TRAIL conditions for the 2017 Cross Country Mountain Bike Championships were the worst they had ever been at Bowhill House and Country Estate last weekend.

But that didn’t stop the 110 competitors, representing their schools and towns, making the most of some very testing terrain.

Thick mud met the P3 riders as they headed down to the race line for a 10.30am start on Saturday morning.

Fortunately, the course, whilst muddy, drained well once the rain stopped and a day full of racing got under way with P3 boys and girls ticking off three laps of a circuit that would soon see racing from all older school year groups up to S5.

As the year groups increased in age the trail conditions became more and more slippery. P5 to P7 tackled a slightly longer course packed with features such as ditch crossing and optional jump lines.

For high school pupils, the course was extended to four laps of a 1.7km course with short power climbs and technical descents.

Chris Bryant, Live Borders cycle coordinator, said: “Racing was action packed throughout and all the riders displayed immense sticking power and determination to achieve even one lap.”

Competitors took the opportunity during the podium presentations to send a video message to Peebles’ Olympian Grant Ferguson who had just completed the Elite World Championships in Australia making up 18 places to finish 33rd in the world.

“It was great for our riders to spot the local racing legend’s mum and dad who had come to cheer them on,” added Bryant.

“Perhaps one day the Borders Champions will become world contenders like Grant.”

Potentially already setting their sights on gold Live Borders Advanced Rider Development Squad (ARDS) squad members Ben Allan, Oliver Furness, Rory Laidlaw, Max Foggin, Hannah Forbes, Emily Vietch and Callum Dickson all finished within the top three for their races showing great grit on a course set to challenge skill as well as determination.

Competition was tight between schools with St Ronan’s and Clovenfords Primary School coming second and third in the primary category, respectively.

Kelso and Earlston were 2nd and 3rd in high schools.

However, the Scottish Borders Schools MTB Championship Trophies for primary and high schools both return to Priorsford Primary School and Peebles High School for the second year in a row.

P3 Boys: 1, Johnny Birks; 2, Alec Glasgow; 3, Ben McKean.

P3 Girls: 1, Sophia Blaen.

P4 Boys: 1, Louis Thornley; 2, Isaac Beard; 3, Eddie Ferry.

P4 Girls: 1, Kate McKean; 2, Eve Hume; 3, Chloe Tuft.

P5 Boys: 1, Stan Nisbet; 2, Robert Jackson; 3, Fransady Keita.

P5 Girls: 1, Katherine Bryant; 2, Isla Ramsay; 3, Skye Wilson.

P6 Boys: 1, Oisin Beard; 2, Alex Cathcart; 3, Henry O’Brian.

P6 Girls: 1, Olivia McKean; 2, Freya Gibson.

P7 Boys: 1, Ben Allan; 2, Oliver Furness; 3, Ally Birks.

P7 Girls: 1, Kirsten Duncan; 2, Elsa Dalziel; 3, Ava Thomson.

Primary School Championship: 1, Priorsford; 2, St Ronan’s; 3, Clovenfords.

S1 Boys: 1, Ruaridh Johnson; 2, Ethan Blaen; 3, Rory Laidlaw.

S1 Girls: 1, Christina McGorum; 2, Ruby-Soho Smith; 3, Holly Hobbs.

S2 Boys: 1, Max Foggin; 2, Dylan Theedam Parry; 3, Lachlan Sutton.

S2 Girls: 1, Hannah Forbes; 2, Emily Veitch.

S3 Boys: 1, Callum Thornley; 2, Callum Dickson; 3, Jack Rayner.

S4 Boys: 1, Russell Brown; 2, Aiden Maybury; 3, Brayden George.

S5 Boys: 1, Daniel Easson.

S5 Girls: 2, anna McGorum.

High School Championship: 1, Peebles; 2, Kelso; 3, Earlston.

? ARDS riders also excelled in Fort William last weekend when competing in the Scottish Downhill series. Phoebe Gale finished her season with a second place which took her to third in the Series while William Brodie also finished second which was enough to take first overall. This was the group’s first season racing in the national series juvenile category. Rachel Anderson who also rides in the ARDS group took the overall series win in the Borders Mini Downhill Series the week previous.