Watching the downhill mountain biking on BBC2 on Sunday it struck me that this is what they do in Switzerland in the summer. What to do with ski run when it runs out of snow? Answer knock out a basic trail through the nearby woods and get people padded like the Michelin Man to bomb down it on very expensive bikes. Beyond that it did not seem a hell of a lot different from downhill racing. Cowbells were even heard.

How popular the sport is though seemed tested by all the competitors we saw being permed from four countries (5 UK, 6 French, 2 Canadian and one Japanese). Not only that but the times which were being improved on were often smashed by chunks of four or five seconds at a time. From someone used to the split second timing of skiing, this is a huge gap suggestive of a pretty flimsy sport. I also thought one of the key points of mountain bikes were their abilities to actually go up hill. I’m not suggesting I could have negotiated these courses on my Raleigh Budgie, but bombing downhill seems only mildly removed from half the stunts on Jackass.