After a fairly long hiatus from racing, Tweed Valley local Innes Graham had an amazing result on home turf with a 3rd at the Scottish round of the EWS. The Tweed Valley local spends his time coaching for Dirt School, rather than training with a factory team, but all that could be about to change as a bunch of Tweed based businesses have chipped in to fund his European EWS ambitions.
Local Support for International Ambitions; Innes Graham at the Enduro World Series
It wasn’t a surprise to the Tweed Valley hardcore, but when Innes Graham entered the EWS opener earlier this month, he was set to shake things up.
A local to the Tweed Valley and Dirt School coach, Innes’ intention was to enjoy the experience, and take his learnings to share with younger riders, particularly pupils of the BASE programme (Borders Academy of Sporting Excellence).
“The goal was always to show up, ride within myself and learn as much as possible about this discipline to help guide and coach younger riders as best as I can to allow them to achieve their own goals.”Innes Graham, Dirt School
When he thundered into the event arena during Saturday’s ‘Pro Stage’ he posted the best time, seeding him as the fastest rider and last man down the hill in Sunday’s main event.
Instead of cracking under pressure in front of rowdy local supporters, Innes kept things under control and finished the day on the podium. Third place for Innes at his inaugural EWS event.
So what next?
“After an insane first EWS at home in the Tweed Valley my sights have quickly set on the next few European rounds…”Innes Graham, Dirt School.
The challenge for a privateer is how to make these ambitions a reality…
Dirt School gave Innes the time off, and Tweed Valley Bikes coordinated efforts to get him out to Europe.
“When Innes finished his first EWS on the podium, my thoughts quickly led to working out how we would get him to the next round of the series. Innes puts 110% into everything he does, whether that be as an employee, a coach, a photographer/videographer or as a racer, so to let his latest path flourish, it was time to create this new opportunity for him, one he truly deserves.”Janey Kennedy, Tweed Valley Bikes.
The widely loved coffee shop in Innerleithen, Café No.1, was one of the first to step up. Offering financial support to contribute to the costs of travelling.
“We met Innes as a young racer when he moved to Innerleithen. He was like my lost son, he worked with us for a year and a half, he is just the sweetest, kindest and most thoughtful person. We wish him all the best racing in the Enduro World Series.”Craig Anderson, No.1 Peebles Road
Local Edinburgh company, and Nukeproof global distributor, Hotlines, then laid down their support.
“Innes absolutely smashed his first EWS and it was awesome he was on one of our bikes. We are super grateful for what he does day-to-day for the local scene and admire his journey and motives for getting out there. We had to show some support.”Dave Flynn, Hotlines
Premium component brand Burgtec, who have been supporting the Dirt School team for a few years also stepped up and will be funding Innes at one of the European rounds in September.
Nukeproof will also be on hand to support however they can at the races.
Innes is not on a pro deal; he is there to develop as a rider and help others. He has seen the ups and downs of racing at the highest level during his downhill career, and while he will be there to perform, inspiring the next generation remains the goal.
Innes is a firm reminder how great the sport is, the incredible stories around every race and how local role models inspire the next generation, fuelling the development of the sport.
“A huge thanks to everyone who supported me [at the Innerleithen round of the EWS]. Let’s keep the momentum rolling and see what the next couple of weeks have in store!”.
Innes will fight it out at the Enduro World Series in Petzen this weekend. You can keep follow the racing and support all the riders at www.enduroworldseries.com.
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