After taking up cycling to recover from surgery to his leg, 18-year-old Reece Wilson has been crowned British downhill mountain biking junior men’s champion.
Reece’s first mountain bike downhill race, involving time trials on steep, rugged tracks with jumps and other obstacles, was at Innerleithen in the summer of 2012 which he won,
Two years later, in his first year of competing on the bigger stage, he has a national championship under his belt and a tenth place finish in the World Downhill Series.
As part of his post surgery recovery Reece did some cross country cycling and downhill riding at Glentress and it was soon apparent that he excelled in the downhill racing.
He won his first race in the Mini Downhill Series at Innerleithen, and won overall in August 2012.
Reece’s potential in the world of downhill mountain bike racing was soon spotted and he competed in the Scottish Downhill championship series with help and advice from Ruaridh Cunningham, former World Mens Junior Champion.
His riding went up another notch when he completed the specialised Base Downhill Course at Borders College.
This year Reece competed in four of the five British Downhill Series Races this year and after chalking up two wins, one second and one third place he was crowned champion following the last round of the British events on Sunday, September 14, at the Bike Park in Cardiff.
While competing in the British series Reece applied to British Cycling for consideration to be selected/authorised to compete at World Downhill Series level. And when this was approved he then started to make a name for himself on the world stage.
Reece competed in five out of seven world championships. racing in France, Canada, Austria (a puncture put an end to any hopes of him placing), Scotland and the USA.
His authorisation to compete came too late for him to take part in the first two of the World Downhill Series but in his first season Reece had two seventh place finishes, a fourteenth and a tenth.
Britain’s double world champion Gee Atherton is campaigning for downhill mountainbiking to be included in the winter Olympics. International Olympic Committee (IOC) rules state only sports held on snow or ice can be part of the Winter Games, but the issue of which sports should be in the Olympics is currently under review and it’s not completely out of the question that one day Reece could be competing for an Olympic medal.
Cross country became part of the summer Olympics programme in 1996 and making his case for downhill racing Atherton said: “I think downhill lends itself better to the spirit of the Winter Olympics.
“If you look at how the Winter Games have changed (by adding newer, more youth-oriented sports like freestyle skiing and snowboarding), it would be a better fit.”
Local support for Reece’s racing ambitions has come from Anderson and Wilson Engineering, CMG Engineering, Alpine Bikes, Base Downhill Course, Galashiels College, Hardies Bikes and One Industries, family and close friends.