It's finally here!! Heralding in the start of the 2016 XCO MTB season here in the UK are the team behind Mud, Sweat and Gears as they prepare to drop the tape on round 1 of the MSG Eastern Regional Series.

MSG takes us to the small village of Hintlesham, just outside Ipswich, for round 1 this year and it promises to be a cracking course. We asked the guys behind MSG to give us a little guide to Sunday's course...

"This is one of this winters freshly negotiated venues. The land is owned and farmed by the Bostock family and lies on the side of the valley formed by Belstead Brook which runs through it. The course starts at the top of the valley on open farmland and takes advantage of the valley side to give some challenging climbs. It then enters the first of two deciduous woods. It runs parallel to the golf course along the edge of Home Wood with some surprisingly sharp climbs. It then descends to the crossing point between the two woods and enters into Alder Wood. This was a formally landscaped woodland and is quite simply beautiful on a nice day. It wends its way through the woodland and climbs and falls as it goes, until the only major technical obstacle appears this is a sharp drop which will catch out the unwary as the convex slope prevents the rider from seeing the bottom of it as they attempt it. 

After that there is some open water meadow to cross before attempting the Bridge of Thighs that crosses the Brook which takes the rider back into Home Wood for the return to the arena. Leaving the wood the rider is confronted with a fierce open climb which will suit the whippets, but will destroy those amongst us who find gravity something of a challenge.

Overall not a technical course, but one chosen for its woodland trails which should bear up to our beautiful spring weather. something like 64% of it is either descending or flat, which is great until you figure out that the other 34% is going to be pretty damn steep, so it will certainly get the cobwebs out of a few lungs."

If you are racing this weekend then have fun, good luck and don't forget to let UKXCNews know how you get on!!

For more info on the MSG Series then check out their website -