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Mountain bikers hit Kep hills

Mountain bikers hit Kep hills

Competitive cyclists from throughout the Kingdom will hit the dirt trails of Kep this Sunday for the second round of the five-race 2010 Cambodia Mountain Bike Series.

The race, which starts at 7:30am, will be contested on a 9-kilometre course in Kep National Park, with the four categories riding different distances: three laps for A class (Elite) and B class (Junior 18 years and under), two laps for C class (Intermediate), and one lap for D class (Novice).

The course is described on the race notice as having “a bit of elevation, but no steep hill or technical sections; good for any ability levels.”
The mountain bike series, now in its second year, is organised by the Cambodian Mountain Biking Club, which has also run the annual Kirirom Mountain Bike Challenge since 2005.

Pierre-Yves Catry, cofounder of the club, said the aim of the series is to support Cambodian cyclists, especially young riders.

“These races are meant to promote mountain biking among young Cambodians and help them compete at a higher level,” he said.

Entry fees are kept low for Cambodians, usually US$1-$2, whereas foreigners are charged $10 to help subsidise the participation of the locals.

“If the money we collect exceeds the amount we spend, the balance is kept to support the top Cambodian cyclists in taking part in events in Thailand and Malaysia,” Catry stated.


Cambodian mountain bike racer Smey (right) waves at the camera during a practice run before last year’s race in Kep. Photo Supplied

New sponsorship deals this year with ANZ Royal Bank, Comin Khmere, Kuang Heng Cycles and the Khmer Cycling Team have allowed the organisers to boost the prize list. The Kep Tourism Authority is also lending support to the Kep race.

For each race, prizes (in cash or bicycle equipment) are paid to the top five finishers in the A and B classes, from $30 for first place down to $5 for fifth. For the C and D class, the top three places earn prizes, with the C class winner getting $15 and D class $10.

For each round, the top eight finishers in each class are also given points according to their result. At the end of the five rounds, the points for each rider will be added, with the highest point scorer declared the overall series winner of his or her class.

The top three riders in the A and B classes will receive trophies and medals, and the winner of each will get $150 in cash or bike parts. The C and D class champions will get trophies.

Round one of the series was held on April 11 at Phnom Baset, about 35 kilometres north of Phnom Penh. Around 50 cyclists participated, 70 percent of whom were Cambodians. The D class had the biggest field with 22 riders.

Winners of the round included Seang Makara in the A class, Long Vannara in the B class, Chea Peav in the C class, and Seang Uta in the D class. Accordingly, these riders currently lead the overall series in their respective classes.

The next three rounds after Kep are tentatively scheduled for Phnom Baset (July and October) and Siem Reap (August).

“Since Phnom Baset has been identified as the nearest place to build a mountain bike track with elevation, we have selected it as our base for training,” Catry disclosed. “We intend to improve the place and design and mark several tracks so everyone can have fun.”

He added that the Cambodian Mountain Biking Club plans to organise mountain bike clinics at Phnom Baset for those who wish to improve their riding skills.

For more information on registering for races in the series, contact Smey on 012 555 123 or [email protected].

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