There’s a real history of racing in the village of Innerleithen and it was more than ready to welcome back the Enduro World Series and the 3rd round of the European Continental Series.
The Village of Innerliethen, for those of you who’ve been hiding under a rock or just got into mountain biking, sits in the biking mecca of the Tweed Valley in the Scottish Borders. Racing in the area has been prevalent for well over two decades now so it was only fitting that a round of the European Continental Enduro World Series had a stop here in 2019.
The sold out event turned out to be a physical monster with the two day event pushing riders endurance and bike skills to their limit. After a day of open practice on Saturday, the six stage race would take riders to both sides of Innerliethen, the now famous ‘Golfie’ as well as the downhill tracks on Traquair side. The one day race would put 40 km into competitors' legs as well as nearly 2000m of climbing. Tough for even the fittest of riders. It was a big weekend!
As racing has been growing in the valley for almost 30 years, it was the perfect time to reflect on the history of the area and take the opportunity to capture and share a little bit of this history. This short film rewinds the clock to the earliest riders and racers through to the past few years of Enduro and of course finishes with the growing European Continental Enduro World Series event as the EWS circuit returns to the valley.
With an international field of riders from New Zealand to Norway and Chile to Andorra there would be some exciting racing amongst the changeable weather that would grace riders on the Sunday.
While the weather challenged riders in the morning, the clouds would lighten and the trails would, well, remain damp all day testing riders on every stage for a least 20 minutes of racing.
Racing gave riders all possible terrain options mixing fast open hillside with tight technical trails and even a little trail centre.
Having some of the UK’s fastest racers at the event was always going to bring out some good competition. Sadly a few names, due to injuries, were missing from the start list. Notably Mark Scott, Lewis Buchanan, Ruaridh Cunningham and Katy Winton.
The female category is ever expanding in Enduro and far exceeds what downhill races typically attract. Almost 20 females across the three age group categories pushed hard for podium spots. The standard is always increasing and times are getting tighter every year. It was superb to see such a strong female entrant.
The under 19 category fielded a huge entry of close to 50 riders and shows a real resurgence of young riders entering enduro events. Calum Johnson took a huge win on his home trails 40 seconds ahead of William Brodie in 2nd and Ewan Calton-Whitaker in 3rd.
It was always going to be a local lad taking the top step over the weekend. While Reece Wilson isn’t a regular Enduro rider, he’s fast as lightning and showed he’s got the speed to mix it up outside of downhil,l taking top honours. Christo Gallagher also put his trail knowledge to good use and rode solid to finish 12 seconds behind 1st on 21 minutes and 32 seconds. Vlogger sensation Ben Cathro ducked and dived all day to finish 3rd.
Jess Stone would claim a solid win taking 6 stage wins and squeezing a time in of under 27 minutes. Second place in the female category went to Jessie-May Morgan with Louise Borthwick rounding out the podium spots.
We’ll just leave you with the image below for you to ponder whether the rider rode it out or not. On inspection of the race results I can’t find the plate number anywhere...