Cunningham pushes too hard on last run

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THE final race of Innerleithen’s Alpine Bikes winter race series was held last weekend to cap off a well-run and successful event.

The track used for this final round promised to be a technical and fast track, which was exactly what it was.

After a bad crash dislocated his shoulder in Ireland the weekend before, Innerleithen’s Lewis Buchanan had to sit this race out and put all his efforts into getting ready for the first World Cup race in South Africa in two weeks’ time.

However, fresh back from a winter race in sunny California, Stow’s Ruaridh Cunningham was back home to compete.

After the first race runs the top three elite riders were only separated by less than a second with Ruaridh lying in second place behind Adam Brayton.

It was all going to go down to last runs when it began to rain, making the track conditions very greasy. Cunningham gave it his all and was looking good when he lost grip with his front tyre on one of the slippy corners near the end, crashing out and hitting a tree hard. There’s no doubt he’d have been up on his time from the first run, but as they say, that’s racing, and second place isn’t that bad.

Young George Gannicott again showed how much he’s come on by winning the youth category race on his newly-sponsored BikeSoup/I-Cycles Transition 450 bike by 15 seconds over second-placed rider Drew Carters, with third place going to Joe Paterson.

George’s brother Arran could only get an eighth place in the elite class, riding for the same team. It was good to see a few more young locals, including two young girls competing for Leader Bike Club. Christopher Kennedy placed seventh in the juvenile class and Rebecca Kennedy was third behind young Erin Maguire in the under-18 women’s class.

Frazer McCubbing won juvenile class by a huge 16 seconds over Nial Oxley in second place, with third going to Scott Tupper.

Hardtail (no suspension) class saw Richard Acott take the win over George Muncey in second place, with Peebles lad Malcolm Porter in third.

Joe Connell took the junior win over Mark Scott in second and Sam Flockhart grabbed the third spot on the podium.

Alastair Maclennan just pipped Glentress Riders’ Neil Wilson into second place to lift the veterans’ section with Bernard Plaisted in third.

Uplift Scotland rider David Tallontire won the masters race again to add to the last round’s victory, with second place going to James Hughes. Jed Whitefield had to settle for third.

Senior class saw Thomas Pollock take the win by five seconds over Lewis McLaughlin, while Jamie Scott was third.

There were only two women in the elite class and it was Uplift Scotland rider Bex Rielly who triumphed over Fox rider Angela Coates.

Ronan Taylor won the expert race over Andy Phillips, with Dave Duggan in third.