iXS Cup Innerleithen 29th -30th May. Local racer Lewis Buchanan matches the world's best!
Innerleithen played host this weekend to visitors across the world for the first round of the iXS Downhill Cup, a popular series making it's first call in Scotland in the week before our annual World Cup race at Fort William.
The event was very much in the European style, from the built up start ramp and then downhill onto the fast and challenging course. Hosted by Innerleithen Mountain bike Racing from the town, and support from Vattenfall and Our Scottish Borders. With massive input from the local community, mountain bike events brought welcomed visitors to the region.
The race was very well attended, with crowds standing four deep at the bottom of the course and making plenty of noise!
It was truly an international event, riders came to Innerleithen from all over Europe and as far away as New Zealand and Australia. European Champions Floriane Pugin and Nick Beer (also defending series champion) riding for Scott 11, were on the start list.
Claudio Caluori, Scott 11 team manager said: "The race in the Scottish Borders was very well organised and the speed of the local racers should be a challenge to the international athletes".
The local riders rode well and took the race to the international competitors. Lewis Buchanan from Innerleithen made the best time on Saturday, and to the excitement of the spectators went into the finals on Sunday as top seed.
"The track looked super rad. It was all fresh and I hadn't rode it before so I was keen. I did four runs and loved the course, I felt it suited me well and I really got in to it, nailed most of my lines and just cruised the last sprint section to the finish line. I ended up in the end seeding 1st ! I was pretty happy with that and didn't really expect my time to be the fastest with the run I had. But I got down smooth which I think was a key factor on this track. This weekend is packed with about 14 of the fastest riders in the world so it's going to still be really tough tomorrow for the finals."
Photo: Lewis Buchanan Tearing it up at the iXS
The rain overnight did little to dampen the course or the enthusiasm of the crowd, who settled in for an exciting days racing. First down the hill were the Elite women, who gave a decidedly continental feel to the podium with German Harriet Ruecknagel taking third, with her time of 3:50 for RSV Rederbech. Second was Maxxis/Rocky Mountain rider Sabrina Jonnier with a 3:32, whilst Scott11's Floriane Pugin put in a solid margin to take the win with a 3:28.
Whilst the Elite women's category was dominated by European riders, the podium for the 140 strong field of Elite men was an all British affair. Matt Simmonds took third in 2 minutes 58 seconds for Chain Reaction Cycles, whilst fastest rider of the day on Saturday, Lewis Buchanan, riding for MS Evil, settled for second place on Sunday, also in 2:58. Ben Cathro for MTBcut.tv came down the hill first, making the most of the track conditions given to him. Ben sat in the hot seat right to the end taking the win over Lewis, with a margin of just over a second and a final time of 2:57.
Lewis: "My run was pretty good everywhere and I pushed it as hard as I could. I didn't make any mistakes however I was a bit cautious on one little section on the middle part of the course due to me thinking the roots were slippery. I crossed the line and finished in 2nd place. I was just a second off first place which was taken by Ben Cathro.. I was really happy with this result. Winterberg last weekend and this weekend were 2 really good results for me! I look forward to Fort William World Cup next weekend and I hope to do well there."
Cllr Graham Garvie, Executive member for Culture Sport and Community learning said:
"I was thrilled and proud to read about the success of our local lad, Lewis Buchanan, at the iXS Downhill race. Local success stories such as this one are indicative of how popular mountain biking is both in a local context and an international one, and the benefits are two-fold. This latest achievement will benefit local economy and will show young people that exercising in the outdoors can be both exciting and challenging"
Cllr Vicky Davidson, Executive member for Economic Development and Regeneration said:
"I am delighted we were able to attract such a major European event as the iXS Downhill to Innerleithen and that it proved such a successful event. The iXS organisers have already said they want to return next year and with local riders in the medals it shows that mountain biking in the Borders is going from strength to strength. I would like to offer Lewis my congratulations on such a sporting achievement, and look forward to following his progress in the future"
All in, this was a great event which went down well with the majority of riders who really enjoyed the challenging and different track and racing with international racers; all topped off by crowds of spectators lining the track, enjoying the spectacle and shouting encouragement at riders. Hopefully the iXS circus will roll into Innerleithen again in 2011.
Full Results can be viewed here (.pdf format)