Enter the Sandman - Lines Draws Number Three in the Sand

Words: John McComisky
Images: Fraser Waters (CXaddict.co.uk)

Before we even start this report, there has to be a huge amount of praise to Neil Walker and the Walkers Cycling Club who put on a “Sandtastic” event at The Irvine Beach Park on Sunday. A few new additions to the already classic dune course included more adverse camber, some bulletproof steeplechase hurdles, which mated so well with a longer lap and a challenging course that tested the 300 plus riders to the max.

The Ridley Scottish Cyclocross Series Round 4 saw the arrival of Rab Wardell (Trek Factory) back from some rest after his globe-trotting trip to Brazil last month, as well as a double round winning David Lines (MG-Maxifuel) who had really put the heat on the opposition at Knockburn Loch and Strathclyde Park.

This Senior class has thrown up more than its fair share of surprises this season, but all the talk in the dunes was who would be taking the race to Lines. From the off the answer to that question became very apparent, as Wardell got a wriggle on and was soon building up a commanding lead. With Lines in pursuit and maintaining a gap on the very impressive Mountain bike riding Paul Newham (Team Leslie Bikes) and a gaggle of riders that included overall Ridley Scottish Cyclocross Series leader Colin May (Velo Club Edinburgh) and a hard charging Sean Clark (Velo Sportive) the race looked like the rhythm had been set for the hour.

But just as things were looking like heading the way of Wardell, Lines soon started clawing his way back through the sand and unleashed a full gas attack on the victory honours.

Lap after lap the lead had swung time gap wise back and forth, with Lines, making up ground on the normally un-rideable run up (Newham and some of the hot Juniors were nailing it here too) and as the race reached its climax, Lines dropped the hammer to keep Wardell honest, to take a superb triple crown of Ridley Series victories, with Newham equally impressive in third taking the flat bar option.

It is also important to note that Colin May and his single-speed mount will leave the series for some well earned rest, and I am sure that a few of the leader-board riders will be glad that he won't be terrorising them.

Scottish Cyclocross has pushed the bar very high now, with riders of the quality to compete at the sharp end of National Trophy races, and that display at Irvine will be talked about for a very long time.

With the Scottish Championships in two weeks, can anyone stop the popular Lines? It certainly won't be Wardell as he has training camp commitments in Girona.

The V40 category again served up thrills and spills almost from the crack of the starters pistol, as the seventy-seven strong field thundered along the Beach Park into the finishing arena for the first time. Despite the melee that occurred with bikes and bodies entangled, the top guns were soon well clear and putting the hurt into the front of the race.

Gary McCrae (Team Leslie Bikes), simply rode everyone off his wheel, despite having an early tangle in the sand with team mate Franco Porco. As McCrae held court at the sharp end it was left to John Woodrow (Sandy Wallace Cycles) to continue his impressive run of form, and see off Porco for the last podium place. 

Of note was the return to racing action of James Melville (Glasgow United) who bravely fought of the gnawing pain of a broken rib to ride home in fourth. The day was Gary McRae's though, as he not only won on the beach, he also scooped the overall Veteran Forty Ridley Scottish Cyclocross Series Championship for 2013 with a round to go.

The Veteran 50+ / Womens / Junior race saw again the top Junior lads riding hard off the front throughout the race, Rory Mellis (Ronde) has been showing well this season, and despite the attentions of Conor Nally (Hardie Bikes) and the vocal support of mentor Craig Hardie, he just could not close in on the win.In the twenty seven strong Veteran Fifty class no-one was going to get a look in at Brendan Roe, who now has an unassailable lead in the class. Nearest challenger Bill Young (Pedal Power RT), popped a tub near race end to allow a good ride from Malcolm Dunlop to take second, with home-grown Robert Earp (Walkers Cycling) nabbing the last podium place.

The concurrently run Women's race saw a strong field assemble on the challenging course, With Series leader Maddy Robinson (VC Moulin), not having the best day on the parcours of Irvine, that in itself should not diminish the ride of Kerry McPhee (Rock and Road) who finally broke her duck to take a first ever Ridley Series win in the Senior Female class. All the more remarkable that the day before she was out riding for six hours on her MTB, and post cross race hit the pool for a couple of hours!!.

The most impressive ride of the afternoon though came in the shape of diminutive Isla Short (Team Thomsons Cycles) who smashed the entire field, to finish first past the post as well as take the Junior Female plaudits. Isla may be short in stature but she ain’t short on talent. The best of the Veteran Females again went to Stirling Bike Club's Brenda Callender from Lorna Sloan.

Under 8s
Under 12s
Women, Juniors & Veteran 50+
Veteran 40-49
Senior / Open

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Ridley Scottish Cyclocross Series League Tables

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