Cunningham shoulders past the opposition

Mountain biking Ruaridh Cunningham
Mountain biking Ruaridh Cunningham

THE first of five rounds of the Scottish Downhill Series kicked off at Innerleithen last weekend, writes Ian Linton.

Stow’s current British Champion Ruaridh Cunningham went under the surgeon’s knife at the end of last season for shoulder-correcting surgery. Back to full fitness now, Cunningham is riding for the new Privateer team in 2012. Last weekend, he crashed out badly while practising, hitting a tree hard with the newly-sorted shoulder, and it was only on Thursday he decided to race at the weekend.

Come Sunday, this decision proved to be a good one as after the first run he was leading the field of Elite riders by a clear eight seconds. In the second race he beat second-placed Greg Williamson by five seconds, with Fergus Lamb in third place a further half-second back. Innerleithen’s Lewis Buchanan, also recovering from a shoulder operation, has moved up to the Elite class this year and put in a good second run to get fourth place.

The juvenile class this weekend was won by CHR’s James Purvis by a huge 43 seconds over Charles Cranston. Innerleithen MTB rider Ross Swinton was two seconds back in third place.

Perth City Cycles rider Sam Herd took the Youth win over Base MTB student rider Drew Carters, with third place going to Bike Track People’s Niall Morrison.

The Junior class is looked at as a stepping stone to the big time. Fraser McGlone, who is already there and riding at World Cup level, not only won but also got the fastest time of the day by just under half a second over his riding buddy Ruaridh Cunningham. Second place went another top junior and Base MTB student, Joe Connell, with Lachlan Blair taking third.

The women’s race was won by a huge 22 seconds by new All Terrain Cycles signing Rachael Walker over Emma Robb, with Charlotte Mallin-Martin third.

The Veterans’ class proved popular with 27 riders competing and it was Uplift Scotland’s David Tallontire who took the win over Alastair MacLennan with third place going to Alpine Bikes’ Neil Wilson.

Moray MTB Club’s John Young took the Masters class win over Hope Tech’s Robert Jarmen, with All Terrain Cycles’ Jethro Whitefield taking third place.

Fresh from his win last weekend at the first British BDS, Base MTB student Christopher Gallagher continued his winning form by taking the senior win over James Ramsey. Peebles rider and Borders Base MTB rider Daniel Carrigan took third place.

Monster Bikes’ Ronan Taylor easily won the Experts class by almost 10 seconds over Allan Findlay, with David Duggan getting the third step on the podium.

The next round will be at the Glencoe Ski resort on May 19 and 20.