. I love hearing people say that they raced the BDS and they’re proud of it. Hell, sometimes you see in the local woods these guys with their number plates still on. They want other people to know that they race the BDS.

Start ramp
Fort William BDS Practice. Photo by geebeebee media.
Si Paton of the British Downhill Series interview images
Marc Beaumont in Fort William. Photo by geebeebee media.


Do you think it's possible to have too many "shelves" installed? In America, the "If you tried your best, you won," mantra is painfully evident in USAC's CAT system.

Yeah, I saw that when I did a BMX winter national in Arizona back in 1997 with Nigel Page. I got 3rd in the novice category on my 20-inch and was stoked to have this big trophy come from it. Then I saw this massive truck with about a thousand trophies in the back of it and I was like, "Wow. Basically everyone gets a trophy." To me, that sounds great, but you're devaluing it. You know what I mean? It becomes diluted at that point. I've raced the Mega Avalanche a few times and remember asking somebody how they did. "Yeah, I finished 24th." Wow, that's pretty good fella. Then I'm like, "Which race were you in?" "I was in the fourth race..." Suddenly you realize that they weren't in the A-Final, or the B-Final, or the C-Final. You were in the D-Final. You finished 24th? I see it on Facebook and I laugh. You didn't finish 24th, you were like 824th out of a 1,000 riders.

I can understand that if USAC changed it, people would be pissed because they're used to getting trophies and telling everyone how awesome they did. But to me, that's where a regional series comes into play. It's a model that works for British Cycling. If you're finishing in the top 50% of your regional race, that's an indication that you should be racing nationally in the BDS.

Shimano British Downhill Series
Shiny new tape and lots of it. Photo by geebeebee media.

One of the big concerns for riders in the States is the idea that USA Cycling has to answer to the national Olympic committee and because downhill isn't an Olympic discipline, there is ultimately a lack of any real financial backing coming from our governing bodies. Where does the BDS get its support from?

It's exactly the same. British Cycling, the national governing body for cycling in the UK, is classified as a charity organization. The majority of their funding comes from Sport England. Olympic disciplines get the majority of the cash. To me, we could sit here and tell everyone what a bum deal it is and that the roadies get all of the money. If you look at the actual licensed members, you can see that downhillers just aren't joining the club. The cross-country guys are all in their local cycling clubs. I've never joined a club in my 25 years of mountain biking. Why would I want to join a club, to go out and ride with a bunch of 50 year old blokes? I'd rather just phone you up and go, "Brice, meet us in 15 minutes on the trail." But that's mountain biking, isn't it? DH is rock and roll. If you stand around moaning about this stuff all day long, what's that going to do? Nothing. So get off your arse and do something about it. Yes, British Cycling does give us some funding and that goes to towards lifting the presentation of the series. It puts us on the UCI calendar and helps us pay for the commissaires.

But this is when cost conversations start to happen between myself and racers. It's 75 pounds to race this year. People start to tell me that's too expensive. You go and do an uplift for a weekend and it'll cost you anywhere from 30 to 35 pounds per day to ride up the mountain in a shuttle. So you come to a BDS race, and I give you 15,000 pounds more infrastructure. You get commissaires, number boards, marshals, sounds systems, finish arenas, course tape, medics, prizes, crowd barriers, toilets, music, mechanics, etc. I say to people, "Your entry fee should be 120 pounds." People will tell me that I'm taking home loads of money. I ask them what they do for a living. Electrician? Plumber? Those guys make 30,000 pounds per year, or roughly $50,000. I'll then ask them if they're the world's best plumber or electrician. "I'm pretty good." Well, are you the best? "No." Well, I run the best national series in the world and it's my full time job. You get paid more than me and I'm the best in the world at doing what I do. Sometimes they'll be like, "You make money out of this?" Well, what do you want from me? To do this for free? How do I pay my mortgage? How do I feed my kids?

You need to run it as a business. You need to be straight and fair with people. You need to look at everything you've got in terms of your infrastructure. If I could have a sponsor for my toilet rolls, I would. Just the toilet rolls alone are 50 pounds per event. Everything from number boards, to trophies, easy ups for the start line or even the hot seat. I try and get people to pay for it. You've got to dress the event. I saw some pictures and video from the Southern Hemisphere last year on Pinkbike. There were a couple of crowd barriers near the finish line and that was it; no real effort or presentation. I'll talk with some of the French athletes when they come here to race and they're like, "Can you come to France and run our national series?" They can see the effort we've put into this. The one big rule when it comes to your customer is this: You've got to make them feel important. At the end of the day, there's only one winner in that category. Even the guy in second place isn't very happy. They know that they were maybe one more pedal stroke from first. There's only one happy customer in each category. Even if someone finishes last, you've got to put them on the microphone, give them a can of Monster and make them feel important. That's what the BDS does, it gives you a chance to feel important.

I treat customer service very highly. I'm accessible via email, on the phone and Facebook. I know other organizers who, when you call them, they'll email you and tell you they're at work and ask you to phone them after 6. You phone me up and ask for a refund, 9 times out of 10 you'll get it in 24 hours. You get good customer service. You get the information you need. I really go out of my way for it.

all photo belong to grip media
Scott Mears at Bike Park Wales. Photo by Grip Media.


Do you think it's possible to bring mountain biking into the mainstream without compromising the things riders value most in our sport? Should we follow in the footsteps created by other niche communities like skiing, snowboarding and surfing to bring more dollars into mountain biking?

I think that needs to happen. There will be people out there who will tell you that this doesn't need to happen. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely hate going to the local trail centers. We turned up to the trail center at a race last year, with a good downhill track. We were about to start taping off the course when a load of guys on these beautiful and expensive bikes were dropped off at the top. We told them that what we were about to do, so that they should go first ahead of us. The first guy went off of a drop that was maybe a foot high, and promptly did the biggest nose wheelie I'd ever seen and smashed his face on the ground. I was like, "Wow, is that what it's like here?" My buddy was like, "Yeah but don't laugh, because they pay for this place." That's just it; these are the guys you have to encourage because they're the guys spending the money and keeping the uplifts going and the cafes open. One day they may be good and can hit a jump, but until we'll just have to carry on.

Mountain biking will have to be even more mainstream with blue chip sponsors. That's the way that it should be. The Tour de France started in Yorkshire, England last year. The tourism bureau of Yorkshire paid the Tour 17 million pounds, or roughly 28 million dollars. I'm lucky to get a free pint in the pub.

Sam and his new chief mechanic Bam.
Sam Hill makes the trek from the land downunda. Photo by geebeebee media


How important is it to your success to cultivate a favorable relationship with your governing body?

There's an interesting story there. In the UK, enduro was supported by British Cycling for 4 years, which meant that they sent commissaires and insured their events. There was another organizer, like myself, running the show there. I remember there being some discussion about points and being a part of a ranking system within that series. They were talking about the possibility of regional and national champions as well. That's no longer supported by British Cycling. BC basically told those guys that they're not going to continue to support them when they're not taping the courses from top to bottom, they're not enforcing two practice runs pre-race; the enduro series really was a massive risk for them. If there were any issues or injuries, their insurance company would have looked at it as a DH course, BC would have tried to explain the enduro concept, they would have gone back and forth and it would have been a gong show in court.The guys in enduro now have to insure themselves and the riders have to have their own liability insurance. I can only imagine it’s a massive headache for all involved, then add to the fact you don’t have the backing of the national federation, some credibility is lost. The moral of this story is that you have to bend over backwards to work with national federations if you want to play ball in their back garden.

Everyone beats up the UCI, USAC and British Cycling. But the reality is, that their hands are tied in a legal sense with insurance companies. Don't blame the federation, blame the riders who put the federation in that position. When things go wrong on course, they're the ones taking the brunt of the ensuing litigation, not the organizer. Yes, if you're a negligent organizer, they're going to tell you off and sack you. But once that commissaire signs off on the course, it's all set and let's go racing that weekend. As an organizer, I will not lose my house, I will not go to court and I will not lose my liberty. If they say jump, I ask how high. I still need to ensure that certain safety protocols are met, but I'm happy to oblige. We can all stand here and knock them, but the federation gives you standing with the rest of the world. Well, people will say that British Cycling is all about the road scene. Well, who cares? Sure, I'd love for them to hand me a million pounds; we'd all be sitting in jacuzzis and getting lap dances at the end of each race run. But the likes of Sam Hill, Troy Brosnan, etc. still turn up to race with us in the middle of a muddy field, regardless of the attention the roadies are getting. We've created a desirable series that their sponsors want them to race. I say we just get on with it and make it better.

Blue Steel
Brendan Fairclough is one of many examples of British occupation of the World Cup top 25. Photo by geebeebee media


You read the previous story about the Pro GRT and I'm sure you have some opinions on the matter.

Well, I know I have a system in place that works well. One of the things I will say about trying to race a national series in the States is that if you're planning on trying to race the whole thing, you're screwed unless your mum and dad are rich. I drive anywhere in the UK within 8 hours. I can leave at lunch time and be at any of the venues by that evening. I don't have to fly anywhere. Maybe 2 or 3 of us split the fuel costs in a van and it's no problem. That's the main problem I see when trying to run a national series in America. The size of the country makes it super tough. You guys have a World Cup stop in Windham this year. Is it also on the Pro GRT calendar? No? Well, I think it's a sensible question to ask why the hell not? If I was running the Pro GRT, I would phone Windham up and ask if I could be there a month before the World Cup race. You're not going to necessarily going to get all of the pro riders there, but you'll certainly get some of them. Troy Brosnan flew some 20 hours from Australia to Britain to race Fort William stop of the BDS. He finished 5th there and a month later won his first ever World Cup race at the same mountain. If I was a World Cup racer and I knew that I could race 90% of that track a month before the big race, I'd go there and not have to worry about busting out 7 or 8 practice runs on the Saturday before the World Cup stop. I could take it easy and be up to speed within two runs. To me, I just have to wonder why the Pro GRT doesn't have Windham on the calendar. I've looked at the UCI calendar and made my decisions accordingly for the past 4 years. It's just so obvious and sensible.

If I was managing the Pro GRT, I would look at last year's World Cup results and I'd email all of the top teams and their managers and tell them about the event before the World Cup race. I've been doing that for my Fort William race for a few years. Yeah, it's probably 2 full days of work just doing that alone, but it's worth it. They call and they want to come and be a part of it. You're not going to necessarily make every Pro GRT event a world class race, but you certainly have the opportunity to do so with a place like Windham. Someone just has to be putting that kind of effort into this. People in America should all be stoked about this series. Here in England, we're stuck in a pub on a Friday night watching football. It's hard to get people off of their back sides. In America, it's sunny and warm...isn't it? (laughs) It's hot, sunny and dusty all of the time, right? But it should be so attractive to everyone. How can it not be successful and for so many years? America invented mountain biking. You've got all of those massive companies; Jeep, Chevrolet, Subway and all of these companies that were involved in it back in the day. Where did they all go?

Shimano BDS Round 2 in Fort William 2014 images
Tahnee Seagrave with some pointers for Fionn Griffiths. Photo by Geebeebee Media
Shimano British Downhill Series Round 4 Llangollen
Peaty has been at it for quite some time and doesn't appear to want to stop anytime soon. Photo by The Hills Are Alive.


Is it a tough line to walk when you have to provide some degree of empathy and customer service but also remind people that they're riding bikes and that a little perspective goes a long way?

That is the most difficult part of the job, trying to please everyone. With 330 riders, team managers, press, spectators etc.. you will always have your winners and your losers. One great thing when you have the backing of British Cycling and the UCI with their respective officials onsite, is that when there is a rule infringement, they deal with the matter. For example, you will occasionally have riders catching another rider demanding a re-run because they were held up during their race run. I just pass them directly over to the commissaires to deal with the matter. I do not have to get involved with such incidents. Regarding all of the other aspects, on a whole 99% of people are happy even if it is that 1% that are the most vocal. I like to remind myself of this little line, 'Forever I did good and for that I heard never; for once I did bad and for that I heard ever'. Working full time on the series allows me to answer and deal with most enquiries within 24 hours, that I think is vital and everyone knows that if you phone me, I'll answer it. The customer has to come first, just not always on the results sheet.

Si Paton of the British Downhill Series interview images
The sun will occasionally make an appearance for Si and the BDS. Photo by Grip Media.


Why choose to be a race promoter? I understand how it got started for you, but ultimately, why have you stuck with it? How does it speak to the inherent value you see in the sport for yourself and the rest of the world?

Last time I raced the series I scored third overall in the Masters category and picked up a bronze medal at the National Champs. Seeing and hearing the riders come down the hill with a huge smile on their faces into the finish arena of course pleases me but on the other hand, I am quite envious; almost jealous in fact. I never got to experience the updated national series as a rider. The reality is that my racing days are over and I was never going to be the best racer in the world. In my eyes I am putting something back into the sport that I am so dedicated to and love so much. At the end of the day the job needed doing and doing right, nobody stepped up to the plate. It’s also a job, a business and helps to pay the bills. People have to understand that I do make money from the series. This allows me to work on the series, if you checkout the BDS Facebook page you will see I am always off to trade shows, meeting sponsors, digging tracks and promoting the events. If the business was not profitable I would not be able to do any of that. Is it the best job in the world? After being a pro mountain biker, I’d say yes! Though it does take a special breed of person to be a race organizer and sometimes people can be very unkind to you. Of course you get a lot of flack and some of it is justified, you just need a Teflon coated jacket and a big set of shoulders. Luckily I have Dave Franciosy as my consultant and mentor along with a dedicated and passionate team that work with me to produce the BDS; Colin Olden, Tony Standish, Anne Brewin, Krien Dawson, Mark Ryan, Dion Clements, Alex Gann and Oli and Farah from GBB Media. I must also mention that without the 100% support of British Cycling there would be no BDS, the team there of Richard Clarkson (aka Bobby who was Steve Peat's mechanic), Lisa Graham and Jonathan Day must be thanked for the current state of play.

Si Paton of the British Downhill Series interview images
But there are a few reasons why the Brits are tougher than most and the weather is probably one of them. Photo by The Hills Are Alive.


The 2015 British Downhill Schedule:

Round 1
April 4/5th (Easter)
Ae Forest

Round 2
May 16/17
Nevis Range, Fort Bill UCI cat1

Round 3
May 30/31
Llangollen UCI cat2

Round 4
June 27/28
Rhyd Y Felin (Bala)

Round 5
July 11/12
Moelfre

Round 6
September 19/20
Antur Stiniog


Posted In:
Interviews



58 Comments

  • 38 1
 Great interview Si, Thats why the BDS is the greatest so much passion and pride put into the events! Looking forward to helping out you guys for 2015!
  • 7 0
 An honest and frank interview there @si-paton. We can't argue with that.
  • 2 0
 Great interview!
  • 8 0
 the guy speaks the truth and sticks to his guns. what else could ya ask for?


no wonder the series works!
  • 2 0
 Lake district's got hills. No tracks there?
  • 16 0
 Goodman245, let me know if you have the full package. We need a killer track, good uplift route and a large finish arena. Over to you and I'll take a drive over.
  • 3 0
 @goodman245 - see Si's reply above.
  • 2 1
 Si, you forgot one more requirement: flat pedals only/mandatory Wink . I kid I kid.
  • 12 1
 Gweggy, as you can see from the I troductoon I contacted Brice the author. Why? Because I wanted more insight for the readers and coverage for the BDS. The opportunities are out there, if you put the effort in. No disrespect to Racement but I guess they never contacted the author requesting an interview.
  • 4 0
 Hopefully maybe the Irish IDMS can take after you in some forms! Great insight! Smile
  • 11 1
 Yesterday I read that Santa Cruz Syndiate where not granted Trade Team Status by the UCI, because the riders Race gear is all different. They lose all their benefits at Events like reserved Pit space etc. At that moment I thought, "Yeah, another reason for DH to separate from the UCI and do it's own thing. But reading Si's view on the involvement and importance of the National Federation shows a completely different side and actually makes my thoughts from yesterday seem very childish :-( . Here in Germany we can do nothing without the Federations backing. I live near the Black Forest where riding on trails narrower than 2 meters is illegal - the German federation has never become actively involved in that discussion. Maybe if it did things here might change.
Great work Si ! The BDS is an inspiration and it's tragic to think that I follow a Series in the UK when I live in a downhillers paradise.
  • 10 0
 Quality interview Si, another example of why, in my opinion the UK leads the way with DH. The best and largest percentage of pro riders in the UCI are from GB, you have a hand in that by providing the best national series for riders to cut their teeth on. Keep it up mate.
  • 12 0
 @si-paton with regard to not having a capable dh track in England what if there was one ready by 2016 ?
  • 1 0
 Where is long and steep enough with great parking and access that isn't owned by some lord in England?
  • 2 0
 I've promised myself if I win the lottery to find somewhere to develop a beast of a track in England! Even if it's just a random plot of land.
  • 7 0
 awesome read, you guys do a great job and are leading the way across the world - we are implementing some of the same stuff here in aus in fact
  • 8 0
 Si, thank you. We are lucky dudes here in the UK. Good work.
  • 6 0
 Excited to have turned 21 a few weeks ago so i can now marshall and help out with the best national race series in the world! Cracking effort Si, pints all round!
  • 4 0
 I remember Si pitching up in his van at all the Scottish rounds, 10 hour drive each way to a muddy field in Aberdeenshire, just to help support the riders, sell a couple of pairs of goggles and a few tyres. The same attitude that took you to those races Si has taken you to where you are today. You surround yourself with a good team, uplift pretty much always starts on time, and often finishes late. We can nearly forgive you the uphill at Antur last year Smile
You even get to go out to Crankworks now due to your efforts, with the family of course.
Keep up the good work Mr Paton.
  • 5 1
 Why not interview the guys from Racement? They organise the EDC, SDC and GDC and all of these series are pretty successful!
They run a different system than the BDC and it still works!
  • 5 0
 As an assistant for a series here, this was really helpful. Good to see a guy speaking honestly with no sugar coating. Well done Si
  • 3 0
 I have know "Jester" on and off over the years and have to say he has done much for the world of UK cycling. He can of course talk your mother into dating a G-string wearing kangeroo but that's the power of his patter.

Glad to see your still in the game fella.
  • 3 0
 I've known Si for over 30yrs, he used to come in our bike shop, he's still the same, very driven and passionate, wicked sense of humour (nights out). Not afraid to challenge riders in course design, as he said to me once 'this is why we have some of the best riders in the world'. He's done wonders for DH since he took over, and turned the BDS into what it is today. Top bloke and a good (old) friend, cheers Si!
  • 2 0
 I agree, I think that downhill should be an Olympic sport as it is one of the few things that britain is good at and makes much better viewing than xc and road cycling and frankly it deserves to be a sport more than golf and lawn bowls (in the case of the commonwealth games) as it requires much more effort, balls and skill. I also think that if downhill becomes an olympic sport then other disceplins like 4x, enduro and freestyle could follow (admittedly this will take time).
  • 2 1
 Thanks Bruce so very much for this interview. I feel like Si's simple ethos for building the best National Series in the world could, be applied anywhere with the right person selling/managing the program. But..it take a very special person. Si's the Man!!!

Since the demise of NORBA National Series, National level gravity racing in the US has been a mess. In spite of strong regional series and stellar single location events. We lack a leader that can literally afford (get paid enough to live) to create and run a National system.

Si's point regarding for the complicating factor of the US's sheer size is certainly well made. I would love to see a EAST Series vs WEST Series that combines for a specific National Championship like the AMA Motocross series. We are close with the ESC but lack the WV, VA, NC mountains.
  • 1 0
 Ideally, you'd be seeing a regional series for every western state, & every state or 2 on the east coast. nothing keeps people from showing up to races (especially in the lower brackets, who pay the bills) than it being too far to drive, either based on time commitment or gas money.

That's probably 35+ series, which sounds insane, but it's doable: look at BMX, they're doing AT LEAST that well.
  • 1 0
 The size of the US is a major issue. It's not ideal, but couldn't Pro GRT do let's say 8 races and to qualify for the season rankings someone needs to do a minimum of 5 (or 6 and 4). You have equal numbers of EC races and WC (i.e. you have 4 EC races and 4 WC races). A rider would have do 1 outside of their coast, but many of us do a bike trip a year so that is more manageable.
  • 1 0
 Agreed, a system that wouldn't hurt your standings for missing a race or two would be a big help. You don't want people to buy medals though, so you'd have to do something to limit the ability of people with the cash to go to every race from stomping on all the guys who can't. Maybe your points get a multiplier that goes down after a certain number of races, so that there's diminishing returns after a certain number of races?

I'm always skeptical of making the scoring too complicated though, because there's always edge cases where someone gets screwed: I don't really follow football anymore, but I know there was some contention about who was going the NCAA championship game a few times, due to the convoluted BCS rules. you certainly don't want set yourself up for that nightmare.
  • 2 0
 @groghunter totally. The whole multiplier thing is too complex. I think you just count the a racer's 5 best finishes. As long as the regions have an even number of races and the minimum number of races required forces you to do at least 1 race outside your region. Keeps its simple. Obviously, guys got tag on an additional race is the bomb one, but unfortunately that's just is result of the US being so large.
  • 1 0
 I like the idea of keeping the best results(at least, in the absence a robust regional racing scene.)
  • 1 0
 Realistically, though, USAC needs to earn themselves some credit this year. between the problems with not allowing pros to race at non-sanctioned stuff, & just not really providing anything really worthwhile to race organizers, they've just about lost control over MTB racing in the US.
  • 2 0
 Yeah they do. Hopefully they are able to do that and get things to grow. A successful year one could be huge
  • 2 0
 you know what makes me feel like going crazy... These are great ideas... and we are just random dudes posting!!! It can be done. shit we could do it.

why can't USAC find the trust to work with a respected promotor ( or brand new guy!) sign a contract and get something done??????
  • 2 0
 I really hope the close consultation between USAC and Chris Herndon pays off in 2016 for gravity racing
  • 1 0
 First off great interview Si! Great insight into the governing bodies and all involved with putting on an event. I was part of the TLC for 6 years and while it was not part of the Pro GRT/National series it brought out a quite a few people and we're very proud of that. You've done what NORBA was able to do only with a sh*tload less money. Well done. :-)
  • 2 0
 BTW @tadgercat I agree with you. I don't know all of the ins and outs but a 4 race West coast series and a 4 race East coast series is a great idea culminating with a championship event either somewhere in the middle or swapping the finals from West to East coast every other year.
  • 1 0
 seriously. Tara. to have you respond to any of my inane comments is a sincere honor.

Mas respect to you. you are absolutely one of my heros.



ps: Yup! a 4 W & 4 E, with rotating Championship.... totally...
  • 3 0
 @tadgercat it's Brice (not Bruce)! But thank you for checking it out...Herndon is a great dude and we have talked at length about his role with USAC, and I'd say that the smartest thing they've done yet has been the implementation of his advisory services. But, our geography is a tough thing to overcome for anyone and I wouldn't be surprised to eventually see a regional breakdown similar to what @tarallanes mentioned. There just isn't much between the Rockies and the Appalachians, so maybe an alternating championship is the best bet?
  • 1 0
 Si, I've spectated over the years, Moelfre mainly and it's always one of the best days of the year, even when it's rainy sideways up top! To see the best riders in the world not far from my door step is a real privilege. I don't remember ever paying an entry fee to get in, the level of these events you guys put on is brilliant and if you're coming to watch I think we should be contributing to putting the show on. Anything around £10 seems fair to me, are there issues here? Used to pay plenty to watch a Rally in a welsh forest before it went tits up years ago.
  • 1 0
 I have endless respect for si and the work he has done. I am just gutted that unfornuately its priority points basis entry, its expensive enough to own a race license let alone have to travel to races to rack up points. Don't get me wrong I understand this way you are allowing those who have grafted and arguably someone with 100 points may be more consistent than someone with 1 and would give a higher level of racing. But someone could win one race and not afford to race more and miss out on a chance to race BDS. A shame but must be a reason being it I guess.
  • 3 0
 Si you are the absolute boss. Nice to see a very honest and open interview! If I was in the pub you'd get a few free pints.
  • 3 0
 Good to see Si still making the effort to keep DH racing going in UK
  • 2 1
 if there was only an round based in England along side Wales and Scotland, it might get more people to the races in turn lowering the price of entry
  • 7 1
 He doesnt need anymore people at the races.... they sell out every year.
  • 3 0
 Good read. Wish we could shrink the US
  • 3 0
 west coast series, east coast series. Like the lites class in supercross.
  • 1 1
 set it up like little leagues...DH is specific to topograpghy....so when riding is as accessible as baseball, football, soccer, basket ball, and there is city champs state champs then their can be east west, north south, etc.......the usa has no iforstructure to have a sustainable future its not part of america's culture (more of a counter culture like skate boarding) a bastard chld if you will.....so comparing the USA to BDS is luticrous macintosh and grannysmiths......And having the greatest party planner or event organizer is not going to change this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • 1 0
 BC wanted 2 mandatory practise runs on every stage for enduro?

bend over as far as you like you couldnt manage that over a 30+K course, Im glad theyve pulled out of enduro!
  • 1 0
 Brilliant interview. I think event organisers in all MTB disciplines, not only DH, should pay attention.
  • 2 0
 BEARWOOD!!!!!!!!
  • 3 0
 Dickers !!!!!!
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