There is still time for budding mountain bike riders to compete alongside the world's elite as Innerleithen gears up for the iXS European Downhill Cup taking place from 14 to 17 June 2012. Pre-entries close on 11 June and an Open Category has been included, meaning that a race licence is not required.
Some of the World's top riders are already entered, including Kiwi Superstar Brook MacDonald and 2011 European Series winner Markus Pekoll (AUT), with a number of the top race teams joining them. Organisers are urging riders from throughout the UK and the rest of the world who want to take on this challenge to sign up before the deadline.
The Scottish Borders town is a World Class mountain bike downhill venue and that recognition, coupled with the success of the last visit of the iXS European Downhill Cup in 2010, has seen the high profile series return this year. A purpose built track is under construction for the event with a fantastic mix of natural lines and manmade features perhaps best seen in the finish arena, where a “boneyard” awaits the racers at the bottom of the course.
Commenting the course designer, Steve Deas of Innerleithen MTB Racing and local bike store i-cycles, said: “This year we are focussing on making the course bigger and better. We are using heavy mechanical diggers for the first time on finish section on the hill and my advice to the riders is to be prepared for an exhilarating finish.”
Dave Munro from the Scottish Downhill Association, who will be on the mic all weekend, added: “I am delighted to have been invited to join the iXS Crew at Innerleithen in 2012. Last time the event was held at Innerleithen I marshalled up at the top quarry jump; quite an exciting place to witness the insane speeds that the riders achieve.”
The winner of the Elite Male category two years ago was Ben Cathro of Sick Skills MTB Coaching and Guiding, who said: “The last iXS at Innerleithen was a brilliant race for me. The track was specially built for the event and was by far the best I have ridden at Innerleithen and probably one of the best in the country. It was a really well run race and winning it was pretty special as well considering the high level of competitors. I look forward to racing it again in 2012.”
The Programme of Events starts on the evening of Thursday 14 June 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.
The main event is a traditional downhill event with uplift service direct from the finish area and kicks off with a practice session on Friday 15 June, with the official launch party in the evening.
Saturday 16 June sees further practice and qualifying with a Kids mini DH competition during the day and a Dual Slalom competition in the evening. Both of these events are ideal for spectators as the action comes thick and fast. Saturday also sees the Innerleithen Pipe Band Championships take place in the town and a parade of the massed pipes and drums and the iXS Downhill Cup competitors along Innerleithen High Street in the early evening.
On Sunday 17 June there is the final practice and race runs followed by the prize presentations. This is the culmination of the whole weekend and spectators are advised to arrive early to be sure of a good vantage point on the track. The racing will be fierce and the action intense.
Innerleithen MTB Racing is supported by EventScotland and Scottish Borders Council as event partners with BT Infinity as headline sponsor. There is further support from i-cycles, The Bike Lodge, Alpine Bikes, Trail Perfection and Aim Up.
Further information and details on the event can be found at the official site: http://www.ixscupinnerleithen.com/or find us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/IXSCupInnerleithen and Twitter @ixscupinners.
Thursday 14 June
11:50 Olympic Torch Relay on Innerleithen High Street
19:30 Film Night at Innerleithen Union Club
Friday 15 June
11:00 Rider sign-on opens
12:00 Course open for inspection
12:00 Event Arena opens
14:00 Course opens for practice session
18:00 Course closes for practice session
20:00 Launch Party at Traquair Arms Hotel
Saturday 16 June
08:00 Course open for practice session
08:00 Event Arena opens
10:00 Kids under 16 DH race in Traquair Forest
14:30 Qualifying runs start
17:30 Course closes
18:00 Dual Slalom at Event Arena – open to all
Sunday 17 June
08:00 Course open for practice session
08:00 Event Arena opens
12:00 Course closes for practice session
12:30 Final Race Runs start
17:00 Podiums and Event Finish
About Innerleithen MTB Racing
We are an Innerleithen based race team and event promoter with supported riders in many cycling disciplines. Our main supporter is i-Cycles bike shop (www.i-cycles.co.uk). We are a 'not for profit' volunteer organisation with the aim to stage fun, friendly and challenging events for all disciplines of mountain biking. Over the last three years we have organised the British Cross Country (XC) Championships, numerous XC and Multi-Stage Enduro races, a Mini DH race series for under 18s and the very successful iXS European Downhill Cup.
EventScotland is the national events agency.
EventScotland is working to make Scotland one of the world's leading event destinations. By developing an exciting portfolio of sporting and cultural events EventScotland is helping to raise Scotland's international profile and boost the economy by attracting more visitors. For further information about EventScotland, its funding programmes and latest event news visit www.EventScotland.org
The Year of Creative Scotland 2012 will spotlight and celebrate Scotland's cultural and creative strengths on a world stage and is a Scottish Government initiative led in partnership by EventScotland, VisitScotland, Creative Scotland and VOCAL.
More information and resources to help businesses engage with Year of Creative Scotland are available at: www.visitscotland.org/yearofcreativescotland-toolkit
About BT Infinity
BT Infinity is a new broadband product that uses the latest fibre optic technology to provide a much faster and more powerful internet connection.
BT Infinity offers download speeds of up to 300Mb a second, much faster than standard broadband delivered over copper wires. Note that as every phone line is different, the actual speed you get will vary.
BT is investing £2.5 billion on its fibre broadband programme throughout the UK. In 2011, Innerleithen was announced as one of the winners in the “Race to Infinity” campaign following a successful community campaign.