Published: 29th Apr 2024 Images: Scottish Cycling

Cameron and Williamson take Scottish Downhill titles

On a brilliant April day at Ae rising-star Nina-Yves Cameron (West Highland Wheelers) and seasoned pro Greg Williamson (Madison Saracen Factory Team) flew down a brilliant track to take the 2024 Scottish National Downhill titles.

A thrilling finale to a great weekend saw a number of men bettering the two-minute mark down a fast, but physically testing track, but nobody could better Williamson’s 1.53 clocking from his first of two race runs. That is apart from Williamson himself, who shaved another second off his time on his second run, punching the air to show how happy he was with his efforts, much to the crowd’s appreciation.

The natural finish line bowl at Ae makes a great spectator spectacle, with many riders getting astonishing amounts of air down ‘the elevator’ before crossing the line, the couple of hundred people watching on thoroughly enjoying what they saw.

It was tight in the end for the remaining podium places, Ben Cathro (Pinkbike Racing) going sub two, Drew Carter (Steam Punk Race Team) instantly bettering him with a 1.58 to go provisionally second, but penultimate man Calum McBain (Scottish Downhill Association) would drop a 1.55 to claim second spot behind Williamson, pushing Cathro off the podium.

On the weekend, Greg reflected:

“The weekend was absolutely fantastic, and the weather was on our side for once! Everything ran really well, with the classic Ae Forest course and some fun new sections added in made it hard to keep a smile off my face!

“I’m very proud to get another Scottish Championship under my belt and glad it turned out as hoped, as this was all part of our building block plan leading into Fort William World Cup next week.”

In the Elite Female contest, GB junior last year, Nina-Yves Cameron, stepped up to contest her first Scottish Champs in the elite class, making the perfect start to her senior career with victory. The West Highland Wheeler will take confidence from two consistent runs as she builds towards a busy season. Joining her on the podium were Tiandra Anderson and Laura Jackson.

Asked if she was pleased with her efforts this weekend, Nina said:

“Yeah I’m quite happy with how I got on – I really enjoyed the track, it was pretty fun and it was nice and dry for a change, which was really good!”

Of what the rest of her season looks like, she added:

“I’m going to do a couple of World Cup rounds out in Europe, and then I’ll do most of the British and Scottish Downhill rounds as well, which will be good. I’m just going to try and enjoy being in a new category and see how I get on.”

In the Junior Female competition Heather Wilson (Muc-Off Young Guns) produced arguably the run of the day, a mind blowing 2.10 effort seeing her fastest female on the day by quite some margin, so much so that she didn’t even take her second race run, instead resting up for the Junior Women’s contest at the World Cup next weekend.

Second in that category was Charlotte Tuckwood (Heriot Watt), who got a couple of trips to the podium as she took the Scottish Student Sport title, that event incorporated into the weekend. In the Open Student event Ryan Brannen would mark his return to racing by clinching the title.

The Open Junior proved to be the tightest contest of the day, with just 0.004 separating the top two. As last man down the track Alexander Pervan (West Highland Wheelers) threw his bike at the line you could hear the gasps, but it would be Sam Stenhouse who held on to take the title, both men ensuring the Elite riders are looking over their shoulders with those 1.58 times. Fraser Paterson (Deeside Thistle) would round out the podium with a very solid 2.02 run.

Sticking with the Open categories, Finn Holling was another young man on fire as he took the Youth title in 2.01, with his fellow medallists Haydn Fletcher and Finn Durkin both going 2.03, whilst in the Female equivalent it was Megan Horne who posted a super impressive 2.20 effort to pull on the Scottish Champs jersey, with Katy McGowan and Katie Melville (Derwentside CC) rounding out the podium.

It was a cold start at the 7Stanes venue, but the sun would appear mid-way through the first of the two race runs, a fast track getting even quicker. The track at Ae is a well-balanced one, with super-quick sections interspersed with a variety of features, from gap jumps to knarly roots, loamy off cambers to a small rock garden, so there really was something for everyone.

The juveniles were first off, Deeside Thistle’s Angus Auld the first rider of the day to break the laser beam at the top of the course, leaving behind panoramic views across Dumfriesshire and out to sea, as he entered the wooded top section of the track. He would be the first rider of the day to sit in the hotseat for current leader, but it would Reid Simpson who would occupy the chair later in proceedings, his stunning 2.03 run putting him on the top step of the podium. Silver would go the way of Millar Davidson, with Ty Simpson claiming bronze, that pair separated by just 0.15 of a second!

In the Female Juvenile class it was Rosie McLaughlan (Wolfpax Riders) who laid down what would prove to be the winning time, her 2.32 good for gold, with local rider Kacy Miller securing silver.

A huge shoutout to the Scottish Downhill Association team and our commissaires and marshals for a brilliant edition of the national champs. Full results and photos available in due course. The Downhill season is well and truly underway, and we look forward to seeing many of you at Fort William next weekend for the biggest race of the year on home soil.