'The Number 23'

Stuart Turvey Memorial 10-Mile TT incorporating Scottish Cycling National 10.

Words and images: The Press Room

The Stuart Turvey Memorial Cup

On Sunday 5th May the great and the good of Scottish time trialling gathered at Monikie to remember a young man called Stuart Turvey and to race in his honour. It also happened to be the Scottish Cycling National 10-Mile Championship…and it was a close-run thing; not just in the result but in the event happening at all.

It was every organiser’s nightmare: a road accident on the original course at Freuchie meaning extensive road repairs and for even experienced organisers, this could have spelled disaster. Throw into the mix that RT23’s Eddie Addis was organising his first event and he would have been forgiven by many for throwing in the towel.

This wasn’t any event though…this was Stuart’s race and the host club was determined to remember Stuart in the best way possible by making sure the race went ahead. Those absolute bedrocks of the Scottish racing scene, Mhairi Laffoley and Martin Harris, threw their considerable talents into the mix and an alternative course near Monifieth was given the okay within a very short time.

Kyle Gordon celebrates his win in the Stuart Turvey Memorial, second and third to Jamie Davidson and David Griffiths

Now Stuart was a special bike rider and it’s in his memory that RT23 get the ‘23’ part of their name…this was the number that Stuart wore in his last race and there’s a special prize every year for the rider to get the closest time to 22:59 (Stuart’s best 10-mile time). It went to Jamie Kennedy (GTR-Return To Life) this year with 23:02.

Listening to Sandy Wallace explaining what the race meant, and what Stuart meant to everyone who knew him, before Stuart’s dad Fred presented the cup to the winner, it was obvious to everyone who could hear the raw emotion in Sandy’s voice, that Stuart’s passing had affected the whole team deeply and that his loss was still very keenly felt.

(L) New course record holder Vicky Smith flanked by Catriona MacGillivray and Neah Evans. (R) Pamela Craig and Catriona MacGillivray took the Women's Team prize

Before we get into the racing, let’s dispel a few errors that you may have read in the official report (before someone took the big red pen to it and fixed the mistakes): as fast as RT23’s Kyle Gordon is, he didn’t on this occasion break the course record which is still held by that Secret Squirrel, and behind-the-scenes mentor to many, Jon Entwistle in 19:55. He may have been after the national record but that’s still held by the late Jason MacIntyre: John Archibald hasn’t managed that yet…well, not under SC regulations but he has under CTT!

On the other hand, Vicky Smith smashed the Women’s course record which had previously been held by Amanda Tweedie (this year volunteering her services with the timekeepers). Unless someone had turned Angus upside down, the start left the Ethiebeaton and headed east not west before turning across the carriageway at Muirdrum and returning back to Monifieth. At least the riders knew where they were going…well except the one who missed the big arrows at the turn and continued towards Arbroath before realising their mistake (name withheld to protect dignity but he’s called Neil).

Laura Cluxton piloted by Mr C

So onto the racing…and boy was it cold. Much colder than a day in May should ever be. As we left Argyll at 5am to drive to Dundee, the car was showing 3 degrees and it didn’t get much warmer by the start of the race…a bitterly cold wind was gusting along the road giving the riders a tailwind start and a headwind slog back to the timekeepers.

Many riders spun out on the outward leg but as any time triallist knows, the race is won and lost on the run into the wind. Everyone was talking about power readings and while this is considered to be the best way to train, in race conditions it often throws up some unexpected results. Some riders spun back into the wind, up and over the rolling terrain, while others pushed a big gear and kept it turning…or not so much in some cases.

(L) Janette Hazlett in the new, retro-inspired, Glasgow Ivy colours. (R) Georgia Mansfield picked up the U23 title.

We didn’t have a watch on any of the riders but with the bikes setting off at minute intervals, and the seeded riders at gaps of two minutes, it became second nature to feel when someone was performing well. There were two riders that while they didn’t look much faster, they appeared out of sequence in the time gaps.

The other riders weren’t going slowly; Kyle Gordon (RT23) and Vicky Smith (AeroCoach) just appeared so much faster. We were about three miles in, just before the Victoria Interchange, and it afforded us the chance to get the riders in both directions…with the return being up an incline at that point. Vicky Smith churned a huge gear up this slope into the wind and it was a really impressive performance.

Patricia Baird, in full flight, wins the V50 category

The race started with the non-championship youth riders and then, unusually, we saw the senior Men before the Juniors and the senior Women. So often, the women get the coldest weather conditions with the men getting a comparatively warmer ride later on. Not this time as the sun didn’t make an appearance until the seeded men came through at the tail of their category…but the sun was only out for 15 minutes before it clouded over again.

First rider to approach was Discovery Junior Cameron Brown and he returned a very respectable 25:13. Next was the Royal Albert’s Jack McManus but he was being hunted down by a fast-moving Callum Reid (Squadra Scozzese)…perhaps a bit too fast moving because going in the opposite direction, Jack pulled Callum back and ‘uncaught’ himself. These two then had a ding-dong battle to the finish with Callum once again taking the lead and finishing in 25:36, Jack in 26:47 having started a minute ahead.

Daniel Kain powers to a superb time of 22.04 on youth gears!

The standout performance though came from Daniel Kain (Squadra Scozzese) as he flew along the course, on youth gears, and finished in a superb time of 22:04. This was talked about as riders enjoyed the coffee and cake afterwards and a number of senior riders took note of how fast young Daniel is becoming.

Onto the senior men and the first rider to pass us was sporting the bright pink of Team Andrew Allan Architecture, with Craig Duncan finishing in 23:32 for an eventual 46th place. The times were all very closely packed but if you wanted to get inside the top 15, riders had to post a time inside of 22 minutes. Off number 19 at just approaching 8.20am, Aberdeen Wheelers’ Iain Macleod blasted back to the timekeepers in 21:05. This meant that he sat at the top of the sheet for close to two hours before finally being unseated by Tom Gelati (Bioracer-Moriarty Bikes) with just 3 seconds in hand. This saw the pair of them finish in 7th and 8th positions overall.

(L) Bioracer-Moriarty Bikes won the Team prize with Jamie Davidson, Tom Gelati and David Griffiths. (R) Former multi-champion James Millar back to racing

Tom Gelati would hold the top spot for only around 10 minutes before his teammate David Griffiths came home in 20:27. This put Dr Dave in the hotseat but he would eventually slip to 3rd overall, giving the two higher places to yet another teammate and to the defending holder of the Stuart Turvey Cup.

RT23’s Alan Thomson returned in 20:58 but it was the man on the road behind him , his teammate Kyle Gordon, who would chase him home and finish in 20:09, good enough for 1st position overall, the Scottish Cycling 10-Mile title and, most importantly, to retain Stuart’s cup and keep his as the only name on it. Bioracer’s Jamie Davidson took 11 seconds out of teammate David Griffiths to finish in Silver medal spot but, superb time though it was, he was still 7 seconds shy of Kyle Gordon. Defending champion Liam Beaty (Hawick CC) was just 3 seconds off the podium and had to settle for 4th on the day with Wilson Renwick (unattached) a further 4 seconds back in 5th spot.

Adding up the times of David Griffiths, Jamie Davidson and Tom Gelati gave the Bioracer-Moriarty Bikes squad the Team Gold in a total combined time of 1.1:45.

Superb times on a day when conditions, as they so often are in Scotland, were less than ideal. Also, not the fastest course but fantastic performances from all concerned.

Oscar Onley rode to victory in the Junior category

Next up were the juniors and there were no girls represented this year unfortunately. With only five boys presenting themselves to the starter, it was looking like a clean sweep for Spokes RT. Craig Grieve and Blair Whiteside know how to build a development squad and they know which riders to bring to which races (Scottish Cycling take note). Last rider off was Oscar Onley and this young man is simply getting faster and faster…like so many of the riders to have passed through Spokes RT in recent years.

He came back to the finish in a top time of 21:13 to take the title from his teammate Logan MacLean who finished in 22:16. Keeping the rivalry going Logan took Silver from Aaron King by just 3 seconds to lockout the podium places and the championship medals. Matiss Robertson from the host club RT23 came 4th in 23:27 with Edinburgh RC’s Matthew McCullagh finishing in 23:49.

With Oscar and Logan’s times combined to give a total of 43:29, they had secured a new Scottish Cycling Junior Team Competition record by 2 seconds over the old standard!

Flying the flag for Stirling BC, Carole Dick won the V40 title

Last category on the ticket was the Senior Women’s race and first machine along the road was Laura Cluxton on her tandem piloted by Mr C on this occasion. She would return in a time of 24:57, an excellent time considering how difficult it can be to get such a long machine through the relatively difficult and technical turn at the Muirdrum flyover.

Tandems are great training and regular track pilot Lucie Hrnickova (Edinburgh RC) used her track strength to come home in a time of 25:00 dead and an eventual 7th place overall. Next on the results sheet was the host club’s Anna Fairweather (RT23) who posted 24:57 and will no doubt be looking forward to this year’s hill climb championships where she excels.

Defending champion Neah Evans had to settle for Bronze this time around. Taking Silver for 2019 was Catriona MacGillivray

Riding to a fantastic 4th place overall, and keeping it with the host club, was top photographer and cyclist Pamela Craig (RT23) who popped in with a 24:43…a time that saw her finish in 4th place overall but, bonus, her first ever championship medal as she was one half of the winning team…more Gold medals to come for her!

Claiming 3rd overall, and Bronze on this occasion, was defending champion Neah Evans (Team HUUB). Neah is in the middle of a strength training block right now but was still looking very focused and aero on her machine. There was talk of a mechanical issue but we’re not sure exactly what happened but her time of 23:11 was still very creditable.

Continuing her rise to top form after her layoff, it was Catriona MacGillivray (RT23) who took second and Silver in 22:52 and also picked up Gold as the other half of the winning team.

Rider of the year so far as Vicky Smith makes it two from two in Scottish National championships

There was no stopping Vicky Smith (AeroCoach) though as she continues her winning ways in 2019. She has become the rider to beat and her performances at both the Meldons and here at Monifieth (as well as the Westferry with CTT) show that she is very versatile over different terrain and in different weather conditions. Her time of 21:47 wrestled the course record away from Amanda Tweedie and brought her another Gold medal to add to her haul. Her own unique way of appearing on the podium is always a delight to see, and shows that she is very much making sure that she’s having fun with her racing.

The other prizes on the day went to Ali Merry (Dundee Thistle) and Georgia Mansfield (Torelli-Assure) taking the U23 category in 22:15 and 25:58 respectively.

Gavin Laffoley wore the number '23' in honour of his best mate, Stuart Turvey

Vet 40 prizes went to Andy Underwood (Carse of Gowrie) and Carole Dick (Stirling BC) in 21:19 and 26:17. V50 top spots were taken by Peter Ettles (RT25) and Patricia Baird (Inverclyde Velo) in 22:21 and 25:21. V60 awards to Iain Elliot (Hawick CC) and Jenni Nicholson (RT23) in 25:21 and 29:00.

In memory of Stuart...

Final award of the day was to Sandy Wallace who picked up the V70 title in a time of 25:57, fitting then that it was Sandy who, along with Stuart’s dad Fred, presented the Stuart Turvey Cup to Kyle Gordon…a worthy recipient of the trophy that remembers a young man who made a huge impression on so many people.

Gallery here