This weekend, the eyes of the gravity mountain bike world will be focused firmly on the town of Innerleithen in the heart of the Scottish Borders. The iXS European Downhill Cup rolls into the Tweed Valley this week for the only UK round of Europe's premier downhill mountain bike series. Running over four days June 14-17, 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.
The race comes one week after the world's best gravity racers converged on Fort William, Scotland for a round of World Cup racing.
This weekend, a number of fringe events will keep spectators and riders entertained, and there will even be an appearance by the Olympic Torch.
This is the biggest downhill race in the UK outside the World Cup at Fort William with over 300 competitors racing on a specially constructed one-off track through Traquair Forest to the sensational finish arena, watched by several thousand spectators.
Many of the world's best riders will compete, coming from as far afield as New Zealand, South Africa, the Czech Republic and including the Swedish national downhill team. They will compete against local heroes Lewis Buchanan and Ruiraidh Cunningham for the top honours and prize fund on their home course.
Duncan Nisbet of organisers Innerleithen MTB Racing said, "This year we are focusing on the expected 3,000 spectators just as much as the riders. The event finish arena will be the focus for competitors and spectators alike, with lots to do, see, buy and try. The weekend will include a Film Night, Dual Slalom and Pump Track competitions and a Mini-Downhill event for under 16s. Free entry for spectators over the three race days gives access to all the action as well as on-site catering, kids' skills area, timber pump track and trade stands. There really is something for everyone."
The Olympic torch will pass through Innerleithen on Thursday, June 14 on its relay around the UK.
Practice starts for the main event, the downhill, on Friday, with qualifying on Saturday and finals on Sunday.