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iXS European Cup Rd3 Innerleithen

A week of hard graft and sunshine to get the the track finished and prepped for the race and you get 2 days of torrential rain before a damp race day. Must be summer-time up here in Scotland then ehh, and to cap all that off the midges were out in force – not as bad as up north but still biting like they’d been starved. The track for this race was pretty much as the one used 2 yrs ago, with a few tweaks. First of those was a new start hut where you just dropped down the ramp and straight into the trees, from there it was a peddle through a flattish section towards the old start hut then down to the right and then a little huck over the wall into the soft loamy section that was turning into a black treacle like mess. From there you took a left into a new section that was a tight and rooty and popped you out over the wall into a little hip jump that spat you over the face of the quarry down into the road crossing.

Pete Williams, yeah him that broke his leg not long ago and as soon as the cast was off then broke his collar bone. Here he is in his seeding run getting a creditable 31st – but he pulled the pin on race day and was sat in the hot seat for a while ending up 10th – he needed bc points and got them.

Just over halfway down the tunnel you took a left into a fast tight section that spat you out into an open grassy area then down into a wide choice of lines leading you to the first wooden drop over the gold run. Hard left after that and down through a twisty root laden part to the next wooden drop where the small one to the left was the fast line into a big left hand berm that had been built specially for the race. from here it was a case of keeping the speed up down to another drop over the pushup track, over this and down to the right and then left into the last but biggest drop over the old xc route down onto the fire road.

3 wise men discussing line choice through the black treacle

From the fire road you took the same track as last race down onto the matador track and 3 bus stops later just before the first big jump you hit the brakes hard and drop down left over the wood and down through the wall, or if you went just past the drop this could set you up for a more straight line over a jump through the wall. Down over the xc climb and through the stream into more liquid mud and roots for the next 50 mtrs then right into the field where the new big double had been built. Some riders where still carrying enough speed through here to do the jump but most were opting for the right hand side down into the berms which were full of sloppy mud, then it was a peddle to the line past the smaller jump and over the line.

After the disappointment of a front puncture at Fort William Ruaridh Cunningham put that behind him with an awesome race run here to take the win by 3.4 seconds from Brook Macdonald.

Jess Stone seemed to be enjoying herself as she took the win by 15.7 seconds over Sweden’s Josefine Bjorkman in second place, Rosie Smith was a further 42 seconds back in 3rd

Gary Forrest is currently riding enduro’s these days for Orange/Sweet protection, 3 weeks ago he had a huge crash and ripped the skin of his knee cap. On Friday he decided that he was fit enough to ride so he ride he did, taking the wee Orange 5 into first place in the open class 14.5 seconds in front of Douglas Chalmers with Sam Johnson in 3rd

Dave Wardell took the masters win over Jack Tattersall by a slim 1.7 seconds with David Tallontire in third

Taylor Vernon seemed to love the wet conditions taking the under 17 win over Daniel Farley with Will Weston in third

A weekend like this you’d expect a crash or 2 – so here’s one of Hannah Barnes about to get up close with the black stuff 🙂

Ruaridh giving Lewis Buchanan a champagne facial, it was good to see the young Scots up there on the podium

Duncan Nisbet of the event organiser said; “We’ve been treated to a fabulous weekend of racing in all categories and the riders have been really complementary about the track and overall organisation. It is quite a task to run an event of this magnitude and it just wouldn’t be possible without the army of amazing volunteers who give up their time so that competitors and spectators alike can enjoy the experience. I’d also like to thank the event sponsors, land owners, marshals, event catering and retailers for making it all possible. If only we could control the weather!”

Innerleithen MTB Racing is supported by EventScotland and Scottish Borders Council as event partners with BT Infinity as headline sponsor. There is further support from i-cycles, The Bike Lodge, Alpine Bikes, Trail Perfection, Glendinning Groundworks and Aim Up.
For full results, check the official website at: ixscupinnerleithen or find us on FaceBook and Twitter @ixscupinners.

All the best photos can be found over on Roots and Rain

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