BBC East Midlands Today visit Derbyshire Biketrials Centre

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In January 2024 this paper featured brothers Eddie and Oliver Weightman, Champion Trials Bike Riders from Wirksworth. The brothers were celebrating the successes of their 2023 season. Eagle eyed reporter Owen Shipton, from BBC East Midlands Today, spotted the article and got in touch with the family. “I am from Chesterfield so I am always looking out for local stories.”

On a rainy April afternoon Owen battled the elements and made his way to Derbyshire Biketrial Centre to film the brothers in their school Easter Holidays. Hot off the back of the first international competition of the year in Denmark, Eddie and Oliver were already back training and Owen spent the afternoon with them learning about their sport, their triumphs from 2023 and their hopes for the coming 2024 season.

2023 had been a big year for the brothers, both competing in the most memorable competition of their individual careers to date.

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Oliver’s big moment of 2023 came in Glasgow, at the UCI Cycling World Championships, where be became Men’s Junior Trials World Champion. Oliver lights up recalling the memory of competing for his country, winning an individual Gold Medal. “It’s a surreal moment, it all happened so fast. After working for it for so long. Everyone (had been) talking about that one event and for all the hard work to pay off… Its a crazy feeling you can’t put it into words.” Having that home win after the years of effort was clearly momentous for the young rider from Derbyshire.

BBC's Owen Shipton is kept dry by Carl a Weightman as he films Oliver and Eddie WeightmanBBC's Owen Shipton is kept dry by Carl a Weightman as he films Oliver and Eddie Weightman
BBC's Owen Shipton is kept dry by Carl a Weightman as he films Oliver and Eddie Weightman

Eddie had his 2023 highlight in Spain at the World Youth Games and is now hot on his brothers heels. “When he was my age he was winning the same titles that I have won. Last year he won the biggest competition that he has ever done and that has made me want to win that one too.” After being interviewed the brothers had chance to show off their skills. In the heavy rain they carefully choose a route over the more grippy sandstone obstacles. Owen, under the safety of a large umbrella, ably held by the boys dad, Carl, was treated to a demonstration of the type of skills needed to reach the level of success the brothers saw in 2023 and hope to build on in 2024.

This coming year looks to be another landmark year for the brothers. They both start the season in a new category, which each has personal aspirations for. Eddie, now 15, moves up into ‘Youth Cadet’ category. “Moving up this year means I will be one of the younger riders in my category, as a junior you spend two years in each category… That can mean the pressure is on the older riders.” For Eddie this means he can relax into the season and see how far he can push his success.

Oliver moves out of the Men’s Junior category, where he is reigning World Champion, and up to Men’s Elite, competing with the best adult male riders in the world. “It is a different challenge, especially coming form Juniors. But I think I am standing pretty well at the moment. My main goal is to consistently make world cup finals which is the top 6.” But Oliver is not making this easy for himself, with the move up he has set himself a new challenge. “Because its my first year in Elite, expectations are lower for me, this gives me the opportunity to challenge myself. So I have moved to a different size of bike, from 20” to 26”.” Early signs are that this is a positive move for Oliver, at the first international competition in Denmark over Easter he achieved 5th position. A great first result. In this new category Oliver is currently ranked World number 11, a position he hopes to improve on as he works toward this years World Championships in Abu Dhabi in December.

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Since his big win in Glasgow Oliver has had some off bike fun, including being invited to BBC Sports Personality of the Year. But when it comes to trials riding Oliver is all business and is hoping to turn his recent achievements into a full time career. Having proven he is the best in the world in Mens Junior, Oliver is ready to show he can be at the top of his sport at the Elite level. Trials bike riding, as a sport, is not currently funded in this country, even at the Elite level. So, to make his dreams come true Oliver needs sponsorship. This coming season, he plans to travel throughout the UK, Europe and Abu Dhabi to compete. Sadly, there are events he won’t make without the type of funding and sponsorship that gives riders and teams from other countries an edge.

The Weightman brothers and Derbyshire Biketrial centre are hoping to invite Owen back later in the year, maybe for the National Championships they are hosting in June. Hopefully by then the rain will have dried up a little and Owen can have a try at Trials Bike riding himself. Watch this space.

To find out more? Follow, subscribe, befriend Oliver and Eddie on their Socials. Tiktok: @oliver.weightman,@eddie_weightman Youtube: @oliverweightmn1714, @eddieweightman9828, Instagram: oliver.weightman,@eddieweightmantrials. Or follow ‘Derbyshire Biketrial Centre’ on Facebook to find out when they are open, perhaps you could give it a try and train along side some of the world’s best.To check out the show the interview is still available on iPlayer. East Midlands Today aired on Thursday 11th April 2024

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