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47th South Carrick David Bell Memorial Race

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47th South Carrick David Bell Memorial Race
Location: Girvan, South Ayrshire
Event: 10th June 2012
Report and Images: Christopher Johnson

Rapha Condor Sharp made in two years in a row when Christopher Jennings of South Africa soloed across finish line of the 47th South Carrick David Bell Memorial. A frantic last lap of a fifteen mile circuit around the Byne climb decimated what had been a leading group of ten down to five at the end of a fantastic day’s racing around the hill roads of South Carrick.

Now a National A event, the South Carrick David Bell Memorial is the biggest day-race in Scotland and despite the late scheduling clash with the Smithfield Nocture in London, attracted the strongest calibre field in the event’s history.

The action kicked off in Girvan at 11am with local schoolchildren William Ratchford and Megan Crowhurst waving the riders off accompanied by a piper. With just seven miles before the first spring at Dailly the Scottish teams seized the initiative and got a quick gap opened up off the front, with Peter Murdoch of Cyclelane overpowering Andrew Whitehall (Velo Ecosse) and Andrew Cox (TheBicycleWorks .com).

On a short and lumpy circuit close to the old race HQ in Straiton a big split in the field formed, giving 20 riders a clear run up the first GPM of the day at Glenalla. Kit Gilham of Herbalife outdid Michael Cumming and Luke Grivell Mellor (both Rapha Condor Sharp), no doubt quick to escape what judging teams cried a ‘midge epidemic’.

The race high point, the ascent of Nic O Balloch did little to disrupt the rhythm of the leaders and the chasers. Michael Cumming took full points at the William Grant & Sons GPM before the race passed the memorial to David Bell at Rowantree Toll and the long descent to Bargrennan.

A lead group established itself on the road to the second Sprint at Barrhill. All four Rapha Condor Riders, Hassan, Gilham and Hawdon (Herbalife-Leisure Lakes), Greenwood (Vanillabikes), Gary Hand (Pedal Power Endura Forme) and Liam Glen (Wheelbase /MGD). Andrew Hawdon took the prime, amassing enough points to take the South Carrick Community Leisure Sprints Trophy.

Meanwhile the pursuiters were holding the gap at under four minutes as riders challenged for the big prizes and points on offer to 20th place. The final GPM of the day at the Screws saw Gilham take top honours for the William Grants and Son’s King of the Mountains.

And so began the first of two tactically played laps of the Byne circuit. Heavily outnumbered, Greenwood of Vanilla Bikes put in a number of efforts to whittle the group down to five who had established a lead of over 1 minute by the last lap. Sadly for Greenwood both Rapha Condor Sharp and Herbalife Leisure Lakes had two men. Racing down the Assle Valley, never dropping below 30mph, Christopher Jennings was able to break clear and entered the final circuit of Victory Park with a clear view behind. A very hotly contested sprint for second was just rewards for Ben Greenwood who animated the race so much. Richard Handley trailed home King of the Mountain winner Kit Gilham who took 3rd.

Meanwhile the anxious Girvan crowd waited with baited breath for the remains of the peloton containing local riders Mark Skilling and Kenny Armstrong, both vying for the host clubs ‘Davie Bell RR trophy’. A huge cheer went up the finish straight as the bunch sprinted for the line, Skilling just pipping Armstrong.

Having doused his opponents in Champagne on the finish podium, victor Christopher Jennings was very gracious in his speech, praising the level of the racing and his opponents, and thanking the Girvan crowd for the great hospitality and sunshine!

And so concluded a fantastic weekend of cycling in Girvan, with more than 100 amateurs completing the 100km Highwayman Challenge on Saturday, nearly 80 volunteers aiding the passage of the race on Sunday, and close to £1,000 raised for MS Society Scotland.

Organiser Christopher Johnson praised the support host club Ayr Roads CC had received for the event. “It is thanks to our local sponsors and community that we’ve achieved what we have – South Ayrshire Council and South Carrick Community Leisure have given us fantastic help all along the way. We’ve seen the employees of William Grants & Sons go above the call of duty, taking to their bikes en masse yesterday in the Highwayman Audax and assisting all day today. It’s incredibly humbling to see the work and commitment put into our event, and we thank the racers for putting on such a great spectacle”.


1 Christopher Jennings Rapha Condor Sharp 04:02:05
2 Ben Greenwood Vanillabikes .com 00:46
3 Kit Gillham Herbalife-Leisure Lakes Bikes .com st
4 Richard Handley Rapha Condor Sharp st
5 Robert Hassan Herbalife-Leisure Lakes Bikes .com 02:53
6 Andrew Hawdon Herbalife-Leisure Lakes Bikes .com st
7 Gary Hand PedalPower Endura Forme Racing 04:21
8 Michael Cumming Rapha Condor Sharp 07:28
9 Luke Grivell-Mellor Rapha Condor Sharp 08:30
10 Liam Glen Wheelbase / MGD 10:39
11 Kieren Banlin Vanillabikes .com 10:45
12 Neil Taylor Edinburgh RC st
13 Jamie Kennedy Glasgow Couriers 11:21
14 Harry Grey Vanillabikes .com st
15 Alex Coutts RTS Racing 11:25
16 Alastair Kay Herbalife-Leisure Lakes Bikes .com 11:42
17 Peter Murdoch Team Cyclelane 11:44
18 Alistair McNicol TheBicycleWorks .com 11:54
19 David Lines PedalPower Endura Forme Racing 14:02
20 Edward Addis Equipe Velo Ecosse /Montpeliers st
21 Tim Blathwayt Velo Club Edinburgh 14:12
22 Karl Denton Blumilk .com 14:51
23 Liam Cowie PedalPower Endura Forme Racing 14:52
24 Simon Baxter Herbalife-Leisure Lakes Bikes .com 15:11
25 Matt MacDonald Equipe Velo Ecosse /Montpeliers st
26 Lewis Oliphant Equipe Velo Ecosse /Montpeliers st
27 Russell Bayliss GS Metro st
28 Craig Adams GJS Racing Team st
29 Richard McDonald Dooleys-Cycles .co.uk st
30 Mark Skilling Ayr Roads CC / Harry Fairbairn BMW st
31 Andrew Whitehall Equipe Velo Ecosse /Montpeliers st
32 Kenny Armstrong Ayr Roads CC / Harry Fairbairn BMW st
33 Rob Wilkins Equipe Velo Ecosse /Montpeliers st
34 Jack Barret Beste Aide / S.C. Duranguesa 21:32

South Carrick Community Leisure Sprint Champion
Andrew Hawdon Herbalife-Leisure Lakes Bikes .com

William Grants & Sons King of the Mountains
Kit Gilham Herbalife-Leisure Lakes Bikes .com

Ayr Roads Davie Bell Champion
Mark Skilling Ayr Roads CC / Harry Fairbairn BMW

Dailly Sprint
Peter Murdoch Team Cyclelane
Andrew Whitehall Equippe Velo Ecosse / Montpelliers
Andrew Cox TheBicycleWorks .com

Barrhill Sprint
Andrew Hawdon Herbalife-Leisure Lakes Bikes .com
Christopher Jennings Rapha Condor Sharp
Richard Handley Rapha Condor Sharp

Glenalla GPM
Kit Gilham Herbalife-Leisure Lakes Bikes .com
Michael Cumming Rapha Condor Sharp
Luke Grivell-Mellor Rapha Condor Sharp

Nic O Balloch GPM
Michael Cumming Rapha Condor Sharp
Kit Gilham Herbalife-Leisure Lakes Bikes .com
Robbie Hassan Herbalife-Leisure Lakes Bikes .com

Screws GPM
Kit Gilham Herbalife-Leisure Lakes Bikes .com
Michael Cumming Rapha Condor Sharp
Ben Greenwood Vanillabikes .com


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