Slip Slidin' Away

2016 Mudfest Continues at Kirkcaldy

words and pics: Anthony Robson





In September last year Beverage Park in Kirkcaldy, Fife hosted one of the fastest running 'cross races in recent memory. The sun shone, the crowds turned up, the riders flew. February was always destined to be a more 'cross-like excursion.

Half an hour before the 'B' Race of the 3rd round of the Super Quaich and the forecast billowing, squally wind, accompanied by intermittent, but heavy, showers swept in across the lush green course. Even on the practice laps the main parts of the course had turned to seething sludge, but grooves cut into it that threatened to snap wheels out of line. The inclines, for many, were immediately converted into run-ups. The off-camber would lead to tripod riding. The 180 degree turns demanding close attention. In short, this was cyclocross.



Both the 'B' and the 'A' races rather miraculously avoided the worst of the rain, though the wind ripping across the course made some sections interesting in the extreme, with tape whipped into the mud, and poles that had been holding it in place snapped at the stem. But underneath the mud you didn’t go far before finding a solid-ish layer, though as the race went on this sunk further, and running became preferable for many in certain sections.

The beauty of the Quaich format is that it ignores the rather fallacious divisions based on age and sex, instead focusing on sheer ability, and every rider, no matter how fast, slow, old, young, will find themselves in a race. Watching the 'B' race unfold from inside, on my way to 59th place, battling with two others till the very end, demonstrated the achievement of the egalitarian aim perfectly. And that flowed right through the field, with the all-important top 5 positions for the men going to David Murdoch (Albannach), ahead of Kevin Pugh (Walkers Cycling), Martin Steele (VC Moulin), Chris Allan (Haddington CC) and Peter Houston. For the woman the impressive Erika Allen (VCM) lapped me on the tarmac just as it swept right, her call of "on the right" as pro as her riding. Lindsay Branston (RCCK), Mireille Captieux (Albannach), the ever-stripy Caroline Harvey, and Marion Kennedy rounded out the 5.



With the course suitably churned in preparation for the 'A' race, there was an intriguing spectacle on offer. We’re used to seeing Davie Lines (Espresso Cycle Coaching) effortlessly floating around a course at ridiculous speed, but he was surrounded for much of the first half by 3 riders who represent optimism for the future of Scottish 'cross. Cameron Mason (Team LBS/BB) was once again impressive, leading for the first lap, before dropping back to finish in 5th. Gary MacDonald (Hope Factory Racing) broke up the young guard, while ahead of him Struan Pryde (Deeside Thistle) put in an astonishing, gloveless, ride, considering he’d been at Beveridge early, with the rest of the Deeside crew, helping setup the course. He couldn’t quite reel in Sean Flynn (Edinburgh RC), and so had to settle for third, with the equally youthful Flynn taking a 2nd place that promises much for Dig In at the Dock, given this was winner Davie Lines’ last race of the season. And this wasn’t a weakened field, with the likes of Stevie Jackson and Ian Dunlop toiling behind the kids.



The women’s race had a familiar winner as well, Anne Ewing (WV Breda) overcoming the drawback of having glasses that really didn’t match the rest of her kit, to roll in first, ahead of Elizabeth Adam (Glasgow Green CC), Katie Carmichael (Hervelo) (who had the honour of being the very last rider across the finish line to wrap up the day), and Gillian Pratt (Team LBS/BB).



Kirkcaldy had once again proven itself as a class cross venue, despite organiser John McComisky’s repeated wishes afterwards that the weather had been better. Social media was still buzzing for hours afterwards, and personally the excitement for me ran into the next day. This felt like a ‘proper cross’ day. Battling riders, and the elements, and learning to flow with the course rather than fighting against it.



The Super Quaich has one more round, after which a champion will be crowned, and it’s still actually all to play for with only points from three rounds counting at the end. Come along, cheer on all the 'B' and the 'A' racers, and let’s see out the 2015/2016 series in style.





Click here to see Anthony's full gallery




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Beverage Park Shootout - SQ3

Beveridge Park 2, Super Quaich 3


words: John McComisky 
pics: the press room




Portage Cycling has again paired up with the Fife Council’s Active Fife team to deliver the second Beveridge Park Grand Prix of Cyclocross. The event which forms the third round of the Super Quaich Winter Series will be held on Sunday 7th February 2016. The sell out event has over 200 riders signed up to take on the challenging tarmac and grassland circuit of 1.2 miles in an exciting A and B race format.

The main protagonists in the Series thus far will all be lining up on the grid including David Lines (Wheelbase Altura), Ian Dunlop (Velo Club Moulin) and Stevie Jackson (Glasgow United). There will also be a huge local interest in the shapes of Scottish Veteran Champion Gary McCrae (Leslie Bikes/Bikers Boutique), John McCaffery (Pedal Power RT) and Brendan Roe (Leslie Bike/Bikers Boutique).



Well worth looking out for in the event will be a clutch of young riders who are performing well nationally; these include Conner Johnstone and Cameron Mason (Leslie Bikes/Bikers Boutique) and all the way from Deeside Thistle, Struan Pryde. These riders will no doubt prove to be a real spoke in the wheels to the more seasoned racers. The top male riders will also have to contend with Series leader Anne Ewing (WV Breda) and, all being well if she returns on form after the Women's Tour of Qatar, Eileen Roe (Lares Wareodal). Roe who hails from Fife is one of the hottest tickets in British Cycling, and is a previous Scottish Champion, British Circuit Champion as well as Commonwealth Games contender. She is sure to add some spirit and fire to the main race of the day, and is tipped for a top position overall.



John McComisky from Portage Cycling added: “Cyclocross returning to Beveridge Park for a second time is testament to Active Fife, Fife Council and the superb work done in the previous edition by Kirsteen Torrance who saw the potential in having a major cycling event right in the middle of a town parkland setting. The event again sold out very quickly and we have assembled a wide and varied grid, with British Champions, Scottish Champions, but also with local first-time cyclists making a debut in the races."

The racing will start from 12:30pm and there will be an event village, music, commentary as well as refreshments available in the Kirkcaldy Rugby Club and from park catering units.



Come along to Beveridge Park on Sunday 7th February to cheer on the riders and make some noise at Scotland’s most vibrant of outdoor sports.

This event would not be happening without amazing partner support from: Active Fife - Kirsteen Torrance, Fife Council, Ridley, Madison UK, Lazer - Adam Padgett, John McCaffrey Roofing, Ian and Tamara Hockey - Big Bobble Hats, Fraser Waters - Happy Cog, Caroline Lukes - Podium Flowers, John Anderson - Rennersport, Andy Rafferty, www.cross-shop.webs.com, Paul Zarb - Kinross CC, Andy Bell and Paul Davies - Dunfermiline CC, Portage and the Super Quaich team.

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New Year, more racing!

Best wishes for 2016 from everyone at The Press Room!


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Dirty Cross

South Lanarkshire CX Series Launches

words and images: The Press Room

There's been an dramatic rise, an explosion almost, in the number of cyclocross riders willing to pit themselves against their friends and the devious inventiveness of the course designers. In years gone by, the season was all but over by Christmas with only the cultish Dig In at the Dock to blow away the New Year cobwebs.



Times have changed though…there are still 12 races to go, all in the New Year. Recently we saw the launching of the Super Quaich Series, a points-counting, prize-giving set of races including Rouken Glen CX, Doonbank, a new event at Beveridge Park in Kirkcaldy and the famous DIATD. These events sold out within hours of their entries opening.

While the Super Quaich was well trailed, out of nowhere it seems we suddenly heard of another series of 'cross races. The South Lanarkshire CX Series was announced and entries were opened. It came as a surprise to most of the cx community so just who is behind this series and what's it all about?

We were contacted by one of the organisers of the series and it was a pleasant surprise to find that he is a well known figure in both Scottish and British cycling…in fact, he's a current Scottish National Champion! Peter Murdoch is one of the men at the helm of a new company that is set to promote grassroots cycle racing in Scotland. His business partner in this venture is Ricky Sutherland, also well known in the Scottish cycling community. Pete explained their vision in a call from Spain and while they're keen to avoid the current political situation with breakaway groups, leagues and organisations they feel that there is a void at club level for riders who want to race but may never wish to, or be capable of, progressing through the ranks towards an elite career. They just want to get bums on saddles and get races back on the agenda across the board.

To this end they have made some great contacts with the powers that be at South Lanarkshire Council and they are keen to help and be involved. Pedro and Von, as most people know them, want to get back to a much simpler style of race promotion and organisation…a model which is still popular in France and Spain and which sees very large participation, week in, week out. Ideally, in most events, there would be just two races: one for women and vets together and an open event for everyone else. Now that might go against current thinking from some quarters where riders are pitted against others of similar age or ability but the guys believe that riders need to push themselves, and be pushed, if they're to get the most out of the race experience. This simplified model would take in everyone from youths right through to vets and they have a vision which is something along the lines of the old Super Six Series.

This brought us on to the question of cyclocross and the rather sudden appearance of the South Lanarkshire CX Series. Pete explained that they have made some really positive contacts within South Lanarkshire Council and that they're really keen to be involved, offering lots of help along the way and at upcoming events. To this end, they offered the use of several landmark locations such as Chatelherault Country Park in Hamilton. Later in the year these locations get very busy so some early dates were mentioned and Peter and Ricky decided, although it doesn't leave a lot of time for organisation, it would be a missed opportunity to pass up on this early chance to show the council what they can do.



This is why the Series seems to have come out of nowhere but with some very familiar faces working with Pete we can be sure of a successful set of events, and more to come. So, all that's needed now is for these events to sell out and the community to get behind the races. A lot of riders missed out on entry to the Super Quaich so getting involved in these would seem like the obvious thing to do. There will also be races for the Under 12's and Juniors at each event. For the 'cross junkies out there, that's four more events in which to race and takes the season through to March next year!

We'll be having a longer chat with Pete and Ricky after the holidays but in the meantime you'll find the entry links to each of the four events below. Get entering and we'll see you there!

Race 1: Chatelherault Country Park, 9th January 2016
Click to enter

Race 2: Chatelherault Country Park, 30th January 2016
Click to enter

Race 3: Lanark Race Course, 27th February 2016
Click to enter

Race 4: Lanark Race Course, 5th March 2016
Click to enter

For all the info' on the Series and how it works click through to the Facebook page and give it a like.

South Lanarkshire CX Facebook

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Hot Ticket

Dig in at the Dock (21st Feb '16) - Entry opens on 8th Dec


Dig in at the Dock cyclocross race (sponsored by Pedal Power) will open entries for the 2016 edition at 7pm on Tuesday the 8th of December via Entry Central. The race is the hottest ticket for cyclocross riders in Scotland and tends to sell out in a matter of minutes. If you want to enter the race then it’s strongly advised that you put this date and time in your diary. You'll kick yourself if you miss out on the race on 21st February 2016!



180 first-come first serve places and then…
There will be a total of 230 places available in total across 2 races. Riders will be placed into either the A or the B race dependent on their past performances.

The first 180 entries will be available on a first-come first-serve basis. After this further entries will go into a waiting list. The last 50 places will be invited into the race from this list by the organisers Dave Hamill and Pete Ward.

Hamill explained the reason for this approach and why he’s announcing it so far in advance.
“Organising this race is amazingly rewarding, but it comes with some headaches we create for ourselves by making the event so popular. One of those is the fact that the race sells out really quickly. This in turn leads to a lot of people contacting us to say they missed the announcement, lost their Wifi connection, their dog ate their homework and so on. We want to make sure we give everyone a good chance of getting an entry. But we also recognise that the race won’t stay popular by accident. We have to nurture it.




There are people who give up a lot of time to make cyclocross happen in Scotland. I don’t want to risk shutting them out of our race. Pete and I need to say thank you to those people for putting on races for us and giving back to them is the best way we can do this. We want them in our race.

There are also top riders who give the race some prestige and make it a spectacle for the locals to watch. We’re very mindful of the fact that most of the people standing watching the race are locals not cyclists and we put a lot of effort into getting them down to the dockside. We also want to positively discriminate to the benefit of female entrants and those who raced in previous rounds of the Super Quaich series. 

But if your name’s not on that waiting list then you ain’t getting invited in, so get your name in there on Entry Central and there’s every chance you’ll get to ride. It’s not over until I start singing. It’s OK I won’t sing, but you get what I mean.”

The Super Quaich series
This year the race completes the new four-round Super Quaich Cyclocross series which has shot an extra level of positivity into the arm of cyclocross racing in Scotland. The series is a step away from age category races; instead it puts all riders of similar ability into the same race. The result is more competitive and close racing from the top of the field right down to the bottom.



You can find out more about the Super Quaich at www.superquaich.cx and for regular updates you can follow Dig in at The Dock on Facebook and Twitter.

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Belgian 'Cross, Scottish Style!

New Cyclocross Series in Scotland for 2016



The Super Quaich Cyclocross Series is a brand new four-round format for the cyclocross racing scene in Scotland. It will run in January and February 2016. The Series will run at the following dates and venues:

* 17th Jan -  Rouken Glen Park, Giffnock
* 24th Jan – Rozelle Park, Ayr
* 7th Feb –  Beveridge Park, Kirkcaldy
* 21st Feb – Dig in at the Dock, Bo’ness

With cyclocross in Scotland already running an incredibly well attended regional league as well as a Scottish Championship, the Super Quaich Cyclocross Series organisers collectively wanted to come up with another format to complement the existing events. And at the same time experiment with new ways to innovate, encourage and offer riders an extended calendar of races through January and February 2016.



The Super Quaich Cyclocross Series will provide close racing throughout its A-race and B-race format, which will allow riders regardless of age or gender to be actually racing one another for position and overall Series placing.

Individual race organisers David Hamill, Jim Cameron, Chris Johnston, John Paul Baxter and John McComisky all have experience and pedigree in promoting cyclocross races which not only the riders savour but the local community can get involved with too.

You can be assured of challenging, demanding and technical courses, along with slick race organisation and a carnival atmosphere.

These attributes alone will ensure that these events will continue to raise the bar even higher on the race scene in Scotland.

The Super Quaich Cyclocross Series will simply be four events “Run by Racers for Racers”

There will be 100 riders in each A-race and the number of riders in the B-race will be left for the individual race organiser to decide based on what the course can safely tolerate on the day.



The Super Quaich Cyclocross Series organisers will harvest the season-long data from Mark Young at myeventtiming to seed and grid all entrants in the four-round series, thus offering the most accurate and fair way of selecting the appropriate A or B race category. Riders therefore don’t get to choose which level of race they enter.

Points
Series points will be allocated to 150 riders at each event. This means that everyone in the A race and the top 50 or so riders in the B race will be allocated series points.

The 1st rider in the B race will be allocated the points position behind the last finisher in the A race.
Each rider’s worst race placing across the 4 races will be discounted from their overall points tally.

Categories
There will be no age or gender categories in the race; the senior men, females, junior men and veteran riders will all ride against other riders of the same ability and receive series points based on how they placed.

Promotion/relegation
The possibility of promotion/relegation will follow each race. The top 5 riders in the B race will be promoted in front of the last 5 riders in the A race.

Prize Fund and Sponsorship
There will be no title sponsorship of the Super Quaich Cyclocross Series. This allows individual organisers to put together their own packages to suit individual requirements, such as Raffle, Spot Prize or product placement.

Each Super Quaich Cyclocross Series organiser will assign £1 per entry toward an end-of-series prize fund, this allows trophies to be given to the series winners in the Male and Female classes. A perpetual trophy for the Champion to hold for the duration of their reign and a commemorative one for them to keep as a permanent symbol of their victory.

Equal cash prizes will also be given to the top Male and Females in the series standings.

Full rules and information are available at: www.superquaich.cx

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