Words: Eric Easton
Photo: G. Watt
The Somme Remains the Same
Davy Lines took another impressive win last weekend at the fourth race of the Raleigh Scottish CX Series. Davy has convincingly won all of the series races he has entered and would be streets ahead in the points series had he not skipped Strathclyde Park to race at Durham.
Conditions were dry, cold and clear. The famous mud of the Meedies was still there of course but firmer and more claggy than the soupier conditions of last year. Those with two bikes and a jet washing pit crew were at significant advantage as chains, mechs and forks were all clogging. A large number of rear mechs were lost and there were significant numbers of DNFs in the main categories. The motivation sapping swiss roll of glaur still featured though a number of riders chose to run this section and made gains over their mud-plugging brethren. Jammaster J is still not at his best, it’s not the same without him at these races and we wish him the best in recovering quickly.
Davy Lines rode as he had all season, attacking hard from the whistle and riding consistently and within himself for lap after lap. On watching him for a couple of laps at the final corner, it was clear his advantage is not just in his fitness but in carrying speed out of muddy slippy corners. Gary MacDonald continued to chase as he has all season and finished only 16 seconds down on Lines despite never really having him in his sights. Neil Walker continued to rack up the points for the series with a decent third place. Indeed Neil Walker is still sitting top of the series from due to his consistent finishing.
The senior women’s race was more compelling with Anne Ewing and Eileen Roe jousting for lap after lap and way in front of the rest of the field. Coming in to the hurdles in the final lap, Roe made sure she was in front and held her line through the next two corners from a sprinting Ewing who just failed to come over her. Lucy Grant finished third but well down on the first two (1.33). Anne Ewing continues to hold on to the top position in the series.
In the Men’s 40+ race, Gary McCrae won again from a small bunch including the chasing James Melville at 23 seconds and Alister Watt and 33 seconds. Stevie Jackson lost ground in his bid for the series only finishing fifth. Matt Smith is getting stronger and stronger creeping into the top ten in this race. Currently Jackson sits second in the series with 267 points behind McCrae with 295. Brendan Roe won again in the Vets 50+ race from Matt Barnett and Graeme Gow.
The Women’s Vet races have been dominated all season by Brenda Callander who continued to win well from Elizabeth Clayton and Janet Erskine. Brenda is way out in in the overall series.
There were very big youths fields, especially in the Under–12s. Freddy Fuller took off from the gun and had lapped some riders by the end of the first lap and went on to win from Ben McMullen and Alfie Atterton. Archie Ellen showed his mettle and sheer determination after he lost his rear derailleur in lap two and with no spare bike decided to run the entire race a la Lauri Peil and still did not finish last. Imani Pereria-James maintained her dominating form by winning the girls Under–12s convincingly from a lapped Morvern Yeoman and Skye Donnely.
The Under-Eights races continue to delight with all involved - racers and spectators - smiling through the mud. Nina Padmanabhan won the girls race from Melanie Rowe and Daisy Wilkinson. Nicholas Jackson won the boys race, second was Joe Barnes with Brodie Duncan third.
The Male Junior race was won by Craig Gow from a doggedly chasing John MacLeod and Connor Johnstone. This was a good result for MacLeod who favours much hillier courses and he should be a favourite for the Scottish Champs at Irvine. The girls junior race was again won by Eleanor Strathdee with Louisa Watt second and Jess Miller third.
The Under–12s category needs some attention from SCX, race organisers and Scottish Cycling or all three. No longer is this just an inclusive kids event, there are riders in here with more race experience than some of the Vet 40+ Men, and they take it just as seriously. Of pressing need is the mandatory running of an Under–10 race which would see the size of the field decrease and much more competitive racing for those Under–10. The racing experience of those at Under–10 and Under–12 (especially the girls) has to be improved if we are to see these youngsters moving on to the older and less well supported age classes in numbers.
Sean Flynn won a fantastic Under 16 race. He had been following Cameron Mason the entire race, Mason attacked past the pits but failed to shake of Flynn who countered to get past Mason just before the hurdles and closed the door on the final two tight corners to take a great tactical win. The Under 14 male race was also fiercely competitive: Callum Cooper was first, from Jamie Johnstone (2nd) and Rory McGuire (3rd).
Anna McGorum continues her winning ways in the under 16 girls from Ishbel Strathdee and Megan Wilkinson. Sean’s sister Anna won the under 14 girl’s race with Anna’s sister Elena McGorum second and Katherine MacLeod third. Pheww - that’s it. Sorry its been late - too many evenings repairing my bike.