Rounds 4 and 5 of the Scottish Cyclocross Series headed to a very special venue indeed last weekend – Glenmore Lodge, Scotland’s National Outdoor Centre, located in the heart of the awe inspiring Cairngorms National Park. Reports on Saturday's Round 4 appear below, with details of Sunday's Round 5 to follow.
The course, laid out by organising club Velo Club Moulin remained similar to the one used in 2008 and included everything a ’crosser could wish for: several grassy 180 turns and off camber sections, obligatory barriers (painted up in the colours of the Belgian flag!), fast curvy tarmac descent, natural and man-made singletrack climbs and descents and even some bermed corners and a very short section of dry ski slope to cross! Even better, riders had to negotiate three savagely steep but thankfully short tarmac climbs per lap which really put the hurt on the legs! It would be fair to say the course was a tough but fun one.
For this weekend of racing, Velo Club Moulin received a lot of support, none more so than from Glenmore Lodge, who let cyclocrossers take over their centre for the weekend! Additional thanks go to Bike Love, Bulmers, Pro Velo Support, Endura, Mikes Bikes and Montville Joinery and Shopfitting.
As well as great prize list, riders also had the chance to compete for two beautiful, photo heavy, authentic Belgian Cyclocross coffee table books kindly donated by Geoff Waugh Photography. These and a fine Belgian brew would go to the ‘Hurdle Hero’ – the most stylish rider over the barriers on each day of racing.
13 Youth riders lined up under blue, sunny skies for 30 mins plus 1 lap of racing in the first race of the day. From the gun riders were faced with a start loop around the final quarter of the course before starting the first lap proper meaning that right from the start it was straight up one of the super steep tarmac climb to spread things out. Ouch!
At the end of lap 1 Scott Lindsey, Ben Miller and Stuart McClusky came through, locked together with Tom Arnstein and Iain Paton chasing hard at 10 secs back. By the end of lap 2 however Lindsey had opened up a 15 sec gap over McClusky, with Millar a further 10 secs back. Out front Lindsey, looking strong and smooth, continued to stretch out his lead, whilst behind Millar was gradually starting to reel in McClusky.
By the end of lap 4 Millar had bridged up to McClusky and over the next lap was able to move ahead and open up a gap. With 6 laps completed Lindsay crossed the line to take a well deserved win from Millar in 2nd then McClusky in 3rd only a couple of seconds ahead of a fast finishing Iain Paton. Yuka Gallagher rode strongly to finish first Youth girl and 6th overall. Bravo!
With record numbers at the first 3 rounds of the 2009 Series, the organisers decided to split the Open Race, in order to create fast, flowing and fairer racing (and easier lap scoring!). Next up were the Vets/Women/Juniors readying themselves for 50mins plus 1 lap of racing.
From the gun, super fast vet Iain Nimmo shot off the front of the field and by the end of lap 1 had opened up a 15 sec gap on Gary McCrae followed closely by James Melville then a large group of riders. Nimmo continued to rip around the course extending his lead each lap to take the win in fine style. Behind McCrae took 2nd spot with Melville in 3rd, Brendan Roe in 4th and Franco Porco in 5th.
In the Women’s race, the winner of the first 3 rounds, Ruth Fraser-Moodie again took the race by the scruff of the neck, quickly pulling out a gap on the rest of the women’s field. Fraser-Moodie took the win comfortably with Maddy Robinson riding a great race to recover from a slow start to take 2nd spot ahead of Morven Brown in 3rd.
In the junior category, Jack Taylor and Charles Fletcher lit things up with an exciting, race-long duel. Fletcher had the better start and by the end of lap 5 had opened up a 30 sec gap on Taylor. A lap later however and Taylor had moved into the lead, holding a slender 5 second gap on Fletcher through the start/finish. Over the final 4 laps, Taylor dug in and held on to take the win from Fletcher in 2nd and Andrew Leith in 3rd.
A healthy field of over 40 riders took to the line under ominously dark and cloudy skies for the start of the Senior race. Craig Hardie, winner of the previous round at Mugdock, blasted through the start/finish at the end of lap 1 at the front closely followed by Paul Newnham, Bruce McCleary, Davie Lines, James Fraser-Moodie, Iain Nimmo, Steven McInnes and Damian Smith.
At this moment the heavens opened and quickly made the course a whole lot slippier, especially through the grassy sections. Cue lots of unplanned dismounts, slips and falls as riders tried desperately to stay upright in the changing conditions.
Out front, Hardie seemed to be revelling in the rain and looking smooth and powerful gradually opened up the gap to 15 secs over Newnham by the end of lap 5 with Lines a further 10 secs back in 3rd. Over the next few laps however, Newnham dug deep and brought the gap down to just 5 seconds on lap 9, but was unable to bridge up and Hardie pulled away again to take the win in fine style, 15 secs ahead of Newnham in 2nd spot and Lines a further 30 secs back in 3rd. Behind, McCleary rode strongly for 4th place with McInnes in 5th.
Guy Willoughby reports:
20 kids lined up for the final event of the day, the combined U12s and U10s race, with a shortened course laid out on the grass in-field following part of the same route as the seniors and earlier races. So with over 100 previous riders on the wet track, the kids would require good handling skills in their 15 minute + a lap race to negotiate the frequent twists and turns.
The race was led from the start by Jamie Willoughby resplendent in his new bright yellow Drumlanrig racing colours, with Emma Borthwick pushing him hard in second place, particularly on the straighter grass sections and the short tarmac road. Joe Nally rode in 3rd place through much of the race, quietly tracked by Callum Shackley, who then with 3 minutes to race sprinted past Nally and into 3rd spot. On the final lap after the bell, Emma Borthwick had a spectacular crash on the tight bend by the bushes, allowing Shackley and Nally to slip through. The finishing order was Willoughby, Shackley, Nally, Borthwick, with U10 rider Henry Kerr being in there at the finish to lead in the U10s.
Fancy Dress Night Cross
The day ended with a fancy dress night cross ‘race’ using the first 1/3rd of the course for a few laps and some high jinks. A small crowd gathered to witness some great outfits, some shocking outfits and plenty of fun racing.
Trina Ritchie, Sue Melrose and others were on hand to capture the action from around the stunning course – lots of great images are at: http://www.flickr.com/groups/scottishcyclocross/pool/
Next Up – Round 5, Part Two of the Glenmore Double Header
Report to follow soon. In the meantime, for all the latest news, happenings and info on the Scottish Cross Series as well as links to our fantastic series sponsors, check out www.scottishcyclocross.org.uk