Report by Eric Easton
Photo by A. Robson/The Press Room
Is there an appetite for Summer cyclocross in the burgeoning Scottish ’cross scene? Saturday’s Haugh+ Summer Cross event provided ample evidence that there is both an appetite for racing and for organising through the Summer. This is the fourth year of this event staged at the Silver Sands in Aberdour and promoted by Ronde and META and organised by James McCallum. It made a great change to race in dry conditions and be able to sit a watch the other races whilst having a pint.
A new format for this year’s race was introduced with riders allocated to one of two heats, the top fifty riders from each heat racing again in the A Final whilst the B Final was made up of non-qualifiers. Seniors, Vets and Women raced together. This format was warmly received by riders especially by those in the B Final who are often racing at the tail end of age-classified events.
The course looked fast and fairly non-technical but proved to be challenging with a number of off-camber corners, deep mossy grass and a stiff headwind. Conditions were bright and sunny all day except for the under 16 race.
The first heat was won by Connor Johnstone (Leslie Bikes) with Davy Lines (Velosure Starley Primal) second and Matthew James (Rossendale RC) third. The second heat was easily won by Hugo Robinson of (Neon-Velo), with James Fraser-Moodie (Pedal Power) following him in second on the mountain bike and Paul Carmichael (The Bicycleworks) third.
Carnegie Cyclones organised the juniors races and categorised them in a sensible and clear way by Primary School class. P1–3 was comfortably won by Alasdair Easton of Edinburgh RC, Finn Crowther (Meedies Bike Club) and Matthew McCleery (Carnegie Cyclones) were 2nd and 3rd respectively. The P4–6 race was much more competitive - Katie Galloway (West Lothian Clarion) fought her way to the front and held on for an impressive win in front of Alexander Crombie (West Lothian Clarion) and Finlay Cooper (Carnegie Cyclones).
As the marquee sprang into life with one of the local Aberdour indie bands giving it laldy, the B Final started. John McComisky (SR Albannach) stormed into an early inspiring lead and the race was on. He stayed there for a lap until he blew and settled into the middle of the bunch. Adam Wallace raced impressively to take the B final win from Ron Mill (Leslie Bikes) and Dave Smeaton. Katie Carmichael (Hervelo) took a lot of (mostly thinning tbh) male scalps with a cracking fifth place.
The A Final was all about the Davy Lines/Hugo Robinson shoot out. From the gun these two surged ahead with Davy doing the bulk of the leading in the early stages. Behind there was extremely hard racing with three or four small but very aggressive groups trying to break away from each other. At the bell, Robinson attacked and built a substantial lead through the first few corners of the lap. There was never any danger that Lines would bridge but he did manage to close the gap and the back half of the course and finished only a few seconds behind the worthy winner. Allan Clark (Leslie Bikes) fought hard with Gary McCrae (Leslie Bikes) all race but edged out McCrae for third place.
Hugo Robinson is new to the Scottish ’cross but has raced widely throughout Europe and further afield. He’s a double junior British cyclocross champ and is just starting his senior pro career with Neon-Velo, undoubtedly a very classy rider.
A long day racing with two hard efforts each for the riders. The format seems good though and maybe should be borne in mind for the non-series races in the up coming season. Reasons for: racing against riders of similar ability regardless of age, stage or gender. Reasons against: two races in the short days of winter may be impracticable.