Scottish Champs Dunkeld
It was the original seat of the chief bishop of the mysterious kingdom of the Picts. In 849AD Dunkeld became the religious centre of Scotland when St Columba’s relics were moved here from Iona for safe keeping from increasing Viking raids.
However, little of what you see today in Dunkeld is earlier than 1689.
The Hermitage is a folly created by the Dukes of Atholl in the 18th century, dedicated to the semi-mythical poet Ossian – who is supposed to have lived and written his heroic verse around the 3rd century, built at the side of a superb waterfall on the River Braan near Dunkeld. Around the hermitage are some of the tallest trees in Britain and a beautiful walk up the riverside through woodlands.
In modern times we all relate Dunkeld for MTB and this weekend was the host for the Scottish Downhill MTB Champs this year set in the beautiful Hermitage Forest Park. The forest has some of the largest trees in the country and also some of the steepest rockiest terrain for mountain biking.
Saturday practice was a bit of a wash out as the rain just got heavier as the day went on and with the amount of roots and rocks on the hillside it was a slippy affair to say the least. Sunday morning was dry and sunny and the heavy rain over night had altered the track conditions yet again. Come race time the track was beginning to run a bit slower as it dried and the mud got stickier.
Lewis Buchanan has been training and riding out in Europe for the last 3-4 weeks (a the life of a pro) for his MS Evil racing team. This weekend saw Lewis return to Scotland to compete in his National Champs race.
On his first race run Lewis put down a time of 2.15.2, which was to be the fastest time of the day, and good enough for the junior win. On his second race run his front wheel hit a large rock hard, sticking a large 12” flat spot in his d-max rim and busting a few spokes, thankfully he wasn’t hurt in this crash.
The Champs race pits all seniors, experts and elites together in one nice large category for the Elite title, which this year saw a depleted entry from the Elites through injury and clashing with the ever-popular Mega Avalanche. Perth City Cycles rider Fergus Lamb took the win with a time of 2.18.9, 2 seconds back in second place was Scotty Laughland with Chris Hutchens riding for Transcend/Orange getting the 3rd step on the podium.
All Terain’s Fraser McGlone blew the youth category away again with another win, in a time that gave him the 6th fastest time of the day. I-Cycles rider Stuart Wilcox was 8 seconds back in second place with AlpineBikes Joe Connell in third.
In the woman’s category it was the Glentress Rider and Café owner Emma Guy returning to the race scene who took the win over Trek-Extreme Medic’s Jaymie Mart in second place, Uplift Scotland’s Bex Reilly had to settle for the 3rd spot on the podium.
Veterans class this weekend saw Neil Wilson riding for Glentress Riders take the win over hungover Stevie Boyd in second place, Kem Avis came home in third.
Zander Fagerson took the Juvenile win this weekend with a healthy 15-second gap over second place AE Bike shop rider Frazer McCubbing, 0.4 of a second back was Innes Graham in third who just edged out Drew Carters by .006 of a second.
Full results here