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SDA 2012 Round 1- Innerleithen

Downhill is dead! Long live Downhill!
Some people I have talked to recently (including industry insiders) have reckoned that Downhill is dead in favour of Enduro-type events. Whilst it’s true that Enduro has been increasing greatly in popularity, it was also true that the numbers certainly came out in force for the first SDA of the year at Innerleithen. Judging by the number of new Scalps on the hill, I am pretty sure that Nukeproof don’t think that DH is dead!
Anyway, on to the race. The track was basically the Gold Run with a few wee extra inside lines here and there to keep you on your toes. The course had a bit of a mixed response with some thinking it was a bit too tame and a bit of a “one-liner” whilst others loved it and enjoyed the grin-factor. Did it give too much of a home advantage to those Innerleithen regulars? Answers on a postcard please….

Ben Cathro was advertising his new SickSkills courses and held an evening manualing competition. Great fun and some pretty amazing skills on show. When it came to the race Ben himself placed 19th overall, not maybe up to his usual standard perhaps, but absolutely incredible when you consider he was riding a 4’ carbon Santa Cruz Tallboy (how apt!!) with 29” wheels. Hopefully his business venture takes off and he can show that he does indeed have “da skillz to pay da bills!”

Ruaridh Cunningham pinned round the last big berm heading for the elite win sporting his new British Elite Champs POC jersey

Current British Champion Ruaridh Cunningham went under the surgeon’s knife at the end of last season for some shoulder correcting surgery to help keep in place. Back to full fitness now and riding for a new privateer team in 2012, new carbon fibre Trek bike supplied by Alpine Bikes and kit supplied by POC. Last weekend he crashed out badly hitting a tree hard with the newly sorted shoulder, it was only on Thursday he decided to race this weekend as he felt it would hold up and needed some time on the new bike. Come Sunday this decision was proving to be a good one as after the first race run he was leading the field of Elite riders by a clear 8 seconds! This time was to prove good enough for the victory as the second race runs didn’t affect this time as he beat second place Greg Williamson by 5 seconds with Fergus Lamb in 3rd place a further half second back on Greg.

Monster Bikes Ronan Taylor easily won the Expert’s with a time of 3.01.6 almost 10 seconds quicker than Allan Findlay’s 3.10.9 with Dave Duggan getting the third step on the podium with a time of 3.13.3.

Monster Bike rider Ronan Taylor carring on his winning form from last year

Fresh from his win last weekend at the first British BDS Base MTB student Christopher Gallagher continued his winning form by taking the senior win over James Ramsey, good weekend for the Borders Base MTB rider’s as Daniel Carrigan took third place.

Christo Gallagher pinned down the Gold Run to take the senior win - 2 wins out of 2 races so far this year

Moray MTB Club’s John Young took the masters win this weekend even with a broken stem in run 2, Hope Tech’s Robert Jarmen took second place with that rather lovely green Giant Glory, with All Terain Cycles Jethro Whitefield taking third place.

John Young on his way to first place in masters

The old Veteran’s class is now getting very popular with 27 riders now competing; it was Uplift Scotland’s David Tallontire who came out top to take the win over Alastair MacLennan with third place going to Alpine Bikes Neil Wilson.

Uplift Scotlands David "Tally" Tallontire on the steeper section near the bottom

The women’s race was won by a huge 22 seconds by new comer to the SDA series Rachael Walker All Terrain Cycles new signing, Emma Robb took second place with Charlotte Mallin-Martin in third

Rachael Walker on her way to victory in her first SDA race

Junior class is looked at as a stepping stone to the big time and winner today was Fraser McGlone who is already there and riding at World Cup level, not only did he win but also got the fastest time of the day by just under half a second over his mate and riding buddy Ruaridh Cunningham. Second place went another top junior and Base MTB Student Joe Connell with Lachlan Blair taking third.

Fraser McGlone is a very happy young man, after a few tweaks to the settings etc he's now very happy with how the bikes feeling this year

Perth City Cycles rider Sam Herd took the Youth win today with a time of 3.18.2 over Base MTB Student rider Drew Carters in 3.21.4,  third place went to Bike Track People’s Niall Morrison in 3.26.1

Perth City Cycles Youth rider Sam Herd on his way to winning the first round of the SDA

The young juvenile class this weekend was won by CHR’s James Purvis ina time of 3.22.6 a huge 43 seconds in front of Charles Cranston in second place, Innerleithen MTB rider Ross Swinton was 2 seconds back on Charles in 3rd place

Young James Purvis pinned down the steep last section on the Gold Run to take the Juvenile win

For the next round we move to Glencoe- a controversial track after a few unfortunate years of weather that had Noah readying his Ark, surely this year we are due blue skies and sunshine? Entries are still available, so stop worrying about it and put your name down- heat wave, I promise!*

Full results and all the photos from the weekend can be found on the Roots and Rain website.

(* fingers, arm and legs crossed!)

Over and out,
“The two Ian’s (McIntosh and Linton)”

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