iXS European Downhill Cup Rd1
This weekend saw the hugely popular European iXS Downhill Cup series come to Great Britain for the first time, Innerleithen was chosen as the venue to host first round of the race series. Being the weekend before the second round of the UCI World Cup at Fort William there were many big name teams and riders entered for the race. It would be a good test for some of the best riders in the UK to compete against the top riders in the world, and they in turn would get to test themselves on one of the best venues in the UK.
Steve Deas, Martin Hodgson and a team of hard working local riders and helpers had built a totally new track for this race. From the top a new Euro style start ramp had been built, from there it cut through the trees to the old start hut then down to the quarry over the road jump then down the tunnel. 50 metres down the tunnel it took a left into more new track across the natural bumpy hillside down across some existing trails via some nice wooden drops to preserve them. They would be met by a large wooden drop onto the old XC route which caught out many riders due to the loose rocky landing, then over the fire road down round yet more wide loose rocky corners onto the old matador track for a short time before taking a hard left over a tricky wooden drop which again caught out a few riders.
Down the steep landing through the old stone dyke and over the gully jump which claimed many riders over the weekend including local lad Dave Young who has only just returned to racing, Dave has a nasty break in his elbow and has had to undergo surgery to put it right, hope you have a speedy recovery Dave and sorry I talked you into entering this weekend. From the gully jump you had a twisty tight section through the trees out over a jump into the field, yes field this is the first time in over a decade that this finish area has been used.
Changing weather conditions over the weekend made the track very tricky but it pretty much stayed very fast and flowed really well apart from the few rooty sections. Even though the weather wasn’t all that nice i.e. typically Scottish, the track was lined with spectators 4 deep at the bottom which was really good to see and hope the local people that came to spectate were impressed at what they saw.
Racing got under way on time with the senior none license holder’s first down winner in this category was Scott Elliot with second place going to Alan Boyne and third place to Benjamin Edwards.
Seniors were next up with local Galashiels rider Paul Webster taking the win from Ed Thomsett, Selkirk’s Scott Muirhead had to settle for third place.
Next up were the license holding riders with the Elite Women first on track, Germany’s Harriet Ruecknagel was in third place behind reigning World Cup series champion Sabrina Jonnier who lost out to Scott11 rider Floriane Pugin who took the win.
Masters saw another UK dominated podium with Dale McMullan taking the win for Chainreaction Cycles, Highline racing’s Callum Gault took second place over Jayson Cavill in third.
Under 17 male class was won by All Terrain Cycles Fraser McGlone with yet another class performance beating AlpineBike’s Joe Connell into second place with Finlands Riko Lansio taking third spot.
On Saturday, Innerleithen’s junior rider Lewis Buchanan riding for his new team MS Evil Racing upset the elite men’s category, putting in the fastest time of the day and being the only rider apart from current iXS champion Nick Beer to put in a time under three minutes.
Come race day though it was to be MTBcut.tv rider Ben Cathro who took the win with a time of 2.57.2 Young Lewis Buchanan proved he has the skill and quality by finishing just a second back on Cathro to get second place, closely followed by Matt Simmonds riding for Chain Reaction Cycles in third.
Full results and times can be found here www.ixsdownhill.com