A Dalkeith woman is leading an all female mountain biking team hoping to win races and some much needed recognition for women in the sport.
Roz Newman (37), originally from Gorebridge and now living in Dalkeith, is the daughter of Bonnyrigg Cycling Club founder Fred Newman. Currently ranked 23rd in the world, Roz won the Scottish title in 2014.
She now heads Female Riders Race Team, a cross-country, downhill and enduro mountain biking team launched this year to promote, support and assist a talented group of up-and-coming female riders to race competitively in the UK and worldwide.
Roz explained how the team came about: “The team manager Nicola Beswick recognised that there was a gap in terms of supporting younger female riders. It’s a male dominated sport and she recognised it would be good to have an all female team.
“When she approached me about becoming team captain I was delighted to do it. And because I’m on the race circuit around the UK and the world, she asked me to suggest women we could support.
“We also worked together on the ethos of what we were trying to do, raising awareness of female mountain biking talent too. It’s just started off, there is big hopes for it.
“The first race was at the weekend, at the Scottish Enduro Series. It runs March to October/ November. Downhill races haven’t started yet.”
Roz, a late convert mountain biking starting when she was 15 and only riding competitively for the last five years, believes it’s important to have an all-female team.
She said: “We are separate from the men but we do the exact same course, so we beat some of the men’s times.
“Women currently either ride for mixed teams or are privateers - where you ride for yourself but you might have a bit of support from a local bike shop say.
“In a sense we are there to motivate and inspire each other and as you are part of a team you are more likely to gain recognition and support from sponsors. Especially with it being an all female team.
“Nicola had amazing foresight to see that was what was lacking. There wasn’t enough support for females in racing, especially young females.
“I think it’s inspiring for young women coming into the race scene and who just want to try the sport. I think it’s quite inspirational for them to see a group of women get together like this.
“That’s the thing with the female racing, there was no age category. We would be racing against 13 year old girls. But over time that’s changed.
“I think it’s recognition within the industry that girls are out there are racing bikes and they are loving it. And they want more of it, and more support to do it.
“So there has been a lot of recognition lately that there needs to be equality. Equal categories, equal recognition and I think that’s what will inevitably bring more women into competitive sport.”