EWS announce the 'Trophy of Nations' for 2019

With the release of the Enduro World Series calendar for next year came the exciting news that the organisers will also be running a standalone Trophy of Nations event. After an eight-round series that travels as far and wide as New Zealand, Tasmania, Madeira, Canada, the USA and Europe, riders will return to the popular venue of Finale Ligure, Italy, for a World Champs of sorts. Instead of vying for individual glory, riders will race as teams for their country in what promises to be an event of teamwork, strategy and, of course, balls-out speed! We reckon it'll be a tightly-fought battle, with Australia, France, Canada and the USA all showing a great depth of field at previous EWS rounds. Will the raw speed of the inimitable Sam Hill be enough to fend off a packed field of fast Frenchies? Only time will tell.


Unno launch a World Cup team

We're still yet to swing a leg over one of Spanish brand Unno's boutique creations (hint, hint, Cesar Rojo!), but they look seriously cool. We're always keen to see how a new bike will perform on the world circuit and it looks like we'll have the chance to soon, as Unno are fronting a World Cup team for 2018. They didn't make much song and dance about the announcement and we had to trawl the UCI teams list to find out, but we'll be seeing South Wales pinner Taylor Vernon and Scottish top 10 regular Greg Williamson piloting the black carbon beauties this season.

Have Shimano cut back their World Cup team support?

We can't help but notice that, for 2018, Shimano seem to have streamlined their rider support at World Cup level. Long-term Shimano athletes the Athertons have switched to Hope Tech for brakes and cranksets this year, and their PRO cockpits are gone in favour of Renthal bars and stems. They're not the only team, either. Claudio Calouri's Scott-Velosolutions squad have seen a sponsor shake-up too. Brendan Fairclough and Gaëtan Vigé remain as riders, but, following in the footsteps of Aaron Gwin, they'll be using TRP brakes. The big news is that their bikes will be decked out with full BOS suspension. We spied Brendan at South Africa's DarkFest recently, running the brand's as-yet-unreleased Obsys inverted downhill fork. Does this signal a return to racing for the high-end French brand? If so, we'll be interested to see how the fork fares, as BOS's previous forays into mountain biking have always been hampered by the availability of aftermarket servicing and support. From what we can see, it looks like the Santa Cruz Syndicate's relationship with Shimano and Fox is set to continue, but rumour has it they'll be aboard Santa Cruz's new Reserve carbon rims this season rather than ENVE hoops.

Brendan Fairlclough whipping a jump at South Africa's DarkFest 2018
Brendan whips it out at DarkFest aboard his BOS-equipped Scott Gambler. Credit: Ale Di Lullo

GT have a new downhill bike

There are only spy shots floating around at present, but the secret's out that GT Bicycles have a new downhill rig in the pipeline. From what we can see, it looks like the 'i-Drive' system of old has gone and in its place is a four-bar design with a high main pivot and chain idler wheel. For 2018, Team MBUK will again be partnering with GT Bicycles UK, and we hope to see this rig being ridden to success at the UK National Downhill Series and Red Bull Hardline by our team rider and ambassador Al Bond.


Pump track racing goes worldwide!

No longer just a muck-about in your local park, pump track riding has reached the elevated status of having its own World Champs this year. The inaugural event will take place in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, on September 8 and promises to be an intense battle, with only the world's best pumpers and jumpers taking part. If you reckon you're up to the challenge, then make sure you get along to one of the qualifying events – the UK round is being held on a newly-built Velosolutions track in Glasgow on June 30. From an initial seeding run, the top 32 men and eight women will progress through to a knockout round, and only the fastest four will make the cut for Switzerland. Keep up to date with all the latest here.

Olly Wilkins rides a hump roller at a pump track in Edinburgh
Olly Wilkins rips it up on the Velosolutions pump track in Edinburgh. Will we see Olly's wild enthusiasm at the Pump Track World Champs this year? Let's hope so! Credit: Sven Martin/Red Bull


Ed ThomsettContributor

Former Mountain Biking UK features editor Ed Thomsett is a downhiller at heart but has been riding bikes of all types since a young age. He's raced both nationally and internationally in downhill and enduro, and has spent several summers living in the Alps and Canada, riding, roadtripping and living the dirtbag lifestyle. Now Ed calls upon his years of experience riding bikes to the limit as a writer and reviewer for MBUK and BikeRadar. He's also an avid trail builder and has scraped out numerous steep and technical lines in the woodlands of his native North Yorkshire. These days Ed will happily turn his hand to any discipline and believes the sign of a good week is when every bike in his shed ends up muddy by the end of it.