SELKIRK is set to host a live televised mountain-bike race this summer – through its streets, closes and town centre.

Talks are at an advanced stage between event organisers and BBC Scotland for the country’s first screened-live urban downhill championship race to take place in either August or September.

Up to 60 leading national and international racers from across the country will take part in the two-kilometre race from the Ladylands petrol station area down towards the riverside.

As well as attracting thousands of spectators, the event will be watched by tens-of-thousand live on the BBC Scotland channel.

Paul McGreal from organiser Durty Events said: “There is still much to organise but the exciting part is that the BBC like the idea and the intention is this will be one of their Friday night live broadcasts.

“We have also held early talks with Scottish Borders Council and they are supportive.

“The reality is that not many places could hold such an event – there are not many towns with the height difference from start to finish – and we’d love it if the urban downhill could become an annual event.”

Tens of thousands of spectators line the streets of Valapraiso in Chile every year for the Cerro Abajo urban downhill race.

And similar races in Europe and other parts of South America draw similar large crowds.

A provisional route through Selkirk takes in areas such as the Fleshmarket steps, several ancient closes around the high street, and the steep and narrow 100-steps leading down to Mill Street.

Mr McGreal added: “There are some very famous urban races in South America and we know that Selkirk lends itself well to this type of race.

“Mountain bike people in their hundreds if not thousands will come to watch this.

“If we can get thousands of people on the streets of Selkirk it will look amazing.”

The organisers and BBC Scotland are currently aiming for the Selkirk Urban Downhill race to go ahead on either Friday, August 21 or Friday, September 4.

The early evening event will be run in similar fashion to normal downhill racing with the riders, going off every one or two minutes, racing against the clock.

The event has already won support from the town’s community council.

Chairman Alistair Pattullo said: “Event tourism is definitely the way forward and this will be a great boost for Selkirk.”

Fellow community councillor David Deacon added: “This is a great opportunity for Selkirk to host a major event.”