The Wrath of the Strath Fails to Stop Wardell

Words; John McComisky
Images: Mark McGhee

Lots of spectators and lots of riders on yet another dry day

Ridley Scottish Cyclocross Series Round Two: Strathclyde Park

After all the fervour and success of last weekend's Falkirk race, the Ridley Scottish Cyclocross Series moved westward to the second round held in the parkland and gravelly trails of Strathclyde Park.
The event organisers at the East Kilbride Road Club, have modified the course over the last few years to accommodate the larger entries that cross is now experiencing, as well as adding some technical features, with rooty adverse cambers and every conceivable change of surface to challenge the great and the good of the sport.

Rab Wardell is getting used to doing this: check out his r/h shifter

With a healthy 350-odd competitors signed on swiftly, the race card would go very much to plan. The organisers, should be credited with having to deal with errant dog walkers on the morning of the race, as well as a few nasty prangs, the biggest of which involved a curious deer, who hoofed its way onto the course and collected a rider (you know who you are John from Kinross) in the process, a first and hopefully a last for Scottish Cyclocross.

The biggest field of the day splashes towards the bottleneck

The main Ridley Senior race saw last week’s victor Rab Wardell (Orange Monkey Pro Team) take to the grid, but he was without the likes of David Lines and James McCallum, both of whom had prior commitments at home and abroad. He would however have a bunch of young Scottish development talent more than able to roll him for his dough, and the seasoned Senior hordes who circulate the lowers steps of podiums and who will grasp and grab any opportunity of a win.

Series leader Wardell, and some of the riders snapping at his wheels

From the arena and start area, the clunk and scream of the omnipresent helter skelter and funfair gave way to the crack of the gun and Senior race blasted out into the lower end of the circuit. Wardell was soon grabbing the race by the throat, and had dispensed with the attentions of a very impressive Mark McGuire (, Callum MacGowan (Alpine Bikes) and Steven Halsall (VC Moulin).

Always there or thereabouts, the excellent Steven Halsall

With the gap stretching out to fifteen seconds, the gurgling chat at the Railway Bridge run-and-ride-up, was all about who would be finishing second, but by lap three Wardell seemed to be in some distress, and it was clear he had hit the deck smashing his r/h shifter.

If you've ever wondered what an Ultegra shifter looks like inside...

With only two gears and no front disc brake, the character of the race looked set to change. And change it did, and for the better with regard to Wardell; he set about blowing the race apart and was soon gapping the field by over a minute.

Rab Wardell puts time into the field as he heads for the finish

McGuire who had been riding gamely, also had an altercation in the woodland section but was back on it battered and bloodied, but by race-end he along with the rest of the young team had to give best to Halsall, a rider who is one of the most technically gifted riders in the sport up here, and simply revels in the ruts and roots of more traditional courses. The final step of the podium went to MacGowan; the young rider has shown well in the first two Ridley events this season and is one to watch for future success.

In hot pursuit: the chasers led by Halsall and MacGowan

Interviewed after the race, Wardell had this to say:

“There is never an easy Cyclocross race, it throws every variable at you, whether you are at the front or the back. After my crash, I just figured on getting the head down, I was getting good split information, and it worked, I don't know how the race would have went if Davie (Lines) and James (McCallum) has been in there, but am sure they will be back to keep me company at Irvine.”

 And quizzed on his plans for the year: 

“I am hoping to fit as many cross races in this year, I will be away at the end of the year to Paris for track coaching, so will miss events, but I really do love getting up on a Sunday and heading to a race, the sport is growing here, there are more and more spectators staying on to watch the action, and it is a good scene...I think it is time I tried to get over to Belgium” he quipped.

The Veteran class is the biggest supported class we have here in Scotland, and the battle for even a series point further down the ranks, is of as much interest to the onlooker as the sharp end of the race itself.

Leading from the front: Stephen Jackson was out for the win

Gary McCrae (Leslie Bikes/Bikers Boutique) was the man with the target on his back after drawing first blood on the plains of Callendar Park the week previous, but as the grid was forming amid the smell of frite fat wafting and hanging across the grid, he was well aware that the Glasgow United and it's three amigos James Melville, Hans Forhaug and Stevie Jackson would be cooking up a plan for him when the gun was triggered.

Marked man: McCrae was left chasing to get back on terms 

From the off, there was chaos at the bottom corner with McCrae entangled in a mess of riders and with this the United “Wrecking Ball” swung into action; before long this trio had smashed down the ramparts of the race.

United's Wrecking Crew: James Melville, Hans Forhaug and (bottom): winner Stephen Jackson

Jackson, so often the nearly man of the Veteran class, was in powerful leg ripping form, and his Swedish Shadow Forhaug was more than happy to keep the pace high alongside him. Melville had to make do with consolidating third place, and despite a gutsy ride from McCrae, to charge back through the traffic, he was going to have to re-group for the sand dunes of Irvine beach in a couple of weeks’ time.

Top ride from the Blue Train's Colin Bain saw him finish in 5th spot

Off the podium maybe but a spirited ride came in the shape of Colin Bain, the home club East Kilbride rider further changing the shape of the top positions in fifth place, and adding a new rider to watch for a possible podium in later events.

Onward to the Veteran Fifty Class and first round winner Brenden Roe (Leslie Bikes/Bikers Boutique) had the fastest pit crew in Scotland in the shape of British Women's Circuit Race Champion Eileen Roe who despite recovering from a bout of illness was on hand to keep her father on the right track, and also to keep an eye on her bike which he is using to great effect.

The all-conquering 'Brembro' aided by a National Champion

The classic motorcycle loving Fifer was truly revved up for this weeks race, and despite being run close the previous week, was soon ploughing his own furrow in the glore and leafy glades of the Strathclyde venue. 

Malcolm Dunlop and Mark Barnett filled out the podium

In his wake came a strong ride from Malcolm Dunlop (VC Edinburgh) who continues to go about the job of trying to wrestle a race win out of the series. New to the Veteran Fifty this year Mark Barnett (Leslie Bikes/Bikers Boutique) scored a first podium of the year in third, and is sure to be a proverbial thorn in the side of the main players. Mark has won at Scottish as well as British level in mountain bike racing, and put this experience to good use in the more natural setting of the Lanarkshire venue.

The three riders we're getting used to seeing on the podium: Maddy Robinson, Kerry McPhee and Isla Short

The Women of Scottish Cross never fail to put on a fine show in the Ridley Series, and the scene was further bolstered by the addition of Jane Barr (Velocity44) and the return of Isla Short (Team Thomsons) who both joined the proceedings for the first time this year. This pairing would have an on-form Anne Ewing (WV Breda), Kerry McPhee (Rock and Road) as well as 2013 Series overall winner Maddy Robinson (VC Moulin) to deal with however, and it was going to be a sort-out for even a podium position.

Jane Barr and Anne Ewing will be challenging for top honours

The early laps saw the cruel mistress that is Cyclocross, deal a deflating blow to Ewing though who was out of the running with a puncture. Up front there was a cracking battle between Robinson and McPhee, with this pairing knocking lumps out of each other for the race win. Robinson showed that she is well and truly back on form after her energy sapping ride at the Three Peaks earlier in the year, and was able to ride Kerry off her wheel for her first win of the year. The diminutive Short had to make do with the final step on the podium, but is sure to take a race to the girls as the series unfolds and can never be discounted.

Race winner Maddy Robinson chases back to Kerry McPhee after clearing her rear mech

The Veteran Female class again saw a strong performance from Sian Tovey (Dooleys Cycles), who looks like she is going to be a tough skull to crack this year, and proved it again by rattling to her second win of the year.

Sian Tovey wins the Vet Womens race and share the podium with Lorna Sloan who took 3rd

The youthful exuberance of the Junior class, again saw the boys ride off the front of the eighty strong field, and control proceedings for the duration of the race. Where most of the entry were off and running, these guys are blasting up the climbs, carving out the turns as well as descending with full-gas. You always have to double take at the lap times of these firebrands who are more than capable of taking a race to the Senior men. At the flag Pierce Somerville proved victorious on the day from Hardie Bikes rider Conor Nally.

Next generation: Pierce Somerville and Conor Nally

While we are on the subject of young talent showing a strong presence in Scottish Cyclocross, a vote for rider of the day, should go to Conner Johnstone (Leslie bike/Bikers Boutique); this lad is no quitter, and despite having to deal with punctures, a bike change and having to ride himself back into the race from sixth place only to puncture again on the run to the line, managed to snatch a fine win in the Youth Class, possibly his hardest day in the saddle to date.

(Top): Our man in the field cheers on Wardell, (right): tough race saw Franco Porco finish 7th in the V40

The Ridley Scottish Cyclocross Series now takes a couple of weeks out before we head to Irvine and the nearest we get to Koksijde or Joksijde as the Cross fraternity name it up here. If you want to be part of the Dune race organised by Neil Walker and Walkers Cycling mob, you can get an entry here:

If however the last couple of lung burning series cross races have now, still got you gagging for more of the same, the Doonbank Trofee, superbly promoted by the Ayr Roads Club have a new to the fixture list non series event this coming weekend details here,

These non-series are the future of the sport up here, and need supporting, The Press Room will be there on the day to capture all the action.

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Wardell's Ridley Romp

It was the season opener and the rain held off all day. The racing was fast and furious, Jammie was in fine voice aided by Maddy Robinson, and The Grange sold every scrap of food they had. It could only be cyclocross and our man in the field, the Great McComisky, found time between races to cast his experienced eye over proceedings.

words: John McComisky
pics: Mark McGhee

David Lines and Robert Wardell were locked together for the first half of the race

Round One of the Ridley Scottish Cyclocross Series ensconced itself to the already autumnal and very picturesque setting of Callendar Park last weekend (Oct 5th). Event organisers Franco Porco and David Lines, with the help of a strong support team, put on an incredibly fast and exciting course, with many additions to the previous year’s event, which featured switchbacks and drops, swoops and slick turns taking in the natural landscape of the Falkirk venue.

The Ridley Steps which riders had to run up each time around (except Gary McDonald who managed to ride them)

These features were mated with the new-for-2014 Ridley Steps which offered the riders the choice of running or in some cases riding the feature. Before the racing had even started in earnest, the organisers were proud to announce that a record breaking field of 469 riders, 89 of them female, had signed up for this Scottish Series event. The course held up well despite some overnight rain, and the scene was set for a race and venue that is more than capable of putting on British National and indeed International events in the future.

Riders prepare mentally and physically for the rigours ahead

In the Senior event, World Cup Mountain biker Rab Wardell (OrangeMonkey Pro Team) was soon at the thick end of the proceedings, along with event organiser Lines (Starley Primal); this pairing put the hammer down early on to shake off the attentions of an impressive Jack Ravenscroft (Team Thomson Cycles) and a fast starting Callum MacGowan (Alpine Bikes). The full-out riding of Wardell and Lines looked set to go down to a sprint finish in the sixty minute race until Lines un-shipped his chain on one of the many technical features and despite raucous support from his home crowd, was unable to make inroads to the on-form Wardell.

The podium winners: Wardell (1st), the talented Jack Ravenscroft (3rd) and co-organiser Lines (2nd)

Behind all this drama Ravenscroft secured the last step of the podium despite a mid-race collision. The fourth rider home saw a welcome return for James McCallum (NFTO Pro Cycling) who is sure to feature strongly in the upcoming series events this year.

Sean Clark and Lauri Peil (ERC)

The Veteran 40 class had the strongest field of the day with one hundred and ten riders taking to the grid, which included reigning Ridley Series Senior winner Colin May, who has moved up a category to take on the might of Gary McCrae, John McCaffery, Alan Lamont and event co-organiser Franco Porco (Leslie Bikes/ Bikers Boutique).

Stephen Jackson and co-organiser Franco Porco lead the V40's in a race that saw both finish in high positions

From the crowded and manic start, McCrae soon dispensed with the attentions of May and Glasgow United's wrecking crew of James Melville, Hans Forhaug and Stevie Jackson, and set into a race pace that saw him lap almost half the field before race end. Twenty seconds down was an impressive Colin May who divides his time between cycling and driving one of Edinburgh's trams, and a strong ride from Forhaug who was top United rider on the day.

(top): Race winner Gary McCrae. (bottom left): Colin May, (bottom right): Hans Forhaug and James Melville

The Veteran 50/Women/Junior race which is run as a split category saw Brenden Roe (Leslie Bikes/Bikers Boutique) have to work hard after a fall to see off the attentions of Alastair Dow (Ronde), who really took the race to the reigning Scottish Champion, and an impressive ride from Malcolm Dunlop (VC Edinburgh) secured the final podium spot.

(left): Joseph Fee, (right): Mike Lynch and Steven Halsall

The fastest Juniors though, would end up first across the line in this race in the shape of Andrew Vettraino, with local rider Jamie Mason having to give best on the day. Really worthy of note though are the lap times of these Junior riders; both of these lads are more than capable of riding in the Senior class with distinction.

Scotland International Anne Ewing (WV Breda) transfers her skills to the muddy stuff

In the Women’s class, Anne Ewing (WV Breda) added some International flavour to the race by putting the hurt into a twenty eight strong field who took to the parcour. Ewing, fresh from stage racing in Ireland was soon in charge of the class and finished comfortably in front of Kerry McPhee (Rock and Road), another rider with a fine pedigree in International racing both having represented Scotland at the recent Commonwealth Games, with the last spot on the podium going to the impressive Lucy Grant (Peebles CC), winner of the Tweedlove Sprint earlier this year.

clockwise from top: Iain McMullen, Paul McInally and Owen Philipson

In the Veteran Female category, a fine ride was had by former Scottish Time Trial Champion Sian Tovey ( who is looking like a rider to watch this year for overall honours.

5 laps for George Stewart

The Kids and Youth events, also had a fantastic turnout in all the classes; it is such a heartening sight to see the future stars of cycling, having a safe and well organised arena to ply their skills in the setting of the park and Central Region.

clockwise from top left: Russell Duncan, Steven Halsall, Addy Pope and David Lines

After all the mud had stopped flying, the organisers were quick to acknowledge the continued support of Ridley, Lazer Helmets and Madison, who really have enhanced cyclocross in Scotland. Additional race sponsors on the day in the shape of Sufferfest Training, Wheelsmith, Andrew Wilson at Visual Fit, Soigneur Embrocation and Grange Kitchen are worthy too of mention in supporting grass roots cycling events.

James Melville remounts in style

There is also a lot of credit due to the team at Falkirk Community Trust who have liaised with a great team of ground staff to help put on what many see as the best ever event held in Scotland.

Next up is Round 2 at Strathclyde Park…see you there!

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SXC Round 4: Lochore Meadows

The Commonwealth Games have Rolled Out of Town and Morven Returns to Familiar Ground.

words: Morven Brown
photos: Alastair Ross

Rab Wardell keeps smiling despite the epic conditions

After a long summer break, the SXC returned to action on the 10th of August, taking the show to the Kingdom of Fife. The team at the Meedies Bike Club, coupled with the support of Fife Council had been hard at work for many months to develop a XC course at Lochore Meadows Country Park. The course was fast and flowing, and was highly praised by the racers. Starting off from the wide open field the riders flew out of the arena, much to the delight of the spectators. Climbing up through the dirt jump park, riders were tested on tight, steep corners before a final haul to the top of the hill, all the time dodging the resident herd of cattle.  After a short breather, it was time for the descent which was fast, rocky and rooty, with plenty of trees to keep the riders honest. Dropping back down to the lochside, cyclists were treated to copse after copse of tight, rooted and exhilaratingly fast trails.

Mud, glorious mud!

With the arrival of Hurricane Bertha imminent, the first racers of the day lined up on the start, with a wide range of ages and abilities all ready to set off for varying lengths of race. The first event of the day, as ever, goes to the Juvenile Boys, who sprint one flat-out lap of the course. Tim Shoreman (Deeside Thistle) continued his fine run of form to take the victory 25 seconds ahead of Perth City Cycles rider Craig Dobbins and Tam Munro-White (Ben Wyvis CC). Anna McGorum (Peebles CC) completed her lap in 24:07 to win the Juvenile Girls, with Emily Field (Stirling BC) and Megan Wilkinson (Peebles CC) completing the podium. In the Youth Boys competition, Conner Johnstone (Team Leslie Bikeshop) took his fourth win of the season, with visiting rider Calum Fernie (Nottingham Clarion CC) ahead of Perth City Cycles’ Douglas Carcherie. Johnstone also claimed the fastest lap of the morning’s competition with a time of 18:33.034. Anna Kay (Hetton Hawks) was first placed Youth Girl and Louisa Watt (Peebles CC) came home in second spot.

Anna Kay (Hetton Hawks) won the Youth Girl's category

The aptly named Jennifer Tough took victory in the Sport Women, with Anne Murray (Team Jewson) winning the Veteran Women ahead of Louise Allen (Mukyriderz). Anne was enjoying the course so much that she even undertook an additional fourth lap to continue her battle with Gillian Pratt (Team Leslie Bikeshop) who won the Elite Women’s race.

Epic conditions produced aggressive racing

Challenging each other from start to finish after riding clear of the pack, Mark Barnett (Team Leslie Bikeshop) and ever youthful Gregor Grant (Moray Firth CC) thrilled the crowds with a sprint finish, Grant coming out on top by 0.126 seconds! Brian Garriock (Perth City Cycles) was third. John Newton was another Leslie Bikeshop rider who has won every race this season, and again took the victory in the Super Veteran Men ahead of David McLean (Hetton Hawks) and Eddie Gronkowski (Mukyriderz).

Race faces to the fore...

Sue Hynd won the Taster Women’s event with a smile on her face, and Steve Field (Stirling BC) was the Men’s Taster victor.

Fast, flowing singletrack makes Lochore Meadows a great course

By the time the youngest riders of the day lined up on the start line of their specially designed, miniature version of the course, they were feeling the full force of the storm. With heavy rain, and lashing wind, these 50 young riders bravely battled on, for the most part, with smiles on their faces. In the Under 8’s race, where some riders totter along on pedal-less balance bikes, Gavin Gronkowski pipped Sandy MacKay to the finish, with Gregor Watt in third place. In the Girls, Heather Wilson finished over 30 seconds clear of Anna Birrell and Rhiannon Gourlay. The Under 10 Boys was a close fought battle, with Ruaridh Johnson finishing just ahead of David Cathcart and Jake Rennie. Emily Carrick Anderson was dominant in the girls, ahead of her teammates Christina McGorum and Holly Hobbs. Her brother, Coran Carrick Anderson again won the Under12 Boys race, ahead of Russell Brown, with Jamie MacKenzie working his way up from the back of the pack to finish third. Elena McGorum saw off her teammate Emily Wilkinson to win the Under 12 Girls event.

Coffees and cakes went down a storm

The final events of the day were reserved for the hardiest souls, as the hurricane bore down on the arena, and spectators huddled in the Meedies tent, where the cakes and coffees were going down a storm! With the Elite Men taking on five laps of the now rather muddy and slippery course, the crowds were poised to see some exciting racing. Mark McGuire took a convincing victory in the Junior Men’s event, sitting with the Elite leaders for the best part of the race. Calum Magowan (Peebles CC) took silver with third place going to Jamie Mason (West Lothian Clarion). In the Sport Men, Michael Bossard toppled series leader Graeme Warren (Velo Club Moulin) to take the win at Lochore, with Stuart Dun (Edinburgh University CC) in third. It was a resounding victory for Scott Logan (TheBicycleWorks) who rode clear of the pack on the first lap. A tasty battle ensued for the remaining podium positions with Trek Concept Store Glasgow rider Derek Shanks taking 2nd place, ahead of a delighted Craig Webster (Mukyriderz). Team Leslie Bikeshop specialise in Veteran men, and Lochore was no exception. Gary McCrae came home over 1:38 ahead of his nearest rival, Greig Walker of Velo Club Moulin. McCrae’s teammate Damien Slorach was third.

Gary McCrae in his usual position at the front

Finally, in the Elite Men’s event, Rab Wardell (Orange Monkey Pro Team) was unstoppable, riding strongly throughout the race to finish almost five minutes clear of his nearest rival. Rab also took the honour of completing the fastest lap of the day’s racing, winning himself a brilliant Garmin device, courtesy of Thomsons Cycles, in the process. Second place went to Rob Friel (Glasgow Whls), with Dougie Shearer (Innerleithen I-cycles) rounding off the podium.

Elite Mens winner Rab Wardell ties up another win before heading to Stirling

It was an exciting day of racing in all categories, and with rave reviews, the course looks set to become a firm favourite in the calendar.

To the victor, the spoils...

The series culminates in the final round of the 2014 SXC Series and Scottish Championships at Dalbeattie Forest on the 14th of September.

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Scottish National 25 Mile TT Championships

words and photos: Mark McGhee

It’s a measure of the quality of Scottish time-trialling at the moment that the rider who came second in yesterday’s National 25 came home in a time of 52:25, a great time by anyone’s standards. But by doing so he only managed to cross the finish line 21 seconds ahead of the man who had started 2 minutes behind him. If you have to come second to anyone though then you couldn’t choose a better opponent than Iain Grant (

Iain Grant smoothly negotiates the first roundabout 

In a quality field that included most of the current standout time triallists in Scotland, Iain Grant stands head and shoulders above his competitors, and everyone knew he was the man to beat. Having scorched the 10 Mile National title a few weeks before, he was in relaxed but determined fashion as he took on yesterday’s event based on the popular Irvine course and organised by Ayr Roads CC.

Here’s how it played out.

Best of the Weather

On a day where intermittent showers had been forecast, the black rain clouds threatened at times but managed to skirt the race route for almost the entire time of the event. The early starters though definitely saw the best conditions with bright sunshine and a light southerly wind.

Thomas Deas (Moray Firth CC) was the first rider to head out

First rider to take to the course was Thomas Deas (Moray Firth CC) and he was to return in just under the hour in 59:39 followed 20 seconds later by the rider who had started three minutes after him and was to pick up second spot on the day, Sean Noon (Edinburgh RC). His time of 56:59 was looking good, but only for about a minute and a half as the last starter, Andy Brown (Glasgow Cycle Team) finished in a superb 56:03 to take the title. This was an excellent time and would go on to eclipse many of the senior riders later in the day.

Andy Brown (Glasgow Cycle Team) took the Junior title

First woman away was Scottish Cycling’s own RDO Fiona Walker (Walkers CC) and she was followed by Laura Nicolson (Moray Firth CC). Nicolson was to post the best time of the early starting women but it was the fifth woman away from the starter, Anna Turvey (Tyneside Vagabonds CC), who really showed everyone a clean set of cleats as she passed all four of the women who had started ahead of her to return in a time of 56:11. This put her into first place but with some fast women still to finish.

Amanda Dundas (Paisley Velo RT) rode with the senior women and took the Female Junior title

Along the way, Paisley Velo RT’s Amanda Dundas returned in 1:12:25 to take the Junior title and special mention to Emily Middleditch (Deeside Thistle CC) who came home in a time of 1:03:41 despite going off course at the first roundabout, an error that was to be repeated by several other riders throughout the day. It wasn’t a problem with signage which was more than up to the job but rather one of a roundabout with two exits almost all the way around to the right. Concentrating on the ride, especially just after the start, meant that some riders took the Paper-mill turnoff and while most noticed almost straight away, at least two headed off up the road only to return having been passed by riders starting behind them.

Toni McIntosh (Ayr Roads CC) and Sian Tovey ( took silver and bronze

Now it was the turn of the ceded women and Lynne Wardrop (Ayr Roads CC) came home in 1:01:59. Sian Tovey ( posted 1:01:02 and was followed in a minute and a half later by Toni McIntosh (Ayr Roads CC) in 1:00:29. This put McIntosh and Tovey into provisional 2nd and 3rd spots with only the last starting Lynsey Curran ( to finish. However this was the way the standings stayed as word reached us that Curran had been unlucky and punctured and her race was over.

Lynsey Curran ( punctured out on course

So the title went to Anna Turvey with Toni McIntosh and Sian Tovey picking up silver and bronze. Ayr Roads CC took the team prize.

Deserved winner Anna Turvey (Tyneside Vagabonds CC) took the title in 56:11

Changing Conditions

Now it was the turn of the men and the weather had begun to cloud over with the breeze picking up a little. First rider away was Euan Pope (Glasgow Road Club) who was also the first rider to get inside the hour with 58:07. Rider times then hovered between 58’s and 1:01’s for the next hour until Gary Robson (Gala CC) took it down to 55:53, followed in short order by Ronnie Todd (Louden RC) in 55:29 and Lauri Peil (Edinburgh RC) in 56:00.

Alan Holmes (Johnstone Wheelers CC) was the early pacesetter

For the next 30 minutes, times began to slowly fall but it wasn’t until Alan Holmes (Johnstone Wheelers CC) finished in 53:52 that the timing sheet began to light up. Holmes’s time was enough to keep him in first spot until Chris Smart (Paisley Velo RT) finished and was good enough for 8th position overall. The winner of the Jason MacIntyre Memorial 10 this year, Smart finished in 52:50 to take the bronze medal overall.

Bronze medallist Chris Smart (Paisley Velo RT)

Now we were into the favourites and as the 10th from last man Steven Lawley (Rigmar Racers) set off the first shower hit but it was gone almost before it began. The wind was gusting by now and was difficult on the outward leg and the final run to the line. As the defending champion took the first roundabout he was looking, as ever, smooth and quietly determined. Grant always looks rock solid in his position and this belies the fact that he’s moving at speed.

Sharp Showers

It was over to the finish line now to watch the last riders coming in and this is when the rain started. It didn’t last for long but was enough to dampen the roads. Humidity was high so as the shower eased into light drizzle the water began to evaporate almost as it was falling. The timekeepers were keeping dry under the overhanging bushes, as were the photographers and riders who had already finished but had come to cheer in their teammates.

Ben Peacock (Paisley Velo RT) and Silas Goldsworthy (Sandy Wallace Cycles)

Alan Thomson (Sandy Wallace Cycles) was next to finish after Smart and posted a time of 53:17 which was good enough for 6th spot overall. Then it was Ben Peacock (Paisley Velo RT) who crossed the line in 53:48. The jury is still out on whether his flourishing facial hair is proving to be more or less aerodynamic but he took 7th position overall.

Arthur Doyle ( took fourth spot overall

As we’ve said before Arthur Doyle ( is a big guy and seems to fold himself around his bike but he finished smoothly, gasping for air, to post 52:52 and take 4th spot on the day. Next home was Silas Goldsworthy (Sandy Wallace Cycles) who appears to be liking riding his bike again after the recent disappointment of not gaining selection for the Commonwealth Games and he even ‘buzzed’ a couple of the roadside photographers…not that they were complaining as it gave them great photographs. He finished in a time of 53:10 to take 5th overall.

Peter Murdoch (Paisley Velo RT) gives it everything as he crosses the line to take silver

Now it was down to the last two men and as Peter Murdoch (Paisley Velo RT) approached the finish line he could be heard shouting at himself to release as much energy as he possibly could. He flashed past the line in 52:25 but it seemed that the photographers just had time to turn around as Grant was already on the bridge over the River Irvine and heading for the line. Leaving everything on the road he passed the timekeeper in 50:46 and was then seen to weave about on the road while he collected himself. This could have been because of the effort he’d expelled or because he was trying to stop his computer but we like to think it was the former.

Iain Grant ( powers across the line to make it three-in-a-row

These times gave Grant and Murdoch Gold and Silver on the day and, as ever, Iain Grant was a popular winner back in the Event Headquarters for prize giving.

The team prize went to with Thomas Gordon combining with Grant and Doyle.

Full pictures to be found on our Facebook page:

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