MTBO World Masters Series allows Masters to compete until they get too rusty to ride

Posted on | January 11, 2017 | Category: News

Age is no limit for competing. The MTBO World Masters Series is an example of that, with Masters athletes travelling around the world to achieve points for the overall standing – and have fun.

If you think Masters athletes, athletes above 35 years old, are not into competing you should think again. The World Masters Orienteering Championships in both FootO, SkiO and MTBO are good examples of their love of competition, and in MTBO further initiative has been taken to create a competition which runs throughout the entire season, with a series of 15 races counting to an overall standing.

Keith Dawson from Great Britain is the founder of the World Master Series (WMS), explaining that Masters have longed for an increasing level at Masters’ competitions:

– I felt there was a need to increase the level of competition for Masters in MTBO throughout the year, not just at the World Masters Championships once a year, he says.

The WMS constitutes fifteen races in total, with the best seven races to count in five-year age classes. Six national events host two races each and the World Masters MTBO Championships adding three races to make the total fifteen. This season’s events will be held in New Zealand, Portugal, Denmark, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Austria, before culminating in France at the World Masters Championships in early August. The geographical diversity gives a good spread of competitors, and in addition has a developing quality:

– We have a great MTBO community and the series has increased numbers at World Masters Series events to the benefits of organising clubs. It also has the aim of aiding development, hence the races in Turkey last year and Poland this year, Keith Dawson says.

Four m55 riders. Keith Dawson first from right.

No need for a supercomputer

Asked about how competitive the Masters riding the WMS are, Keith Dawson clears some people’s misconception:

– There is a misconception amongst some that Masters are not competitive, but I can assure you that most are highly competitive. The standards have noticeably increased in each of the last two seasons. Winners like Jean-Charles Lalavee, France, Wolf Eberle, Austria and Charlie Somers-Cocks, Great Britain, are an inspiration and raise the bar for all. With the WMS, there are of course opportunities around the races for tourism or other activities, for example in the races in New Zealand this season and Turkey and Portugal last season, he says.

The scoring is a simple points system, 35 for a win, 33 for 2nd, then 31, 30, 29 and so on downwards. The only extra organisation for WMS is the calculation of league points, which the statistician Tamas Janko compiles admirably. The small setup is appreciated, both by athletes and by the organiser of the series:

– Feedback has been very positive in the last years and the simple format is well liked. You do not need a supercomputer to work out your points and it still picks the worthiest champion, Keith Dawson says.

In the spring 2016, the WMS had two races in Turkey. Photo: Keith Dawson.

Successful on all counts

The 2015 season was the opening season and in only two years, the awareness of the series within the MTBO community has increased significantly:

– Numbers and awareness has increased and now organisers are lobbying to have their events included rather than me approaching them. They realise the added value for their events of attracting increased numbers of Masters, and their spending power has a higher economic ripple effect for local communities. The standard of competition has also increased with Masters more motivated to train hard over the winter, Keith Dawson says.

The 2017 season sneak peeked back in November 2016 with the two first races taking place in New Zealand. Things can always be improved and by request, an M/W35 class has been added this season, to bridge the gap from elite to Masters and to retain competitors in the sport.

While the series still experiences a few changes, Keith Dawson is rather satisfied with what has been build up in only two seasons:

– The aim of the WMS was to increase standards for Masters’ competitions, help development in outlying countries and to increase the Fun! I think it has been successful on all counts thus far!


The MTBO World Masters Series webpage.

Gold Medallists from the 2016 WMS. Photo: Keith Dawson.

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