On Top of the World

Sam Robinson Memorial RR

report: Sean Gordon

John Archibald of Pro Vision Cycle Clothing showed his class, again, by taking the win in Sunday’s Sam Robinson Memorial. He displaced his breakaway companions on the race’s final climb, the Dukes Pass, to win from Scottish Junior Road Race Champion, Grant Martin of Spokes RT, and keep up his 100% win rate since coming back from an injury earlier in the season.

The heat was on right from the first ascent of the Braes of Greenock, then over the Top of the World, but it wasn’t until the first few climbs had been completed that the selection was made with two groups comprising nine riders breaking away near Balfron.

Archibald was left to chase the first group on the road and by the second time up the Braes of Greenock it was all together at the front with groups splintering away behind.  But it was the Dukes Pass where the race was decided and Archibald made good on the pre-race expectations by taking his second win in as many races.

With Archibald scheduled to appear at next week’s Tour of the Lammermuirs, it looks as if he may be adding a third late season win on the east coast.

Full results:

Sam Robinson Memorial Road Race - 2015
Pos No Name Team   Cat Time
John Archibald Pro Vision Cycle Clothing 2nd 02:33:11
Grant Martin Spokes Racing Team 2nd 15
Neil Scott Dundee Thistle RC 2nd 40
Richard McDonald Pro Vision Cycle Clothing 2nd 01:23
Gavin Dempster Glasgow Green Cycle Club 2nd 01:26
Alan Dean Edinburgh RC 2nd 01:31
Alastair McNicol www.Dooleys-Cycles.co.uk 2nd 01:36
Tim Blathwayt Velo Club Edinburgh 3rd 01:48
David Reed Granite City RT 2nd 01:54
Gavin Shuttleworth Project 51 2nd 02:16
Alister Watt Granite City RT 2nd 02:40
Jason Roberts Pro Vision Cycle Clothing 2nd 03:12
Lewis Duff Glasgow Couriers 2nd st
Ross Crook Edinburgh RC 2nd st
Greig Brown Team Thomsons Cycles 2nd 04:32
Benjamin Crawshaw GJS Cruise Racing 3rd 05:14
Lewis Oliphant Velo Club Edinburgh 2nd 05:37
David Gleave East Kilbride Road Club 2nd st
Mattias Barnett Spokes Racing Team 2nd 05:39
Calum Kennedy Edinburgh RC 2nd 05:40
Kris Lindsay Velo Club Edinburgh 2nd st
Scott Newman Glasgow Couriers 3rd st
Andrew Bruce Kinross CC 2nd 05:43
Richard McGhee Glasgow Nightingale CC 3rd 05:47
Jonathan Gamwell Glasgow University Cycling Club 3rd st
Gary Davidson East Kilbride Road Club 2nd 05:54
Aidan Quinn Project 51 2nd 06:05
Ian Archibald Team Thomsons Cycles 3rd 06:10
John MacLeod Spokes Racing Team 2nd 06:41
Sean Gordon Pro Vision Cycle Clothing 2nd 07:04
Sean Stead Glasgow Nightingale CC 3rd 07:15
Calum Johnston East Kilbride Road Club 2nd 12:36
Gregg OMalley Glasgow Couriers 3rd 12:39
Ronnie Burns VC Glasgow South 3rd 12:40
Richard Provan Glasgow Couriers 3rd st
Keith Greenwood Pedal Power RT 3rd 12:47
Alan Mcbride Johnstone Wheelers Cycling Club 3rd 12:49
George Roberts Icarus Racing 3rd 12:51
Craig McCulloch East Kilbride Road Club 2nd 14:49
David Fickling Glasgow Nightingale CC 4th 19:39
Danny Hedley Moray Cycle Racing Team 2nd 22:35
William Turner Falkirk 3rd st
Sean Botha Glasgow Ivy CC 4th 25:20
David Blockley VC Astar Anderside 3rd 28:49
Colin McPhee Johnstone Wheelers Cycling Club 4th 43:49

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Jewel of the Cairngorms

Bike Station Ballater  Falling Leaves Stage Race

(words: Sean Gordon)
(images: Andrew Innes)

Autumn is upon us...

Fraser Martin (Spokes RT) was rewarded for a weekend of attacking riding with the overall victory, and a stage win, in the Ballater Falling Leaves Stage Race this weekend. Sitting only 6-seconds down on stage winner Craig Wallace (Infisport-Alavanet) after Saturday morning’s prologue, Martin was well within contention, but was arguably still the underdog in the race.

The first road stage saw a breakaway that was established early that had two and a half minutes at one point. However with Martin in 2nd place overall it was left to his Spokes team to chase down the break on the last lap, causing controversy as one of their teammates, Sean Noon, was in the move. It was only Gavin Shuttleworth (Project 51), Alister Watt (Granite City RT) and Scott McCrossan (Paisley Velo RT) that managed to hold off the charging peloton, meaning that the time gaps were still tight into the second day.

Again the break of the day was established early doors on the second road stage. With the expectation of another episode of ‘The Craig Wallace Show’ it was up to the other contenders to take him on. In the end Craig’s efforts were too little, too late as the breakaway held on with Fraser Martin winning the second stage to take the overall and underlining his place at the top of the pile in Scottish road racing.

A great season for Fraser Martin

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The King of Cross

Beveridge Park Grand Prix of Cyclocross

words: Anthony Robson
pics: The Press Room

Davie Lines takes to the air over the jumps
There can be few more recognisable faces of Scottish Cyclocross than John McComisky who, with his
erstwhile Dig In colleague Davie Hamill, has done much to create and maintain a buzz around the sport in Scotland. With his move from south of the river to the fair Kingdom of Fife, there were a few who wondered how long it would be before the itch of organising a race would have to be scratched. The answer was simply 'not long', and under the guise of Portage Cycling, with the ample aid of Fife Council, he has brought a new event to the calendar that many will hope becomes a regular feature.

JMC: King of 'Cross

With a starting field of 113 riders taking part in a single race there could have been fears of becoming bogged down in bottlenecks of traffic. But the long sweeps of the course, and the generous width for the majority, stretched the field and ensured that any passing of backmarkers was primarily without fuss. The starting straight of tarmac, into the long uphill righthand turn also ensured that matters were thinned, and gave space for some to be caught out by the first dusty turn onto offroad, winding up on the deck.

Perennial winner Brendan Roe
The crowd was generous throughout, and with the sun shining the whole time, and music providing a constant backdrop through the PA loudspeakers, the numbers were swelled, with the slightly odd sight at a 'cross race of groups of people sitting by the side in t-shirts and shorts. That crowd wasn't to be disappointed as it was treated to winning 'cross demonstrations of the highest order.

In the men's field there was the familiar form of David Lines (Velosure Starley Primal) hitting out from the starting whistle. His best lap was his second, turning the screw on those behind as soon as possible, gaining time, then holding it all the way to the chequered flag. His winning margin was a minute and a half over Allan Clark (Leslie Cycles) in second, with Gary McCrae (Leslie Bike Shop/Bikers Boutique) just four seconds further back, but comfortably in third.

Fifer Eileen Roe back to the dark side of the sport
For the women there was a welcome return to Scottish 'cross of Eileen Roe (Wiggle Honda). Despite taking a tumble on the last corner, and quite significantly banging up her knee, she plundered a two-minute lead over the impressive Anne Ewing (WV Breda). Third spot went to the irrepressible Maddy Robinson (Velo Club Moulin).

Finished on one leg and carried to the podium…class!
In the sunshine of the hoped-for beginnings of an Indian summer, Portage Cycling and Fife Council have created an event that has proved an instant success. There was a feeling of relaxed enjoyment, mixed in with the close racing. For the spectators the wrapping round of the course, creating the necessary distance within a remarkably small but varied area, meant the chance to view most of what was going on from single viewpoints. The large field created a constant stream of cyclists passing by after the first lap. And while the heat had more than a few of the competitors dreaming of hail-lashed Irvine, sub-zero Knockburn, or mudfest Lochore, this is just the type of event to move that buzz about the sport into the viewing public.

Mark Barnett: happy to finish
The real business of the Scottish Series is almost upon us, but events like this clearly have their place. The number of riders gridding up, and the number of spectators drinking it in, made that abundantly clear. Jokn, it appears, is something of a cyclocross Midas.

Davie Lines: getting the win between trips to Eurobike and training in Mallorca.

Gallery: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.863355003748905.1073741905.323874521030292&type=3

Results: http://www.mylaps.com/en/classification/3689687

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Full of Eastern Promise

Eastern Promise Road Race

words: Sean Gordon

Ruari Yeoman outsmarted the VC Edinburgh duo of Walter Hamilton and Lewis Oliphant, on their home roads, to take the win at today’s Criterium Cycles Eastern Promise RR at Rosewell. The 18 year old dealt the killer blow after being instrumental in pulling the day’s breakaway out from the peloton.
With the pace high on laps 1 and 2, attacks were coming thick and fast, with a few serious looking breakaways brought back together by the sheer speed of the roads; long winding descents interspersed with short punchy climbs. It wasn’t until the start of the third lap that the breakaway of five - Walter Hamilton, Lewis Oliphant, Jason Roberts, Ruari Yeoman and Craig McCulloch – managed to escape.

Although the gap held firm, at only about 15 seconds, over the rolling section of the circuit it was on the descent that the experienced head and legs of Jason Roberts took hold and really did the damage pulling out over a minute on the chasing group.

After the big descent the run-in was fairly undulating and the group stayed together until about a kilometre and a half to go when Lewis Oliphant attempted to evade his breakaway companions. However Yeoman was too strong and made easy work of the finish chalking up his first win of the season.

(PS It seems our man Sean received his first DQ by crossing into on-coming traffic…allegedly. We're waiting to see the picture). Ed

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Spanish Export

Tour of the Glens

Report by Sean Gordon

A superhuman performance by Scotland’s most valuable export to Spain, Craig Wallace, saw him take the inaugural Tour of the Glens National B in Blairgowrie this past Sunday. On roads seldom used by the organisers of Scottish road races, Wallace was able to pull out nearly four minutes on his breakaway companions over the hills of Perthshire.

In a race that well suited the climbers of the Scottish peloton, an early breakaway consisting of Ruari Grant, Craig Wallace, Matthias Barnet, Kenny Riddle, Scott McCrossan, David Griffith and Rob Friel, who were later joined by Jack Barrett who bridged on his own, was the move that stuck over the 70 mile race route. Although the line-up seemed to promise a good race, Wallace had other ideas as he took off on his own to walk his second victory of the week having won the Aberdeen evening race on Thursday.

Back in the lead group, Jack Barrett was just able to edge out Scott McCrossan for second with Ruari Grant and David Griffiths rounding out the top 5. First vet and first junior were also contained in the front group with Kenny Riddle finishing in 6th for the former and Matthias Barnet finishing in 8th for the latter.

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Adventures in Aberdour

Haugh+Cross hastens in the 2015/16 Cyclocross Season

words and pics: Anthony Robson

Robinson and Lines ahead of the pack
Three years ago I suffered my very first cyclocross race, at the inaugural Haughcross event above the Silver Sands of Aberdour. The race has now become something of a traditional season opener, celebrating its fourth running in that hinterland between the summer (such as it has been this year) and the more expected wintry cross conditions. And for this year gone was the standard format of mass starts, or categorised races. Instead, riders were faced with the daunting prospect of having to race twice, with two heats taking place in the early afternoon, and the top and bottom half finishers then separated into early evening A and B finals.

Even with the races reduced to 40 minutes plus a lap (with the A final giving an extra 5 minutes of pain), this gave a feeling of trepidation to proceedings for some, not that you would have guessed it from the pace of those at the front, or even more particularly in danger of not making the split, in the heats.

Falkirk's Finest: Davie Lines, as aggressive as ever!

The first heat was viewed from the inside, but with the leaders passing me twice it was clear to see that Connor Johnstone (Leslie Bikes), the heat winner, and the world's best cycling fireman, David Lines of Velosure Starley Primal, were head and shoulders above. They took a 1m30s advantage over Matthew James (Rossendale Road Club) in third, and looked to be cruising (if the unruffled non-breath-catching “On your right” and “thanks” were anything to go by).

They were making the most of a course that looked like holding together well all day. Despite forecasts earlier in the week of the end of days, the sun was out, and a bit of a breeze was doing its best to dry out the downpours of earlier in the week (as well as providing a headwind on the inward portion of the lap to keep you honest). From the start/finish a long sweep and some wide corners then saw you pick up speed to a great downhill (the only respite on the course) which ended in a sharp corner that, with a bit of courage and faith in your tyres, could see you leaving off the brakes to power up a short climb. Nearer the sands the route became twisty, doubling back on itself with tights turns punctuated by short sprints (and one incredibly tight 180˚ bend that saw more than a few end up on the deck), as well as a single, but large, hurdle. The climb back up felt like it would break you each lap, before a long and flat grass run, with a deviation to take in a couple of low, uphill steps (with about a 50:50 spit on riding them or dismounting) before the trademark under-then-over scaffold bridge.

Stephen Jackson looking to the winter!
The second heat was all about an upcoming cyclocross star, in the shape of Neon Velo's Hugo Robinson, Jammy on the mic letting us know that at only 20 years of age he's already ridden in every major international cyclocross race. He was out on his own by almost a minute, and despite not being pushed was only a couple of seconds off the pace set by the leaders of the first heat. James Fraser-Moodie (Pedal Power) was the second man in, with Paul Carmichael (TheBicycleWorks.com) rounding out the top 3. There has to be cause for special mention of Anne Ewing (WV Breda) as well, rolling in 11th, unlapped, and the only female rider on the day to reach the A Final.

There was then a gap of some three hours for the main event riders, filled in part by some great kids races. It was heartening to see riders as young as 5 or 6 taking on a shortened course, with a mixture of both determination and enjoyment evident on their faces. In the P1-3 race Alistair Easton took the win, well ahead of the battling pair of Finn Crowther and Matthew McCleery; Anna Birrell in fourth spot taking the first girl prize. The P4-5 race was then taken by West Lothian Clarion rider Katie Galloway, sprinting away from Alexander Crombie in second, and Finlay Cooper in third, to leave the boys in her wake.

Rain or shine, the kids give it everything.

During these kids races the weather took a turn for the worse, the wind building, and squally showers falling as the under 12’s and then under 16’s battled with each other in disappointingly smaller fields, but even more disappointingly small spectator numbers, as they understandably (given many had to ride again) took to their cars, or the giant marquee. Your intrepid reporter held on to take pictures, but with the rain falling, and a non-waterproof phone in the pocket for note taking, I can merely report that some riders won, and others didn't (though it brightened up in time for an Ythan CC rider called Callum to take the chequered flag in the under 16’s). This regrettable oversight will be rectified once the results are online.

The ever-impressive Anne Ewing!
There was then some rejigging of the running order, with the B Final to take place first, presumably with a realisation that saving the fast guys in the A Final for the spectacle of the day was the best option. There was still an hour to prepare, but my legs were starting to grumble about having to saddle up again. However the sun was back out (if only to underline the bad luck of the junior riders) and as the whistle was blown once more we all settled into the familiar routine of laps of enduring. This new setup echoes experiences of other events that have put on A and B races, with people judging their own ability and experience, and whereas the heats had pockets of competitive riding, there was a clear disparity. In both the A and the B Finals, there was more of a sense of a level playing field (even if ours was sloped to the sea...) and being 'in' the race, even for those of us still occupying places towards the tail end.

This tighter nature was evidenced by the closer finishing of those at the top. In the B Final Adam Wallace of Deeside Thistle picked up the win, just 11 seconds ahead of Ron Mill (Leslie Bikes), who himself had just a second's grace over Dave Smeaton. Katie Carmichael of Hervelo came in fifth overall, and top female rider, gapping Lettie McDonald (Stirling Bike Club) by almost a minute, with Caroline Harvey nabbing third.

Riders from all over Scotland, happy to be racing 'cross again.

The A Final was a two-laps more affair (though they also had 5 minutes more) and from very early on it was clear that Hugo Robinson and David Lines were going to march away. Lap times were about 20 seconds faster than in the heats, and they exchanged the lead between them over the course of the first 8 laps, playing cat and mouse with each other. But it was on the ninth lap, as they came into view heading towards the steps, that it became clear Hugo had made the decisive move. There was a gap of about 20 metres, and while the elastic hadn't quite snapped yet, as they came through the finish line to get the bell, Robinson's face was one of calm concentration, while Lines was in full on pursuit. As they appeared again the gap hadn't increased by too much, but enough that Robinson simply had to see out the bridge with no disasters and he would roll over the line as the champion. That he did, with David Lines popping a wheelie to cross in second place, just 8 seconds down.

Vet RR Champion Graeme Cross rocking the summer Albannach kit.

Behind them the big battle was for third between Gary McCrae and Allan Clark. It was telling that McCrae's fastest lap was his last one, as he pushed Clark all the way, but in the end it just wasn't enough, with Clark taking third, and McCrae recording the same time in fourth. Anne Ewing, as the sole female rider, was clearly in top spot, and came in 18th overall.

All through the field there were battles that developed, again emphasising the competitive nature of mixing riders in terms of ability, rather than simply by age group or sex. The sun had stayed until the end, and the course had remained solid for the most part, earning its tag of summer cross. The season opener had delivered again, though the withdrawal symptoms kick in with a month's wait for the next race, a new event in Kirkcaldy, to be run at Beveridge Park by Portage Cycling. We'll see if the sun comes out on Fife once more.

*If you're wondering at all how your reporter got on, he comfortably qualified for the B Final by finishing fourth last in the heat, before actually speeding up in the final itself, and improving by 8 places. See you all in Kirkcaldy!

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