Choose your own challenge with three route distances taking in the best South Downs trails

2016-WSS_south-downs-epic-mtbSunday 19th June is the date to put in your diaries for this year’s Wiggle South Downs Epic MTB event.

The place to bung into your Satnavs is Fontwell Racecourse in West Sussex. Postcode: BN18 0SX

The Wiggle South Downs Epic MTB is a mass participation off-road challenge. Essentially a sort of sportive for mountain bikes.

>>> Wiggle South Downs Epic MTB official website

It’s not a race – riders are either there for the personal challenge or for the social aspect of sportive riding. All riders do get an official finish time but there are no prizes on offer for winning or anything.

The Wiggle South Downs Epic MTB is regarded as one of the toughest MTB challenges in the whole of the UK Cycling Events calendar. Thankfully it is timed to be slap bang in the middle of the riding season so you should be in decent enough shape to complete the ride and do yourself justice.

There are three different length routes to choose from. Short: 19 miles. Standard: 29 miles. Epic: 40 miles (with 3,218ft of ascent for those who like to know!)


The terrain is typically South Downs-like in that it often doesn’t appear obviously tough but pretty soon you find yourself busting a gut uphill and then white-knuckle riding on the descents. It sort of sneaks up on you!

The majority of the climbing is done in the first stages of the loops. There’s some pretty woodland to distract for the most part but you’ll be really pleased when you see the first feed station appear.


Your reward for getting through the climby first section is an extended section of mostly descending trails. There’s an excellent, fast drop after Lambdown Hill that will leave you beaming in particular.

The latter stages of the routes are more punchy in nature. Steep stabby climbs followed by full-on steep descents that require all your attention. The very final section of easy, rolling terrain will be most welcome by this point. The views over the Downs and across to the south coast are the icing on the cake.

>>> City Limits GPS Route: Brighton and the South Downs


Entry fees start from £26 for the Short course. Children under 16 go FREE (so long as they’re accompanied by a ticket-holding adult).

As an extra incentive you’ll get a FREE one month subscription to OS Maps (worth £3.99) with any UKCE event entry.

On the day entry is theoretically possible but it costs you £3.00 more so it’s a good idea to enter online now.

As well as saving you money it ensures your spot on the start line in case the event sells out – which it very possibly will.