It was an extravaganza! Rider after rider hammered down the spectator-lined sculpted turns of Gold Run. Kids cheered and heckles rang out loud as the loose cannons let their wheels hang out in the crazy turns, dust exploded from berms, the atmosphere crescendoed and the riding grew wilder and wilder. Round 2 of the POC Scottish Enduro Series was going off in style.
The term ‘world-class’ is certainly overused these days, but when it comes to the iconic riding destination of Innerleithen, describing it as being world class is no boast. With countless trails dropping from the hills into the valley floor, super long runs and everything from mellow family trails to balls-to-the-wall gnar fests that give even the best riders the heebie-jeebies, the Tweed Valley has it all. It must be doing something right, just look at the top 20 EWS results, Katy Winton, Lewis Buchanan, Mark Scott and Ruaridh Cunningham all call the Tweed Valley home, that is some serious enduro royalty. It’s no surprise then that the valley proved to be another sell-out success for the POC Scottish Enduro Series.
After a sunny start to the season in Laggan, organisers No-Fuss must have their voodoo weather dance dialled as once again the trails were dry and dare we say it, dusty! The 40 Km loop featured five stages that took in some of the valleys most iconic trails, from the classic ‘Classic’ to the newly reworked ‘New York New York’ a trail that has never before been raced, over 20 minutes of full-gas, high-thrills racing. The trails had all received a lot of work prior to the event and racers were in for a treat, conditions were perfect and there was not a drop of mud in sight. The course first wound its way over Caberston hill for some steep-and-deep action on Waterworld New York New York – my ears are still burning from some of the industrial A-grade swear words – before crossing through Innerleithen and back up onto the downhill trails of Plora Rig. The day would finish with a final blast down the fresh new trail built at the bottom of the infamous Gold Run DH track, a collection of turns so steep, supportive and fun that rumour has it that the valley pinners pull so many G’s they need to wear inflating trousers to avoid passing out mid-turn. Lined with spectators, this was the place to enjoy 15 seconds of fame, or a long noisy walk, loose cannons were going off everywhere, dust, drifting and wild riding, just wait for the video.
Certainly, the fiercest stage of the day was in No1 Peebles Road coffee house and Loulabelles Sweet Treats, where the race to see who could get space for lunch and grab a flapjack before 300 hungry riders stripped the cupboards bare was bordering on almost prison rules. After a great day of racing, many riders will have left vowing to come back and session some more of the Tweed Valleys choicest trails.
When it comes to the results, it was always going to be a tough battle for the top step with such a local talent pool, Lewis Buchanan was always going to be the man to beat, already taking victory at the first round, but he would have it easy, being chased by Christo Gallagher, Chris Hutchens, Gary Forrest and James Shirley. In the end though, he pulled everyone’s proverbial pants down, winning every stage and putting over a minute into Christo Gallagher and Gary Forrest. In the women’s class, the overall fastest lady of the day was Ella Conolly, the 2017 EWS champion keeps going from strength to strength, winning every stage, but Polly Henderson is closing the gap, only 48 seconds behind. Congratulations to all the rest of the winners, Paul French, Calum Mcgee, Calum Johnson, Roz Newman, Brad Illingworth, Janey Kennedy, Scott Mears, Steve Bradley and Darren Scott in the Grand Vet Male, Hardtail, Junior Male, Master Female, Master Male, Senior Female, Senior Male, Super Grand Vet Male, Veteran Male catagories respectlvely. Also congratulations to Kirsten Thomson and John Storey who won the short course.
The next round is in Ae on the 16-17th June! Get signed up.
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