World top three for Centro superstar

Recognition for Black Country cyclist.

The West Midlands’ very own pocket rocket is pedalling powerful positive messages as a role model for local youngsters.

Twenty-six year-old Hannah Escott from Kidderminster has just broken into the world’s top three in the extreme sport of 4X Mountain Biking. She fulfilled a major ambition last week when she made the podium in the second round of the Buff 4X ProTour World Series in Fort William.

It’s not for the faint-hearted – this scary sport involves careering down mountainsides on a bike at breakneck pace, 20mph at top speed – and with added jumps, drops and rocky terrain. Four racers set off simultaneously, flinging their bikes out of a starting gate high up on the mountain, barging and jostling for position in mid-air. But Hannah – a pint-sized powerhouse at 5ft nothing and 8st – thrives on the adrenalin.

She said: “For me this was the big one, the one that I’ve trained for all winter and it’s just great that the cold wet nights on the bike have paid off.

“All my winter training was about this – six days a week, cycling in the rain and in the dark. Yes it’s challenging but I would recommend it to anyone for fun and getting fit. My target was top five so I’ve exceeded that and I’m thrilled.”

Hannah’s day job is with Centro’s sustainable travel team, promoting cycling and walking across the Black Country, with a special focus on young people. This week Hannah and her colleagues in the sustainable travel team are running a series of events across the West Midlands in support of Bike Week UK 2016 – an annual opportunity to promote everyday cycling for everyone – explaining the economic, environmental and health benefits of cycling and encouraging people to make it part of daily life.

She said: “It’s perfect for me, I love cycling so to be able to go out and talk to young people about it and get them doing it for themselves is just great. My biggest thrill is seeing youngsters I’ve talked to turn up at the track to give it a go.”

Councillor Judith Rowley, lead for fair and safe transport on the West Midlands Transport Delivery Committee, said: “We could not be more proud of Hannah’s achievement. She is a marvellous ambassador for active travel and a superb role model for young people attending our sessions.”

Centro, soon to be dissolved and its powers transferred to the new Transport for West Midlands – the transport arm of the incoming West Midlands Combined Authority , promotes sustainable and active travel across the region.

Next stop on the trophy trail for Hannah is round 3 of the 4X World Series in the Czech Republic in July. Meanwhile she continues her punishing training regime, alongside British number one and fellow West Midlander Scott Beaumont.