Biker brothers want to be King of the hill

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Eastbourne brothers Sam and Oliver Stean are making great strides in hoping to become professional mountain bikers after a successful start to their careers.

Sam, 17, who is currently ranked third in the UK by the British Cycling Association, was crowned Southern champion in the junior racer category at last weekend’s Southern Championship at Wasing Estate near Reading.

Younger brother Oliver, 14, finished ninth in the Youth category against boys that can be as old as 16.

Sam completed four five-mile laps in 1 hour 13 minutes and Oliver crossed the finishing line after two laps in a respectable 42 minutes, just four minutes off first place.

Sam and Oliver have competed nationally for the past two to three years, racing most weekends in different parts of the country.

The pair recently had the privilege to ride at World Cup course Dalby Forest and Sherwood Pines in the British National XC Series. Proud father John Stean said of his two sons’ success, “They are very competitive among themselves as they train together. They are in different categories but they still help to push one another onto the next level.

“They have to practice six days a week and then compete in competitions most weekend’s. We will be going to Sheffield for a National Mountain Bike Championship in a couple of weeks and then travel to Scotland soon after.”

Both boys are currently sponsored by Brighton’s VC Jubilee Cycling Club but train at Eastbourne’s David Lloyd centre and the Downs.

The safety of bike racing will be in the spotlight over the next couple of week’s after the tragic death of former Eastbourne Eagles speedway racer Lee Richardson.

John said on the safety of mountain biking, “People are air lifted by an air ambulance at nearly every race after falling on rocks and gravel.”

The British Cycling Association enforce that competitors must wear a protective helmet and encourages riders to wear padding protection for their back, elbows, knees and shoulders.