Cyclocross is widely regarded as the most friendly introduction to cycle sport, for a number of reasons. The courses are short, generally forming loops of a few hundred metres, and never very technical. For U12 racing it is recommended that there are no parts of the course that should require a dismount (e.g. barriers or hurdles), and the offroad sections tend to be smooth rather than rocky. There’s racing for all age groups at many events, so all the family can take part.
Broadly speaking there are four categories of CX race in Scotland. Details of all races and dates can be found on the SCX website. There is also a flourishing Scottish Cyclocross facebook page here where races are announced, promoted and photos shared.
1. SCX Series Races.
October – December
These are the biggest races in terms of numbers, with racing for all age categories from U8 to V50+. They are raced under British Cycling rules, with a Commissaire, and online entry via British Cycling. The Series consists of 6 or 7 races annually, with entries opening on September 1st. The traditional season opener is usually Callendar Park, in Fallkirk, at the start of October. The season finishes with a weekend of racing on Mull in Mid December. U8 and U12 races are run as Go Cross events, and do not have prizes or a Series table, whilst the remainder of the age categories have a season long table with a M & F winner based on the best 5 of 6 results.
2. Super Quaich Series Races.
January and February
These races (U16+) form a compact race series, and each event consists of two races with riders split by ability, not age. Promotion and Relegation allows riders to find their own level and get good racing whatever their ability, The races are heavily oversubscribed and early entry is advised. These are raced under TLI regulations. Entry is online, usually via Entry Central.
3. Independent races.
These tend to be smaller events (although Dig In, now part of the Super Quaich Series, is by far the most popular CX race in Scotland). Some are adults only, some kids only (e.g. ERC Juniors Inch Park CX). Sometimes these races can be hugely popular and sell out quickly, so choose your events and get entered as soon as you can. Depending on the organiser, the races can be held under TLI or BC regulations.
4. Scottish CX Championships
1st Weekend in December
This event sometimes forms part of the SCX Series, but in general it is a stand alone race. It is run by a host club in the same way that the Series Races are, but Scottish Cycling are the event “owners”, and the Champs have slightly different eligibility and entry regulations.
The event is open to entries from any rider, however for eligibility for Scottish Championship medals, please see below:
Riders must meet the eligibility criteria of Scottish Cycling technical regulation 18.1.2:
All SC Championships shall be open to: –
a) SC/BC members (members of clubs affiliated to SC)
b) Scottish Nationals (persons born in Scotland)
c) Scottish Residents (persons who have lived in Scotland for three of the last five years)
d) Persons who have at least one parent who was born in Scotland.
e) Members of the armed forces who meet none of the above, but who by necessity are required to live in Scotland away from their normal residence.
Persons in sections (b), (c), (d) and (e) must be members of an UCI recognised Cycling Federation.
Entries for the Scottish CX Championships close two weeks before race day, in order to allow SC to check eligibility.
SCX Series Races for kids
The SCX Series Races are the ones you are most likely to encounter if your kids are racing, simply because they offer the broadest range of racing for U16 age groups.
Races are split into U8, U12 and U16 categories, with podium presentations and goody bags for all the U8 and U12 riders, and helmet/glasses prizes for the U16 racers from the sponsors of the Series. Age categories in CX racing are different to those on the road, and are expained fully here.
Entry for SCX Series races for U8 and U12 Go Cross races is £3.
The kids races are generally held early in the day, so they race on courses that are not too cut up. This typically means an early start, as sign-on opens at 08:45 – 09:00 for the first races.
The course will be open for practice up until the U8’s are ready to race (usually the first race is at 09:45). The course will be cleared via a tannoy announcement, and riders will be lined up on a start grid, which is often not at the finish line. Each race varies in how the courses are laid out, but generally the U8 course is easier than the U12 course, and U16’s ride on the adult course.
Kids will race for a set period of time (usually 10 mins for the U8’s, up to 15 for U12’s) plus one lap. Once the winner has finished, everybody else finishes when they cross the line, whether they’ve been lapped or not. The course is then open for the next age group to practice on, usually for 10 mins or so until the next race is gridded.
Podium presentations are carried out a little while after each race, and there’s usually hot food and drinks available while you watch the older racers. For many riders (kids and adults alike), the social aspect of meeting friends, grabbing something to eat and cheering on their friends is as important as their actual race. The final race of the day (Senior Open) lasts for one hour, and racing finishes at 3pm.