Sunday dawned cool and frosty for Raleigh SCX 2 at Knockburn Loch, NE Scotland’s longest established cyclocross venue. With the course set and taped the day before, Race Director Iain Pryde and his motley gang of DTCC volunteers were relieved that Knockburn’s legendary course flattening winds didn’t spring up overnight.
As a result of off-site parking and changes to the venue due to the development of a new Sports Academy, the main arena filled slowly. By the time the U8’s started, however, the crowds had gathered, cowbells were ringing and the gathered fans were treated to a great display of riding across all age groups.
First off, as ever, were the U8’s. Niamh Waters took the overall win in the race from Oliver Bain. Second in the U8 girls went to Melanie Rowe (Ythan CC) with Hope Thomson (DTCC) taking third. Callendar Park winner Joe Barnes was runner up in the boys U8, finishing ahead of Finn Watt (DTCC).
One of the highlights of the Knockburn course for many riders is the section through the Scots Pines around a small lochan, and the U12’s showed no hesitation in attacking the rooty, pine needle covered track. Frederick Fuller (ERC) took the race on from the gun, finishing well ahead of a fierce battle for second, won in a sprint by Euan Walkingshaw (ERC) from Ben McMullen (Team Thomsons Cycles), a result that saw a repeat of the Callendar Park podium. In the U12 girls, Imani Pereira-James (Glasgow Riderz) repeated her success in the first round of the Series, with Morven Yeoman managing second and Emily Carrick-Anderson (Peebles CC) rounding out the podium.
With three different courses at Knockburn, the Youth riders were first to venture across the bridge and round the main loch. A cracking race ensued, with Callendar Park runner up Sean Flynn (ERC) again forced to take second spot on the podium, this time to a flying Struan Pryde (DTCC). The pair were neck and neck until two to go, but a strong finish from Struan meant he had time to celebrate his win, before popping his marshal vest back on and getting back out on the course to help his Dad. Tam Munro-White (Ben Wyvis CC) rounded out the U16 boys podium. Fine riding from another local saw Callum Cooper (Ythan CC) take the boys U14 race, while Ishbel Strathdee (Edinburgh RC) took first in the U16 Girls and Anna Flynn (Edinburgh RC) first in the U14 Girls.
Next off was the combined Juniors, V50+ and Women’s race. Corner Johnstone (Leslie Bike Shop) took an easy win in the Junior Men, with John MacLeod (Spokes RT) sneaking into second a few metres before the line after Craig Gow (Tyneside Vagabonds), sitting comfortably in second, had a mechanical at the hurdles and had to sprint the last 300m.
In the Women’s, Maddie Robinson (VC Moulin) battled to top spot in a closely fought race-long battle, with Anne Ewing (WV Breda) finishing second and Jane Barr (Velocity 44) third. Brendan Roe (Leslie Bike Shop) topped the men’s V50+ race field, with Gregor Grant (Moray Firth CC) second and Mark Barnett (Leslie Bike Shop) third.
In the Men’s V40+ race, another great start by Stevie Jackson (Glasgow United) saw him establish an early lead of around 20s, which he defended for most of the race against a hard-charging (and slowly gaining) Gary Macrae (Leslie Bike Shop). A delighted John McCaffrey (Pedal Power RT) rounded out the podium in third.
The final race of the day, the Senior Open, saw a devastating display of power and technique from Davie Lines (Velosure Starley), who stretched out a first lap 20s lead to finish a full 2mins ahead of the chasing pack. In strengthening winds, Davie blasted through the pack to lap almost the entire field, with only the top 7 finishing on the same lap. Neil Walker (Walkers Cycles) took second from Sean Clark. Elite DH Racer Greg Williamson (777 Racing), in his first ever cross race, squeezed past Gary MacDonald (Hope Factory Racing) on their final pass over the barriers to take 4th.
The changes to the course resulted in a great day of racing, with the continuing development of the venue by owner Bert McIntosh year on year proving especially effective at bringing youngsters into the sport in the NE. DTCC would like to thank everyone involved today, racers, officials and volunteers alike, for their help in keeping this iconic race a fixture in the SCX calendar.