Grant Ferguson and Isla Short revelled in home comforts as they shone in Glentress Forest.
Ferguson, who topped the podium in Round Two, in Dalby Forest, last month, racked up a second successive 2018 HSBC UK | National Cross Country Series while Short, who also lives in the market town of Peebles, was imperious on her local track.
The amazing trails on offer at Glentress Forest provided mecca for mountain bikers and a combination of technically-demanding sections, coupled with a number energy-sapping climbs, made it a worthy battleground.
It's Fergie's time
Ferguson had learned his craft on these trails over the years and put his local knowledge to good use, easing his way effortlessly to the front after a fast start.
By the end of lap one, the CST American Eagle rider had carved a 16-second lead and over the next five laps, he steadily increased his winning margin, coming home nearly four minutes clear of nearest rival Arthur Tropardy.
“Obviously, this is my home track I so I knew quite a bit of it, so it was cool to race here I know lots of the spectators and the marshals and they were doing a great job.
“I thought I’d just have a go. The race started fast, so I moved up during the first lap, then decided to press on for a few bits to see who would come with me.
“I found myself out on my own, so I just kept up the pressure,” said Ferguson.
Tropardy produced a fine ride, chasing Ferguson hard throughout and leaving series contenders scratching their heads.
Only Christopher Rothwell looked ready to take him on the line with a fast finish, coming from seventh on the first lap to finish narrowly behind Tropardy.
Alexander Welburn consolidated his series position with a fourth-placed finish, taking him to second overall.
Isla makes Short work of the opposition
In the elite women’s race, Short and fellow Scot Kerry MacPhee were locked in a head-to-head scrap from the word go, leaving the riders behind chasing shadows.
By lap three, Short had made headway and then, in the feed zone, MacPhee lost valuable time and allowed her rival to take the win by just under three minutes.
“That was a bit of a battle out there to begin with. To be honest, I wasn’t sure I had her (MacPhee),” said Short.
“I don’t know what happened to her. I think she stopped in the pits, so I took my chance and really dug deep on the third lap.
“It’s really cool racing on my home trails. There’s a little bit of pressure to do well here, I guess – I didn’t have an excuse not to win here.”
A debut to savour
Cameron Mason enjoyed a dream mountain bike debut as he triumphed in the junior men’s category.
After being gridded last on the start line, he made short work of the riders in front, with only Joe Beckingsale able to keep apace with him.
When Beckingsale abandoned the race after two laps due to punctures, Mason was untouchable, taking a comfortable win nearly four minutes clear of second-placed placed Marcus Holmes.
Meanwhile, in the junior women’s section, Anna McGorum bested her second-placed finish in Dalby last time out, getting the better of Patsy Caines.
1. Grant Ferguson (CST American Eagle) - 01:37:10
2. Arthur Tropardy (Unattached) - 01:40:59
3. Chris Rothwell (BW Cycling) - 01:41:04
4. Alex Welburn (trainSharp Club) - 01:41:58
5. Tom Bell (Unattached) - 01:42:20
1. Isla Short (Habitat Mountain Bike Team) - 01:37:12
2. Kerry MacPhee (Unattached) - 01:40:17
3. Amy-Jo Hansford (Mud Sweat n Gears) - 01:48:38
4. Iwona Szmyd (Royal Dean Forest) - 01:51:46
5. Jane Barr (Velocity 44) - 01:56:51