Marc Beaumont
Mountain Biking UK|March 2017

We Head to the Wilds of Shropshire to Catch Up With Double World Cup Winner and Former Team MBUK Racer Marc 'slugger' Beaumont and Find Out How the Local Scene Has Influenced Him as a Rider.

Alex Evans

As my knife slices through poached egg and sourdough bread, I can’t help but think I’ve landed on my feet with this assignment. Ludlow Food Centre is famous among foodies, and as I eat my breakfast in the cosy cafe, I can see why. Sitting next to me is two-time DH World Cup winner Marc ‘Slugger’ Beaumont. I’m here to find out what’s made him such a dedicated and flat-out rider. Marc’s a regular here, and he curses when he realises he’s left his loyalty card at home and missed out on a free dinner, with the amount we’ve just put away. 

Making tracks

Ludlow is a mountain biker’s paradise. You’ve got Bringewood, Hopton and the surrounding woods, all within riding distance of each other and all offering different challenges. It’s long been home to one of the most thriving scenes in the UK, and Marc, who’s lived here his whole life, has been involved since a tender age. “It’s the people that make it good,” he says. “The group that I go riding with, they keep me interested in biking.”

As a young lad, Slugger spent hours in the woods, pushing his limits on his first bike. “It was a secondhand Trek 820 Antelope,” he remembers. “It didn’t have very good stuff on it. It was black with a green and white fleck. It’s still in Dad’s shed.” He loved to get his hands dirty, constructing tracks and features to ride. “I was never afraid to build stuff,” he says. “Like, we had a corkscrew, an over/ under! We built it in the summer holidays, it took us three weeks. Who builds stuff like that any more? We built rhythm sections, we had dirt jumps. I always built stuff and I still do because I get bored with generic trails.”

These days, Marc does his digging at a secret spot near the small town of Craven Arms, where he grew up. As we pull up, it’s obvious why he’s chosen this place – these hills have hosted nationallevel races, and being here brings back memories for him. “I’d go to Hopton or down to Ludlow and ride national-level tracks, but on a little crappy rigid with cantileverbrakes,” he says. Today he’s on a 160mm-travel Saracen Ariel with hydraulic discs, but the tracks have evolved too, so they’re able to quench his appetite for technical and awkward riding.

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