Mud, midges, wellies….a theme is starting to develop for Scottish downhill races this summer. A week of wet weather leading up to the 3rd round of the iXS European Downhill cup, unfortunately left Innerleithen a bit of a mudfest (slight understatement!) by the time it came for final runs on Sunday. Thankfully the rain held off, but track conditions stayed tricky throughout the afternoon and quite a few runs ended up being more survival riding than anything else.
The field was dominated by British riders and a handful of European riders turning up to spend their weekend sliding around in the mud. More than a few riders suffered mechanical faults and crashes including Ben Cathro and Fraser McGlone and in the end, the riders who had been the strongest on Saturday managed to keep the podium places on Sunday with the exception of Brook Macdonald who claimed 2nd place overall after only managing 20th in seeding.
Ruaridh Cunningham of Alpine Bikes Racing claimed the Elite Men win with Lewis Buchanan of team Chain Reaction Cycling in third.
The womens field was sadly only seven strong, and Jess Stone of Unior Tools Team took top honours, followed by Josefine Bjorkman from the Swedish National Team second, and Rosie Smith, BikeTart.com in third. MTBCut’s Hannah Barnes came fourth.
A special mention also goes to Wideopenmag rider Jay Williamson who made the long, long drive up from the south coast of Cornwall and scored a 32nd place – just 20 seconds off the winner. Well done Jay!
Next round is in Italy on the 4/5th August…hopefully just enough time for people to have dug their vans out of the Innerleithen mud.