By: Morven Brown
The next round of the thrilling 2013 Ridley Scottish Cyclocross series continues in fine fashion this weekend as riders descend on Strathclyde Park, near Motherwell, on Sunday the 10th November.
Another strong pre-entry field of over 250 entrants are set to take on the tough course laid out by East Kilbride Road Club. For 2013 the course has been completely overhauled with the loop running clockwise with a double pit entry to remedy any punctures and bike changes. Ditches are the order of the day with three on course - one a run and a hop, one to be negotiated on two wheels and the usual muddy swoop of a ditch! The course climbs up the steep Ash climb in a sprint to the top that will be lactic acid enducing in even the strongest rider's legs. With plenty of fast, flat straights and mud forecast, racers will be challenged to use both speed and technique to be first over the line. It's a course which, according to the organisers, "should be fast if it doesn't kill you..", and should provide some great racing to watch and be part of.
First up to take on a shortened loop are the Under 12 categories where riders as young as 4 years old will head out for 10 minutes of cyclocross action. Series leader and man to beat, Jamie Johnston of Thomsons Cycles will hope to lead from the start to make it a hattrick of victories. Jamie will be challenged by fellow cross-country specialist, Rory McGuire (Team Bicycles.org.uk), looking to improve on his 3rd place last weekend at Knockburn. In the girls Under 12 event, three girls will be hoping to see the Knockburn podium repeated. With Anna Flynn (Edinburgh RC), Eva Young (Royal Albert CC) and Skye Donnelley all entered, the race at Strathclyde Park will be a showdown for these young racers.
In the Youth U14 category, Sean Flynn (Edinburgh RC) goes into the event as the current series leader, looking to cement his position as we enter the second half of the series. With the absence of Joe Nally in the Under 16 boys category, John MacLeod (Edinburgh RC) and Calum Shackley (Glasgow Riderz) will look to move up the series leaderboard with strong results on the day. In both the Under 14 and Under 16 girls categories, the Strathdee sisters, Ishbel and Eleanor from Edinburgh RC, will be the ones to watch, although Katie Allen (Thomsons Cycles) will be striving for points in the Under 16 category.
Moving onto the Junior, Women and Veteran 50+ setting off at 11.30am, the Junior mens field is full of big names and will be a spectacle to behold. With top 3 in the series all pre entered and many other who could podium on the day, over 40 minutes these young lads will be chasing for position. Names to watch include series leader Conor Nally (Hardie Bikes), round 1 victor, Harry Johnston (Thomsons Cycles) and cross country specialist Mark McGuire (Team Bicycles).
Maddy Robinson (Velo Club Moulin) has been in fine form this season with a host of strong performances topped off with a victory at Knockburn last weekend. In the Veteran women race, Brenda Callendar (Stirling BC) aims to bag the full series of wins, while current British cross country champion, Erika Allen of Thomsons Cycles looks set to make her mark on the Junior race. Brendan Roe will be the man to beat in the Veteran 50+ race, although William Young showed form at Callendar Park and will hope to push Roe closer to the line at Strathclyde Park.
The lunchtime event goes to the Veteran 40-49 category, where a field of over 90 men will chase each other over ditch and through bog to claim the prize of first home. With three wins from three already in the series, Gary McCrae (Leslie Bikeshop) is sitting clear at the top of the series leaderboard, however he will face stiff competition from his teammate Franco Porco and Stephen Jackson (Glasgow United CC).
Finally the senior men will set off for a grueling hour of swooping, sprinting, running and mud-dodging. Roger Campbell-Crawford of Thomsons Cycles will make the decision between cyclocross and mountain bike, but will be a main contender regardless of steed. James Fraser Moodie (Pedal Power) makes his Scottish cyclocross debut for the 2013 season, racers will have to be aware of his strength. The highest placed rider from the series standings, Sean Clark will be looking to move up from third overall. With plenty of contenders for the podium and big gains to be had in the overall series standings, the seniors race looks set to be a fantastic event for spectators.
With races kicking off with the Under 8s at 9.50am, and continuing until half past two, there is a full day of events to entertain friends and family. On a fast and furious race course, riders will have to give their all just to get around, let along challenge for podium spots.