World u/23 Cross Country (XCO) Champion credits Spur Schools Mountain Bike League for giving him a head start
December 3, 2018
One of the world’s top young mountain bike riders can say that he’s literally been Spurred on to greatness in the course of his brilliant career. As a schoolboy Alan Hatherly (22) started honing his skills in the Spur Schools Mountain Bike League and after proving his mettle, he joined Team Spur at the start of 2017.
Since then Team Spur has provided a platform for Alan to build on his impressive bike skills and excel on the international stage. No stranger to the intense energy of an international environment, having represented South Africa at the 2016 Rio Olympics (where he was placed 26th), Alan finished third in this year’s Commonwealth Games and he also received a bronze medal at the 2018 UCI U23 XCO World Cup in Europe.
His recent achievements are all the more remarkable as only 8 weeks after Alan broke his wrists in a high-speed crash in February.
Alan began riding bikes at three years old when his dad bought him his first bike. He kicked off with BMX and downhill racing before he moved over to the ‘Formula 1 of mountain biking’, XCO (Olympic Cross-Country). “I raced the Spur Schools Mountain Bike League during primary school and into my high school years,” Alan explains.”
Alan says he was fortunate to have success early on in his cycling career, taking the second overall position in the BMX Championship when he was five years old. “I moved to the downhill mountain bike discipline and managed to win my first Nationals race when I was eight years old. I then decided to try some XCO racing as well. That’s when I moved into the Spur Schools Mountain Bike League and raced there a lot.”
The Spur League was a great platform for racing at that age (eight years old) as his age category was not yet available at a national level, Alan explains. “For the Nationals, I had to race in a higher category. This was quite a learning curve but one that I think has helped develop my racing mental state and training focus.”
Alan struggles to remember all the times he found himself on the winning podium, but he does remember some “proper battles” trying to take the overall series win for the first few years racing the Spur League. “I was able to take the overall series title which was a great achievement.”
After age 13, he focused more on the National series and used the Spur League races for training. “My main rivals were based in Pretoria, so I had to travel to Nationals in order to compete to further my racing and training abilities.”
Those early years racing in the Spur Schools Mountain Bike League would build the foundations of a truly world-class competitor, allowing Alan to mix it up with the fastest riders on the planet and represent his beloved South Africa at the 2016 Rio Olympics, earn a silver medal at the 2017 UCI U23 World Championships in Cairns, Australia, a bronze medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and, in September 2018, the rainbow jersey of the UCI U23 World Champion in Lenzerheide Switzerland.
Alan’s story came full circle when he joined Team Spur last year, becoming an ambassador for the Spur Schools Mountain Bike League. He is now an inspiration to many thousands of young Spur League riders across the country, who flock to the Spur events he attends. Alan Hatherly is living proof of the League’s success.
Watch Alan Hatherly’s incredible true life story of overcoming adversity; from his early childhood in the Spur Schools Mountain Bike League all the way to World Championship glory. The TV commercial is in partnership with 99c end 7Films : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eiLS6uVxIog
Vital stats about Alan Hatherly
Born: 15 March 1996
Age: 22 years
Hillcrest Primary School: 2003-2009
Hillcrest High School: 2010-2014
2013 & 2014 South African Junior XCO Champion
2016 Olympic Games, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – 26th place
2017 UCI U23 XCO World Cup, Vallnord, Andorra – 2nd place
2017 UCI XCO World Championships, Cairns, Australia – 2nd place (Silver medal)
2017 & 2018 South African Elite XCO Champion
2017 & 2018 African Continental Elite XCO Champion
2018 Commonwealth Games, Gold Coast, Australia – 3rd place (Bronze medal)
2018 UCI U23 XCO World Cup, Nove Mesto, Czech Republic – 3rd place
2018 UCI U23 XCO World Cup, Mont Sainte-Anne, Canada – 1st place
2018 UCI U23 XCO World Champion, Lenzerheide, Switzerland (Gold medal)