LOCALLY POWERED: MJO Legal partners Paul O'Connor (left) and Peter James (right) became professional mountain bike rider Morgan Pilley's (centre) first local sponsor earlier this year. Pilley will wear MJO Legal's name on his Australian shirt at the World Championships at Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, this weekend.
LOCALLY POWERED: MJO Legal partners Paul O'Connor (left) and Peter James (right) became professional mountain bike rider Morgan Pilley's (centre) first local sponsor earlier this year. Pilley will wear MJO Legal's name on his Australian shirt at the World Championships at Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, this weekend. Matthew McInerney

Pilley pumped to perform at Pietermaritzburg

IT IS not very often a Clarence Valley business gets its name broadcast across the world during an international sporting event.

But that is what awaits Grafton firm MJO Legal at the UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Championships in South Africa this weekend.

MJO Legal became the first Clarence Valley business to sponsor professional rider Morgan Pilley earlier this year, and will find its name plastered across the Pilley's riding gear when he represents Australia at this weekend's championships.

Pilley spends most of his time riding in the Italian circuit and, despite it being the middle of his racing season, he said there was no chance of him turning it down.

"Putting on the Australian colours is special to every athlete," Pilley said.

"But it's not just Australia you represent. It's your family, home town, local area and club."

The Grafton Cycle Club member arrived in the South African town of Pietermaritzburg yesterday.

He will use the next few days to familiarise himself with the course during two unofficial training sessions, with the 96km race set to start at 8am Sunday local time (about 4pm AEST).

"It'll be interesting to see how I race," Pilley said. "The course is quite technical with a lot of short climbs.''

"It's different to what I'm used to in Europe, where we have long climbs.But it's the same course for everyone and the best will be decided on the day.

He will be joined in Australian colours by veteran mountain biker Andy Blair, though admitted there would be little chance to work as a team.

"I don't know him personally but I know he is a class rider," Pilley said of Blair.

"It's hard to work as a team, as the race will split up straight away and it being technical course, teamwork is almost impossible.

"You will probably see more collusion among riders from the same trade team rather than national teams."

Pilley will fly back to Italy the day after the race to continue his season.

His last effort was 27th in the Sellaronda Hero, a UCI World Series race in the Dolomites earlier this month.

He ended up finishing 27th overall, but could have gone better if not for mechanical issues.

"I was sitting around 15th early on, and was in good form," Pilley said.

"I had a couple of flats and mechanical problems so I lost a lot of time.

"Being a UCI World Series race, 27th isn't a bad result. It's just a shame with the problems I had. But that's racing."

The race itself had about 5000 riders in total so it isn't all bad.

"I'll be straight back to Italy and into the next races. I'm working out the rest of the season at the moment with my team.

"At this stage I'm pretty much racing every weekend at this time of year."

 More details: http://www.mtbworldchamps.co.za



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