Nick: I was really pumped for this race as when the IXS came to Innerleithen two years ago the event was run so well and the course was one of the best I have ever been on. However unlike two years ago when the weather was bone dry this weekend was completly wet and muddy. I knew that the nature of the track combined with the wet conditions were going to make for some difficult going.
Photo copyright of Ian Linton
Friday's practice went really well, as tough as the track was it beginning to bed in nicely. It was pretty much the same as before with a couple of the big drops in the middle of the track and the addition of some jumps in the finishing field. I had stupidly forgotten my spiked mud tyres, a lot of sections were impossible to get any grip on and I had a massive stack at the bottom of the course. I just couldn't get any grip and didn't have any opportunity to hit the jumps with the speed needed. They were a good size however on the track-walk we realised how soft both the take offs and landings were, spiked tyres were a must in these conditions!
Photo copyright Richard Easton
Up nice and early on Saturday and finally got hold of some spiked tyres. Really happy with the set up of the FTW bike. It was so wet and muddy I went through an entire roll of my 'rip n rolls' on my goggles and had to change my gloves three times, this was pure GLOOP! Considering the conditions, the track was running really well and I was having so much fun pinning the corners speedway style!
Photo copyright of Ian Linton
Qualifying was on the Saturday afternoon, I sprinted out the start and after about 100 metres in something didnt quite feel right. Got to the end of the straight flat-out section and went to hang a left around a nicely developed rut and did a massive 180. It was then clear I had a rear puncture, gutted! Instead of destroying a perfectly good rear wheel I made the decision to get a lift down on the uplift vehicle's return. This meant I couldn't do my timed run and therefore nothing I could use to compare myself to the others with.
Photo copyright of Euan Law
Come Sunday morning I was kinda happy with my lines though, I only put one practice run in and chilled out until racing. As I was a DNF in qualifying I was off fairly early. Put a really good run in although in hindsight (always a wonderful thing!) I could have been quicker but subconsciously I didn't want another DNF. Coming into the bottom of the track I realised I hadn't hit the jump into the field yet or the one immediately after. It was now or never, I came out of the last berm put some cranks into it and launched the gully jump into the field, cleared it easily but landed in the muddy slop and nearly chinned my bars, jeez! Crossed the line and sat in the hot-seat (wet-seat in this case!) for a while which was great!
Now I'm off on holiday for a week then when I come back I'm heading up to pin it at Glencoe for the BDS!