UK to host first elite gravel race in May 2023

The Gralloch will be part of the UCI Gravel World Series, the sport's highest tier of racing

Male riders compete in a gravel race
(Image credit: Roo Fowler/Red On Group)

Next May, Scotland will play host to The Gralloch, a brand new gravel race and the first of its kind in the UK. 

The event, designed by gravel race organisers RED:ON, will be held on 20 May 2023 and will form part of the Trek UCI Gravel World Series, the highest level of gravel racing

In a press release shared this morning, RED:ON co-founder Malcolm Smith said: “Talking to people at our other events, we realised the British gravel cycling community was crying out for a UCI level event to fulfil the demand from an ever-growing number of competitive riders.

“We wanted to create a challenge worthy of the status, and after riding in the area we realised the Galloway Forest Park is home to some of the best gravel trails in the UK.”

Starting and finishing in the town of Gatehouse of Fleet in south-west Scotland, the race will take in 110km (68 miles) of off-road trails. The race organisers have promised it will be a “tough day in the saddle,” with around 2,000m of climbing elevation across the course. 

Smith added: “The gravel is about as good as it gets and the scenery adds an extra dimension which will take riders breath away, if they have any left!” 

As an official UCI Gravel World Series event, riders who finish in the top 25% places in their age and gender groups will qualify for the 2023 Gravel World Championships, due to take place in Italy next September. 

This year, there were 11 races on the Gravel World Series races, which spanned 10 countries including the USA, France and the Philippines. 

In the same press release, Gravel World Series manager Erwin Vevecken said: “It’s an important step forward for the series to have a UK event on the calendar.

“The UK has a rich cycle racing heritage, dating from riders like Brian Robinson, Beryl Burton and Tom Simpson all the way to the modern day with Geraint Thomas, Lizzie Deignan, Tom Pidcock and many others. The country’s riders always do well in the UCI’s international age group events too, so we’re pleased to have a UK race as part of the series.”

Race organisers RED:ON, who also run the King’s Cup and the four-day Raiders Gravel event, hope to attract a range of competitors to The Gralloch. Entries will be open to both elite-level athletes, as well as other riders whose goal is just to finish.  

Early-bird entry is available until 1 January 2023 at a reduced price of £64. Full event details are available on the race’s website

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Tom Davidson
News and Features Writer

Tom joined Cycling Weekly as a news and features writer in the summer of 2022, having previously contributed as a freelancer. He is the host of The TT Podcast, which covers both the men's and women's pelotons and has featured a number of prominent British riders. 

An enthusiastic cyclist himself, Tom likes it most when the road goes uphill and actively seeks out double-figure gradients on his rides. 

He's also fluent in French and Spanish and holds a master's degree in International Journalism.