Mountain bike bonanza on way to Borders

Junior World Champion Ruaridh Cunningham braved the foul weather on Tuesday to jump high over members of the Innerleithen Pipe Band.
Junior World Champion Ruaridh Cunningham braved the foul weather on Tuesday to jump high over members of the Innerleithen Pipe Band.

INNERLEITHEN is gearing up for a major mountain biking coup this summer.

From June 14 to 17 the iXS European Downhill Cup rolls into town for the only UK round of Europe’s premier downhill mountain bike race series.

The world’s best male and female downhill racers will pit their skills against each other at the spiritual home of the UK downhill scene. A number of fringe events will keep spectators and riders entertained and there will even be an appearance by the Olympic Torch.

Organised by Innerleithen MTB Racing, the event has BT Infinity as headline sponsor. James McClafferty, BT Scotland’s partnerships director, said: “BT is really excited to be involved in the biggest event on Innerleithen’s calendar and is particularly keen to support the community benefit that can be realised through our sponsorship of the event.”

This is the biggest downhill race in the UK outside the World Cup at Fort William and follows the huge success of the event held at Innerleithen in 2010 when more than 300 competitors raced on a specially constructed one-off track through Traquair Forest, watched by several thousand people.

Duncan Nisbet of Innerleithen MTB Racing, said: “This year we are focusing on the expected 3,000 spectators just as much as the riders and the event arena will be a centre for competitors and spectators alike, with lots to do, see, buy and try.”

The programme of events starts on the evening of Thursday June 14 with a film night showcasing some local riding and filming talent. Earlier in the day, the Olympic Torch passes through Innerleithen on its relay round the UK.

In addition to EventScotland, Scottish Borders Council is an event partner with BT Infinity as headline sponsor. There is further support from i-cycles, The Bike Lodge, Alpine Bikes, Trail Perfection and Aim Up.