SLIPPING AND SLIDING FOR THE FINAL – ScottishPower Mini-DH Final Race Report, Fort William 6th June 2015

Registration, track walk and practice runs went without a hitch and the weather did little to curb the young racers’ spirits as parents attempted to seek respite from the persistent rain. The course had a fantastic mix of tricky, rooty single track followed by some fast stone trail before breaking once again into more muddy terrain with a steep descent and ending with a fast ‘motorway’ style track emulating the World Cup track Aonach Mor is famous for. With the relentless rain the track was becoming muddier and muddier, the roots more and more slippery and the steep descent nothing less than treacherous! It took a brave rider to try and beat their first time as conditions worsened but cycling is well known for bravery and this was no exception.


Emily Carrick-Anderson (Peebles CC) in the U10s knocked a couple of seconds off her first-run time to take a comfortable win over Aimi Kenyon (Black Isle MTB) and Heather Wilson in third. A phenomenal performance by these young ladies on a tricky course; treacherous in the day’s conditions.

The U10 boys was a closely fought battle between Harry Hemmingway, Hector Paterson and Cory Muir (West Highland Wheelers) with less than six seconds between them. Hemmingway stayed strong to take the top step over the other two in second and third respectively.

The U12 girls unfortunately had riders absent making it an elite field of two. But that didn’t detract from the competiveness with both Abbie Stoddart and Skye Donnelly (Glasgow Riderz) fighting it out between themselves. Stoddart put in a strong second run through the mud to take the win with Donnelly taking a well earned, if inevitable second.

The U12 boys class is always a strong and hard fought battle with at least seven riders fighting in contention for the top spot. The first run saw less than half a second between the top four riders with Corran Carrick-Anderson (Peebles CC) just 0.22s ahead of Zander Millar Todd (Highland Bikes Race Team) in second. The second run in worsening conditions was going to see these boys putting everything on the line and they certainly did. Millar Todd successfully shaved almost 2s off his first time to go into the hot seat skipping and jumping the wet roots like a spring lamb putting the pressure on the following riders. Ryan Brannen (Leslie Bike Shop) looked the fastest through the roots but his second race-run time couldn’t match his first and he had to settle for third place. James Wilson (Wolfpax Riders) also succumbed to the cold conditions not able to match his first time and took fourth spot. Carrick-Anderson had his bars between his teeth using his superior power and greater experience, taking a direct line through the gnarl and over the finish line knocking off almost 5s and, in the end, taking a comfortable win.

With Polly Henderson (Stewarty Wheelers) and Tea Jenson, younger sister of Junior downhill racer Hope, the U14 girls was going to be exciting. Henderson, first on course had a solid first run setting a pace that neither Jenson nor the other riders could match. Although over a minute slower in her second run she held the lead with Jenson finishing 8s behind and Charlotte Higgins in third.

The older, U14 boys relished the mud with Charlie Aldridge (Stirling Bike Club) the first rider of the day to beat 1min 10s and comfortably taking the lead over Chris Cumming and Lewis Kelly (Black Isle MTB) after one run. Finlay Watt joined the top four after a stormer of a second run to take the second step knocking over 6s off his first run. Cumming, Kelly and Jake Ebdon finished their second runs taking third, fourth and fifth respectively.

The U16 male and females were beginning to get a raw deal by their second runs as the track was saturated and had become badly rutted making it somewhat challenging. But times were good as Emily Field (Stirling Bike Club) took the lead after her first run over Chloe Cumming (East Coast MTB) and Claudia Forbes-Walker. Their positions remained the same after their second encounter with the track.

The boys category has once again been closely contested and an exciting one to watch through all the preliminary rounds with Jack Devlin and Ben Clerkin, both from East Coast MTB putting in quick times making the other boys work hard to challenge. Unfortunately Devlin wasn’t on the start line allowing Miles Reid to ride the fastest time of the day 1:06.07 and take the win for the third year running. Adam Burgoyne, second, Clerkin third and David Bowman (Black Isle MTB) fourth with Alasdair Ekin in fifth.

Photos: Mark Goodwill/thepressroom.cc