Race report, photos and video from Alpine Bikes Winter Series Round 2 at Innerleithen, Scotland from the pen of Steve Tomlinson.
Adam Brayton – 6th place today for the Mythic rider
After Round 1s wet and wild antics, it was good to check the weather report on the Thursday before Round 2 to see that rain was deemed ‘highly unlikely’. I didn’t realise this would bring about the earliest barbeque of my life, which sort of set the tone for the weekend I guess.
Bright kit was getting broken out this weekend with dry-ish trails and no rain
Rumours were flying around that the track would be steeper than the fitness based round one track, with bikes skills and the carrying of speed high on the agenda for this weekend. The rumours turned out to be true and the track was brilliant, a true Innerleithen bar bashing beast, with true knuckle-smashing capabilties it was tight in places, but overall quite fast and scary. The faster you rode it the closer those trees got and i saw more than a couple of squished pinkies over the course of the weekend. The course went straight out of the start hut and into the Gold run firing you out across the fire road at a hell of a speed before dropping straight back in for some more ‘Scottish Tree Slalom’. Whilst being taped quite narrow for the majority of the track there were portions of width, offering line choice for those with the skill and nerve to take on the faster options at point-five-past-light-speed. The stepdown just before the road crossing was causing problems all weekend for many of the riders, with many ending up in the crashpads on the fence or sliding across the freshly gravel coated tarmac. A quick sprint to the finish was all that remained to round up over 3 minutes of solid descending for most. The new Saracen Bikes were there in tha Alpine Bikes tent for demo all weekend and i was quite surprised to see that the Myst was hardly in the stand for most of the Saturday Practice, with it doing many a trip down the trail. Expect to see a few of these at the races this season
Down to the racing, and with Borderline Events hoping to add a little excitement with the full use of the hotseat for all the way through the first runs and as frequent as possible for the remainder of the weekend, as the true hotseat man would be last down. Timed runs kicked off with the Juveniles, a category that was had both rounds of runs won by Frazer McCubbing of Ae bikeshop with a 17 second margin for the big lad. Niall Oxley, son of cyclings wildest beard, Ed came 2nd for Great Rock/Nuke Proof with Andrew Dorritt for Fox/NukeProof rounding out the podium in 3rd
Joe Barnes, 0.29s of the podium in quite a decent Regional Elite field
Up to Youth, and Dan Farley (wheelbase.co.uk) finished 3rd behind Ross Wilcox (I-cycles) Rider worth noting in youth was 4th placed Miles Coltart who seemed to sit in the hot seat forever during first runs, being one of the first riders down and was in 3rd until he was bumped off the boxes by the 4th last rider. However, taking the win was young George Gannicott (Bikesoup)
Junior next, and this had a field of super fast young riders (all the top ten would have troubled the top step in seniors, 8 of them setting a time capable of winning) In 3rd place was Chris Reynolds for Leatt/Mtb essentials.co.uk, Joe connell slotted his Sunn nicely into 2nd place with Lewis Buchanan powering home as the only rider to go sub 3 minutes, he did this with a time of 2:59.50 for aboard his Chain Reaction Cycles NukeProof Scalp
Joe Connell, second here today was not to be sniffed at
Then it was the turn of the Masters and a surprise lengthy stay in the hot seat for unknown polish rider Krzysztof Marchewa. He proved it wasn’t a fluke by going some 5 seconds faster second time around to secure himself 5th spot. The podium in masters was occupied by David Tallontire, Jed Whitfield and Bikeactive.com’s Jamie Smith with Mats Lund of team Davros rounding out the top five, in 4th place.
McGlone busted his hand and still secured 4th in Juniors
Veterans came along next, with the top spots being taken up by Alastair Maclennan (NukeProof), Neil Wilson(Glentress Riders) and Rich Simpson (Balfa/Foes/ISO2) Maclennan destroying the rest of the field by 7.9 seconds to take the win ahead of Wilson
In the Seniors it was a Bored looking Steven Leonard (Alpine bikes) who sat in the hotseat for what seemed like ages, before finally being ousted by eventual Winner Lewis McLaughlin. Two on the trot this series for him. 2nd spot went to Gary Neale, less than half a second from the win and half a second ahead of 3rd place man, Thomas Pollock.
The women were out in force and i can’t remember the last time i saw double figures of women at a race, especially one in winter. Emma McRobb smoked it in the Senior women ahead of sara-jane Rennie and Jenna Woodruff. Morag Paterson took the win in Master women and Bex Reilly turn last months Result on its head in Elite Women, beating Angela Coates into 2nd place.
Finally came the Fastest categories, Expert and Elites with 10 in each category this too was quite a field which makes for more interesting racing
Experts changed places after every run and for commentary made it really difficult for me. Newly Promoted showed his skills in his new status as an expert level rider by posting the winning time in his first run. Dave Duggan and Rob Young followed in 1 and almost 3 seconds back respectively
Elites Came much in the same style of Expert with people constantly jostling the podium positions over the 2 runs. Joe Barnes looked gutted to miss the top 3 by a fraction and Harry Heath kept it steady for Fifth but it was an all Scottish Podium consisting of Fergus Lamb, ‘Pistol’ Pete Williams and eventual winner Ruaridh Cunningham Smashing his way to victory on possibly his first outing for his new team. ‘I didn’t come here to come second’ said Maxxis Rocky Mountain’s new signing early on saturday.
Cheers for reading,
Round 3 is on 2/3rd April, again at Innerleithen and can be found at http://borderline-events.co.uk/
Full results can be found at www.rootsandrain.co.uk
Video from John Duncan.