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.