Words: Eric Easton
This was epic, in a way that CX is seldom epic; snow, a fantastic course in a natural amphitheatre of cross, mechanical catastrophe, recovery, further catastrophe and some big hearted “balls-out” racing. Stevie Jackson (Glasgow United) was pushed all the way by a rampaging, but doubly unlucky, Davie Lines and the 14 year old Cameron Mason (who had the ride of the day before fading in the last couple of laps).
The A race started with a long uphill sprint through the trees and into the singletrack but within minutes Lines had rolled his rear tub and was wearing out his cleats running to the pits. Stephen Jackson took the opportunity and gave it volgas but young Cameron Mason was right on his back wheel. Jackson had the flat out power and seemed to drop Mason on the flatter less technical section but Mason had the singletrack chops and pulled Jackson back in the more technical sections. Ian Dunlop of the VCM was riding his best race of the season so far, keeping Mason in sight but riding his own race.
Lines was obviously piqued at his bad luck and started laying down the power, within three laps Lines had made up a huge gap and was sitting in fourth place behind Ian Dunlop, at four laps Lines had passed Dunlop and was right on Mason's wheel. James McCallum, now riding for himself in a remarkable kit ensemble, was sitting in fifth with Gary McCrae just behind him. By lap 5 Mason was starting to tire and looking less comfortable on the bike, Jackson seemed to sense this and pushed on put 15 seconds into Mason but Lines who was still on the charge and looking fresh. Lap 6 saw Lines only 24 seconds behind Jackson and still closing, young Mason dropped into fourth place behind Lines and Dunlop. Jackson was looking fresh but the end of Lap 6 he got a puncture and had to run a good bit and dropped into the pits to pick up his spare bike, Davy Lines was now in the lead with Ian Dunlop chasing for second. Mason was now well off the pace and looking dejected, he was to finish 5 minutes down eventually.
On the very last lap Jackson had kept his belief, managed to make up a load of time and get back in the race; he was only 5 seconds or so behind Lines as they entered the woods on the final singletrack section; by the time they came out of the woods into sight of the finish, Jackson was in front having passed Lines and Dunlop. Jackson won the race by 9 seconds from an elated Ian Dunlop and 46 seconds in front of the running Lines who had lost his derailleur in the woods.
I race in the B race but have no idea how the race panned out as I was dodging along mid-pack. Ross McArthur and Calum Ritchie escaped early on and rode away from the rest of the field. For them, it was nip and tuck lap after lap with only Gary Tompsett putting in a realistic attempt to catch them. On the last lap McArthur entered the woods first and emerged first, managing to hold off any counter attacks by Ritchie through the singletrack sections to take first by 3 seconds from Ritche and 1 minutes 36 seconds from Tompsett.
Jim Cameron and his Albannach team put a fantastic race on in a wonderful venue, thanks guys.