Race Organisers

There is a lot of useful information about organising off-road races on the Cycling Ireland Off-road commission website.
This information is geared towards running a cross-country race.
Click here to read this document.
A sample checklist of things to remember to bring along on race day is given below.  Feel free to share any other tips / ideas for best practice so that this list becomes fully comprehensive.


Sign on
Kitty / float
Sign on sheets (supplied by Martin after pre-registration closes)
One-day licence form – email Cycling Ireland in the week leading up to the event – (download guidance notes here – PDF)
Notice to show the start time of races + number of laps
Map of the course(s)
Race numbers (for Cycling Ulster events these are supplied by the Off-road Commission)
Cable ties (3 per race number)

Race administration
Gazebo (to protect the timekeepers from the elements)
Table and chairs
Several clipboards to hold the various sign on sheets

Sequence sheets (to record the race numbers crossing the line irrespective of race category) – download an example here

Timing sheets – (to record both race number and time) – download an example here

Prize giving sheet (to transfer the names of the winners onto) – download an example here

Stop watches
Whistle (to start the races)
Chequered flag
Lap board
Bell (for the final lap)
Cable cutters, snips, scissors (to remove the race plates after the race is finished – preferably 3 or more pairs)
Sign on sheet for marshals (all marshals must be aged 18 or over)
Race radios (the Cycling Ulster Off-road commission have a set)
Spare barrier tape
Signage for the Under 6s, 8s, 10s, 12s and 14s course
Large bucket or box to collect the race numbers
Bins for riders to throw their empty gel packets into, located just after the feed zone and on any stretch of the course where feeding was likely


  • Head timekeeper – to record manually all the race positions and times (using timing sheets above)
  • Sequence writer – records all the race numbers (no times) using the sequence sheets above
  • Caller / Spotter – to call out the race numbers to the timekeepers
  • Laptop operator – to type in the race number into the laptop.  Laptop training provided by the Cycling Ulster Off-road Commission.
  • Auxiliary timekeeper – to record the race numbers of the girls in the youth races.  Useful to sort out race results quickly
  • Assistant- to hold the lap boards, ring the final lap bell, wave the chequered flag
  • Race number remover / timing chip remover (if applicable) – someone to remove the race numbers from riders who have finished their race.  (or someone to return the timing chips if they are used)
  • Head marshal / marshal co-ordinator – to co-ordinate all the marshals – communicate via radio what is happening at the race and passing on instructions to the marshals
  • Marshals – wearing brightly colours bibs and holding radios / communicating via mobile phone
  • Sign on chief – person with most knowledge of race licences required, looking after the one-day licence forms and annual licence forms.
  • Sign on assistances – dealing with sign on, taking in money, issuing race numbers with 3 cable ties or pieces of string / wire
  • Catering staff


Medals for youth riders  (top 3 boys and top 3 girls in categories Under 8 to Under 16, top 3 only for the Under 6 race)
Envelopes for cash prizes for seniors
Podium (1, 2, 3)
Club banners or banners from sponsors


Tea, coffee, cold water, cordial
Milk, sugar
Cups, plates, spoons, Knife
Napkins, table cloths, kitchen roll
Rubbish bags / bins


If an ambulance is being provided ensure that it can have access onto the course and has a clear path to the road for taking casualties for transfer to a regular ambulance
If an ambulance is not being provided ensure that there is a first aid station clearly marked and that first aid personnel are wearing distinctive clothing
Ensure the first aid personnel have a means of communicating with the race organiser (mobile phone and radio).  When the first aid personnel are in position check that this communication works before the races begin


If portable toilets are being rented, have a minimum of 3 on site
For on-site facilities or portable toilets ensure there is sufficient supplies of toilet rolls and soap.  Have someone check this regularly during race day.


NOTE: If you do not have a particular item from the above list then get in touch with Martin asap so that arrangements can be made.


Ensure the course is cleared of tape, posts, signs and, most importantly, rubbish
Aim to get the results for all categories made public as soon as possible
Once the sign on sheets have been processed they should be posted to the Cycling Ireland office
If there were any one-day licence forms used, then send the copy to Cycling Ireland along with a cheque for the amount paid.

MTB races for youth – guidance notes

For the youth races, the Under 16s should be capable of completing laps of the main circuit as per the senior MTB riders.  The Under 14s should approximately half of the main course in order to get at least 2 laps done.
Youth races for the Under 12s, 10s and 8s should be on a short circuit(s) set up with the following criteria

1. The races should be over a minimum of 2 laps
2. The course should be easily identified with signage showing race direction and clear signage at any splits in the course.
3. A finish line should be clearly marked.
4. In terms of duration (see note below).
5. Marshals in place at junctions and at locations where the circuit would be challenging for very young riders.

Types of courses
For mountain bike cross-country courses the youth should experience a variety of terrain with increased levels of difficulty as they move up through the age categories.
There is no set distance required, more a guidance on time taken to complete the course.

Guide to race lengths
Under 8s – around 5 minutes (4-8 minutes)
Under 10s – around 10 minutes (8-12 minutes)
Under 12s – around 15 minutes (12-17 minutes)
Under 14s – around 30 minutes
Under 16s – around 50-60 minutes

Number of laps
Ideally aim to have a course with 3 laps for the Under 8s, 10s, 12s.
Under 14s (2-3 laps)
Under 16s (2 laps to match the Senior 4 men)

Under 6s – scoot races
To include the younger members of the family on race day the Under 6s / Scoot race has been introduced.
There has been a steady rise in the numbers doing the Under 6s/Scoot race and starts the day off well.
Their course should be very simple, no hills or obstacles and kept within site of the parents and spectators.  No parental support needed.
One or two laps of a simple out and in course which can be on tarmac, pavement, grass or hard ground.
Approximately a 1-2 minute race with the emphasis on fun.
Boys and girls can be mixed together.  First 3 across the line to get medals but consider giving all the participants a small reward, lollipop, chocolate bar, certificate, badge etc