For Rounds 4 and 5, the Scottish Cyclocross Series headed to a very special venue indeed – Glenmore Lodge, Scotland’s National Outdoor Centre, located in the heart of the awe inspiring Cairngorms National Park.
After the sunshine and blue skies of the previous day, grey skies and drizzle greeted riders as they set about readying themselves for Round 5 of the Scottish Cross Series. The challenging conditions would make a tough course tougher still, although the course itself remained relatively fast and flowing with little in the way of deep, draggy mud. Velo Club Moulin, organisers of the Glenmore Cross Weekend, stuck with largely the same course as laid out for Round 4, which had been well received by racers and spectators alike. With the wet weather however the grassy turns would prove to be a little trickier, the singletrack descents a little sketchier, tarmac sections a touch slicker and the barriers would no doubt feel a little taller, especially for riders who had raced the previous day!
Velo Club Moulin received a lot of support for the weekend, 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 a beautiful, photo heavy, authentic Belgian Cyclocross coffee table book kindly donated by Geoff Waugh Photography. This and a fine Belgian brew would go to the ‘Hurdle Hero’ – the most stylish rider over the barriers during Sundays racing.
15 Youth riders took to the line for the first race of the day and 30 mins plus 1 lap of racing. From the gun the field rocketed up the wall of a tarmac climb, with Ben Millar leading the charge from the previous day’s winner Scott Lindsay. And it was Millar who led the field through at the end of lap 1 with a small amount of daylight to the chasing group of Linsday, Tom Arnstein, Stuart McClusky and Iain Paton, 5 seconds down.
By the start of lap 3 Millar, who finished 2nd the previous day had stretched his lead out to 10 seconds over Lindsay now alone in 2nd spot. Over the next 2 laps Lindsay pushed hard to close the gap, getting tantalisingly close at times, but Millar stayed strong at the front and hung on well to take the win. Lindsay took 2nd and McClusky managed to shake off chase companion Iain Paton for the final podium spot. Yuka Gallagher had another fine ride to take the Youth girls win and entertained the spectators with an exciting race long dual with Sean Noon for 6th place overall.
From the gun it was winner of the previous days Vets race Iain Nimmo, straight to the fore, gapping the field on the first climb and setting a furious tempo no other riders could follow. Behind Alex Glasgow, Gary Macrae and James Melville took up the chase. Nimmo gradually extended his lead throughout the race to comfortably take his second win of the weekend. Behind, Glasgow mounted a spirited chase, dropping his chase companions and riding solo for several laps to take a fine second place. Macrae and Melville remained locked together for several laps in the battle for the final podium spot, but it was Melville who won out just pipping Macrae to the line.
An exciting duel took place at the front of the Women’s field between Maddy Robinson and Ann Murray. Through the start/finish at the end of lap 1 Murray was first lady through with Robinson hot on her heels. The duo were still locked together a lap later before Robinson was able to pull away into the lead. An early race tumble at the barriers had however damaged Robinson’s front wheel, so a pit stop and wheel change at the end of lap 4 allowed Murray to move back out front. A lap later though and Robinson had bridged back up to Murray. From here Robinson dug deep and managed to pull away again to take a well deserved win with Murray coming in just 30 secs down to take 2nd spot.
In the junior category Jack Taylor and Charles Fletcher returned to do battle after an exciting race long dual the previous day. This time however it was Fletcher who came out on top holding the lead from start to finish with Taylor not far too behind in 2nd and Matthew Hamilton in 3rd.
With the grim conditions and a previous day’s racing in many riders legs, there were few complaints and even a little cheer on the start line as the race duration was nudged a little lower to 50 mins plus a lap of racing. Craig Hardie again got the holeshot leading the field up the first climb at a frenetic pace. By the end of lap 1 however, Dan Whitehead had moved to the front a couple of seconds ahead of Hardie, followed closely by Paul Newnham, Bruce McLeary, Steven McInnes and others.
A lap later and Whitehead had extended his lead to 10 secs over Hardie.
Over the subsequent laps nobody would get close to Whitehead who, looking super strong just kept on extending his lead to take the win by over a minute from Hardie, who rode solo for most of the race to take 2nd spot. Having been up near the front all race long, Steven McInnes picked up the 3rd place a further minute back with Bruce McLeary in 4th and Damian Smith in 5th – a fine ride from the visiting NW England Wheelbase rider. Paul Newnham had been sitting in the top 5 for the first half of the race but was the unfortunate victim of a rolled tub and a long run to the pits on lap 7. Newnham however was able to battle on finish a very respectable 11th.
Guy Willoughby reports:
The Sunday Kids Race at Glenmore proved to be an extremely eventful one with the wet grassy track nicely mudded up in places from the earlier races and continuing rain making the conditions very slippery. The riders were out for Willoughby, and had a suitable seasonal Trick or Treat by hiding his bike 30 minutes before the start! A growl from Ian Mellis recovered the missing bike and all protagonists made it to the start line in time for 10mins plus 1 lap of racing.
Jamie Willoughby (Drumlanrig) wasn't for any more mucking around and the young shepherd from the Southern Uplands put foot to the pedal for a flying start and simply never let up the pace. Behind him the swimmer from Fife Joe Nally (Carnegie) and Callum Shackley (Glasgow Riderz) rode the same tactics as the day before, with Shackley sprinting past with 2 laps to go. Nally was having none of it however, and drove on head down to recoup 2nd place by the bell, going on the extend the gap over Shackley. However, exactly as Emma Borthwick had the previous day, and Nally's elder brother had the previous year, he overcooked it at the final tight bend through the bushes, couldn't unclip and pitched over to allow the smiling Shackley through to take 2nd place.
Back in 4th and 5th Borthwick was battling with Erika Allen (Wallace Warriors), who corner after corner was trying to take Borthwick's line, but to no avail despite Borthwick sporting a very black n blue bruise from the previous day! At the line Under 10 rider Cameron Mellis (Carnegie Cyclones) split the girls to relegate Allen down to 6th. The order across the line was Willoughby, Shackley, Nally, Borthwick (1st U12 girl), Mellis (1st U10 boy) and Allen - with Katie Allen leading in the U10 girls ahead of Jenny Allen and Ariana Willoughby.
Sue Melrose, Trina Ritchie and others braved the rain 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 6, Inverkeithing High School, 15th Nov
The Series takes a break for a week before returning on Sun 15th November for Round 6, The Steven Lyle Memorial Cross Race at Inverkeithing High School, Fife. Organised by Sandy Wallace Cycles, expect a classic cross course and close, exciting racing.
If you can’t wait that long to get your cross fix, a new cross race is being held at Knockburn Loch near Banchory, Aberdeenshire this Sunday 8th Nov. Although not part of the 09 Scottish Cross Series, the course and venue looks to be a cracker and well worth the trip. Details of this race as well as all the latest news, happenings and info on the Scottish Cross Series and links to our fantastic series sponsors, can be found at www.scottishcyclocross.org.uk
Pics: Sue Melrose