Innerduro - Round 2 - Race Report

Brad Mathers' race report...Brad Mather

Event: Innerduro  - Round 2

Date: 2nd & 3rd March 2013

Place: Innerleithen - Scottish Borders

Riding: Empire Cycles MX-6

Result: 5th out of 85

This weekend saw the second round of the Innerleithen enduro series. This time round was a different layout to the previous round : All the action would take part on the Saturday. The winners would be decided over 4 timed race runs -  two in the light and the other two at night and the times would be added together to decide the winner.
Beginning of March you would expect to see a damper environment, this weekend proved us wrong, with sun all day the trails were dusty and fast. There was a good atmosphere around the place and all riders were keen to go.

Saturday - Practice & Race day all in one

Innerleithen once again didn't fail to please this weekend. The tracks were different to the previous round - it was a mix of all the top downhill tracks the hill has to offer, with tight steep sections to fast flowing turns and straights.
First run started off at the wooden hut and went down the well-known Ďcrestaí run, straight out the start and into a maze of roots and small rocks. The sun may have been out, but the ground was still damp and slick, this track was my type of riding with downhill sections nearly all the way - I was on familiar territory!
The track weaved through the top half and dropped you onto the first fire road, then dropped down into the woods were a fresh track had been built with large woops running most of the way. The route then dropped back onto another dh track where it brought you out at the second marshal point. This is where the sprint began, running 200m down an cross country climb it was fast, slamming on the brakes you had to do a complete U-turn and sprint back up one of the red trails xc routes. This part was hard, legs were burning and lungs gasping for air, you were rewarded for sprinting though, as you descended down a trail centre climb with flat drifty turns. Once through there you had one small sprint up the fire road before you dropped back into the last downhill section.
The downhillís at Innerleithen are probably some of the best tracks in the country!

Stage 2 improved things again... a sprint off the start line gave you some speed into a long right handed berm and into the woods. The track was pinned all the way down to the first fire road were you then dropped back into the woods. The path from here on could not be faulted, it was once of most enjoyable descents Iíve ever had! You couldnít help but grin as you were smashing turns, the fast straights held your speed well and kept you entertained by some fun jumps. Coming to the 3rd fire road you shot round a turn and pulled another U-turn into a 60m sprint up the road. Coming into this section hot, you dropped down a chute and into a more pleasurable downhill section. This track had more variety than the other track and was a bit more technical. Dropping onto the last fire road fast you had to suddenly slam on for a sharp left which went into some tight tricky switchbacks, out of the turns and into two more long rough, off camber turns and dropping into a small gully, pedalling out  over a small drop and you were finished! 

Once the day stages had been completed it was time for the night stages, by this time there was a few shattered looking faces knocking around the pits! :-) Climbing back up in just a t-shirt in march was not expected but it was that hot! Climbing up the hill had its perks though, seeing the sun going down over the mountains and chatting to friends about their runs made it enjoyable. Iíve never competed at night before so this was a first time experience for me. I donít know why Iíve never done it before!
Racing down these type of tracks at night gives a whole different perspective, if anything it makes you want to go faster. I completed all the stages and was tired by the end of it, but it was the best weekends riding Iíve had in a long time and canít wait to do more. In the end I came in 5th, I was very happy with this result and I could go and rest.
My Empire MX-6 is definitely built to compete at this level and I simply canít wait for the 3rd round at the end of this month!  
Bring it on!!! 


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