FRAZER Clacherty is the current British mountain bike champion. The 20-year-old, from Danby, near Whitby, will represent Team England at the Commonwealth Games in Australia

The Northern Echo: Picture by Alex Broadway/ - 05/09/17 - Cycling - UCI 2017 Mountain Bike World Championships - XCO - Cairns, Australia - Frazer Clacherty of Great Britain in action during a practice session.

Frazer Clacherty at the UCI 2017 Mountain Bike World Championships - XCO - Cairns, Australia Picture by Alex Broadway/

How did you get into cycling and in particular mountain biking?

I have always ridden bikes since the age of three and my parents always bought me offroad bikes when I was growing up because of the rural area we live in. When I was 14 I knew a local guy, Mike Thompson, who was a couple of years older than me and doing really well at cycling, I asked if I could go on a ride with him and he was obviously a lot faster than me but I loved it so I started riding my bike a lot more often so that next time I went with him I could keep up. When he heard I’d been riding my bike most nights after school he took me to a local cross country mountain bike race and since that race I’ve been hooked!

How long has it taken you to get to this elite level and who has been helped you get to this point in your career?

In my second year of racing I won my first National race in the U16 category then the year after I won the national championships in my first year as an U18. In my second year U18 I managed to win every mountain bike race I entered within the UK and off the back of that I was selected for the British Cycling U23 Academy and I turned full time in 2016.

Just this year I signed my first professional contract for ‘Silverback OMX Pro Team’. My coach Simon Watts plays a huge part in what I do, he has been coaching me now since I was 16 years old, and obviously my parents who drove me across the country most weekends in the summer for me to race my bike.

What has been your best result so far?

My sixth place in the Germany World Cup last year was my best race to date. The week before was the first World Cup of the season and I had big expectations for myself and, long story short, I was far from where I expected to be. After that, I kind of took the pressure off my shoulders and just told myself to enjoy it.

I was gridded in 40th and I didn’t get an amazing start but I kept overtaking riders lap by lap. Before I knew it I was top 20, then top ten and on the last lap I rode into fifth, only to get beaten in a sprint to finish sixth. I also set the fastest lap of the whole race.

Were you confident of selection for the Commonwealth Games team and what was your reaction when confirmation came?

I was quite confident of my selection as last year I was second in the country and Grant Ferguson, who was first, will race for Scotland.

But obviously you can’t guarantee anything in sport so I was still super excited when the confirmation came through and I could start planning towards it.

What will it mean to represent your country at such a prestigious event?

I’m pretty excited to have been selected for the Games. I have have raced for GB at World and European championships before, but this is my first major multi-sport event so I can’t wait to experience it!

What are your hopes as far as the race on the Gold Coast is concerned?

I think it will take some time for me to adjust to this with the athletes village and so on. I am aiming for a medal but the racing will be tight, so realistically I am just going to do everything I can in preparation and then enjoy the experience when I am out there. This way I’ll be in pretty good shape and up for a battle for sure!

What do you know of those you will be up against?

I know a few of the guys quite well who I’ll be racing against and I don’t know anything about some of the others. I think at the end of the day it doesn’t make too much difference if I know them or not because if I am going good on the day I will just race my own race.

What will your training regime be between now and the race itself?

At the moment I am currently out in South Africa preparing for the first round of the World Cup in Stellenbosch so that is my first target, after that I am staying out here to train in preparation for the Games. I will arrive at the Gold Coast on April 1 with the race being on April 12.

When the dust settles after the Games, how do you think the experience gained there will benefit you and where do you see your career heading?

After the Games I have about a month of training before the European World Cups kick off in Germany. I think the experience from the Games will benefit me massively as I hope to be at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo so this will be an important step forward in me getting there. But in the mean time I have an important year of U23 racing to get through which I am super-excited to get started with this Saturday in Stellenbosch!