Ruaridh gives the home crowd something to shout about

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TWO days of torrential downpours over the weekend failed to dampen the spirits of the riders and supporters at the third round of the European iXS cup at Innerleithen, writes Ian Linton.

The extremely challenging conditions made it a level playing field for all the competitors, so it was down to who could stay upright and push the limits of grip.

Stow’s Ruaridh Cunningham did not disappoint. After he took the fastest time in seeding on Saturday, the crowd were out on Sunday to cheer him on to take the Elite win from Brook Macdonald by 3.5 seconds. Third place on the day went to Innerleithen’s Lewis Buchanan who was just half a second slower than Brook.

Tenth place in the elite is also worth a mention as it went to Jedburgh’s Pete Williams, who is still limping after breaking his leg a few months back. Not only that, but he also broke his collar bone a few weeks ago. Riding through the pain barrier to gain valuable British Championship points was well worth it as Williams can now compete in the event next month.

Innerleithen’s British Enduro champion Gary Forrest made a return to the downhill racing in the open class. Not having a downhill bike, he competed on his enduro/xc, but still showed he had the skills. In Saturday’s seeding run, his time was in the top five fastest of the day. On Sunday he took the win by a clear 14 seconds over Douglas Chalmers with Sam Johnston in third.

Jess Stone won the Elite women’s race by 15 seconds over Sweden’s Josefine Bjorkman, while 40 seconds back in third was Rosie Smith. There was only one rider in the under-17 female class and that was Charlotte Mallen-Martin.

Dave Wardell won the tight battle in the masters class over Jack Tattersall by just a second, with Uplift Scotland’s David Tallontire in third a further three seconds back on the winner.

Again with only three seconds splitting the top three in the under-17 male class, Taylor Vernon took the win over Daniel Farley with Will Weston in third place.

The weather could have been better – not sure it could’ve been any worse – but every rider I spoke to said they had a fantastic experience and would come back here for sure, as it was a fantastic venue to ride.