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Reportage 2005
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SDA Scottish Championships 2004

Danny Hart

What a week we had in the run up to the SDA Championships at Innerleithen. Torrential rain for 3 days that almost washed away the cabin at the finish line. The car park was a foot and a half under water on Friday morning (see above) but somehow when Saturday came it was gone...weird.

With a capacity entry the SDA Champs this year was always going to be something a bit special but I didn't expect this...with the organisers under pressure all week with the flood and the dilemma about the parking, I bet a sigh of relief was felt when the rain stopped. The riders however were more concerned about the track...and that was the best bit...

Even with the amount of rain the hill had during the week, the course was perfect bar the stream flowing out of the hill side at the bottom of the course. The 39 steps however is now more like the 139 steps as the race took it’s toll on the already well worn line down through the steep twist’s. A change from last years round was the start high up on Plora Rig, under the new starting shed. Outta the shed it was hammer down for the first tunnel section in the top woods, stick to the middle to left line as you caught the right hand berm into the section of roots and stumps before crossing the wall and onto the top of the quarry. Over the quarry jump and land in the tunnel, with a tree in the middle of the line the best option here was to go right of the tree jump over some roots and then hard left into the top section of the 39 steps. The 39’s haven’t changed much except for the aforementioned wear and tear. Dropping out of the twist onto the bridle way the bus stops came fast as usual. 2 to the right and one to the left, then it onto that nearly new pedally section to avoid the Lycra boys on the xc course.

All in the name of research

Cross the second fire road and the speed is really picking up now as you un-weight and drop into “another brick in the wall” a couple of step downs later and you hit Hargreaves corner at speed through the fallen dyke (trans: stone wall) and back into the tight woods.

A few decision makers were up next…do you follow the well worn line around the trees or do you take the straight line risking a tangle with some unruly roots…the roots way was the faster as it made a complete straight line of it all. This section as always spat you out above the old mine field and onto the motorway with the hip jump. From here it was the same old Innerleithen bomb hole and all with the finish across the road and in the car park. A long course by Innerleithen standards, about 4:20 for the average rider.

As is normal practice at the Scottish Championships to win the title you must be either Scottish or been resident in Scotland for a number of years…for most of us that isn’t a problem but with most events at Innerleithen, they attract a large crowd from south of the border so a few names you may see at the top of the results are not in fact Scottish or live here so therefore the Championship defaults to the high placed Scot, simple really?

So onto the racing…with the course drying quicker than my Dainese in a breeze on my washing line, the turns were starting to break up a little, however this didn’t stop the Juveniles from setting silly fast times first run…Andrew Phillips set the pace in his first run with a 4:03 time. Danny Hart was runner up first run with a 4:05 but come the second run Danny found a couple of extra seconds on the hill and took the lead after Andrew lost time in his second run. Danny wins the Juveniles overall but Andrew however takes the Scottish Champs. Alistair Wilson rolls in third.

Graeme Forrest

Youth category seen the ever fast Ben Cathro take the overall and the Scottish Championship jersey, ahead of Thomas Pollock and Ruaridh Cunningham.

In Scotland right now everybody is looking to one man, David Young, local Innerleithen ripper and now, after a proving session in Les Gets, a member of the 2004 BG Team for the worlds. The double national champion however didn’t need to prove anything at this event with a stormer of a first run, Dave took the overall and the fastest time of the day again with a 3:29…If you just so happen to be looking for a very fast rider for 2005 then look no further. The Hub’s Gary Forrest could only get just within 3 seconds of Dave’s time for second place and Mike Strickland took the bronze.

The senior men category was the biggest field in the championships and a very hotly contested one as well. Local ripper Graeme Forrest has been dominating the whole SDA series all year and it was no surprise that he took the overall and the jersey today. In the silver medal position was young Stu Nicol who’s having a great consistent season. Out of retirement (;>) was Rob Pollock dusting off his 223 and the rest of the senior field with an excellent 3rd place here…I guess his time away from the races did him some good…welcome back Rob!

Next up was of course the women, with a 12 strong field of girlies the fight was on for the title. Emma Guy was back at the top after taking her 223 (probably a Hub demo bike!) to first place and the championships title. Karen Ballantine was the runner-up overall with Polly Harrison in third.

Emma Guy

47 entries in masters made it the second biggest class of the day, that meant the competition was hot or all us thirty something’s have little else to do on a Sunday in August…Wee John Finney continues his solo domination of the Scottish scene, the wee man rips big time…and he’s about my height! So there’s hope for me yet! However John may have got the overall but it was Simon Harrison who was pushing all the way to secure his Scottish Champs jersey from team mate and good pal Martin Hodgson.

Veteran racing in Scotland is all about one man at the moment, National Champion Alistair Maclennan was only racing against the clock this weekend as he ripped 23 seconds out of second place man Steve Felstead. Peter Mayo was a similar margin behind Steve in third.

Ian Macintosh is a one off, he’s the only guy I know who can turn up late with half a bike built, get one practice run in and then win an event. Mounted on his new Morewood, Ian dominated the Experts in True Scotsman style, flat out and hanging on for dear life…he’s now the 2004 Scottish Champion. Second place was only a “baw hair” away and that belonged to Stu Jenkison. Third place was Mark MacIver with yet another consistent finish.

Ian MacIntosh

Elite, with last years Champion playing away with his enduro it was left to the rest of the Scottish elites to claim his title. Stu Thomson did exactly that with a time only bettered by Dave Young, Stu took the overall and the Scottish jersey for the first time in his elite career. Steve Barker pushed Stu all the way with Tom Braithwaite tucked in his back pocket for third.

Stu Thomsom

Summing up…the course was fantastic as ever, the timing was spot on; I hope you’ve noticed it was all live as well! The transport was perfect….only waiting was after lunch break on Saturday…however the pedal along the road was a killer again…when’s that chairlift getting fitted! The parking was a bit of a nightmare but after the recent monsoon it was expected to be sticky.

Next round is the final round of the SDA Series in Fort William on the 12 Spetember.

Full Results

Thanks to Ian Linton for all his images, I hurt myself second run and didn’t manage to get up the hill.

Ben Cathro
Andrew Phillips
David Young
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