Scottish Cycling National Championships Preview: Cyclocross

Scottish Cycling National Championships Preview: Cyclocross


Published: 05 December 2013

Article by: Morven Brown, Scottish Cycling

Event: Foxlake, Dunbar, 8th December 2013

After last year’s fun at M&D’s theme park, for the 2012 Scottish Cycling National Cyclocross Championships, this year the Championships head to the East of Scotland’s  Foxlake Wakeboarding Park near Dunbar.

Organised by the Tri Centre, the course at Foxlake will run clockwise; starting behind the loch to head out along the fast, flat straight before riders will go shoulder to shoulder, jostling for position to be first into the wooded section. Racers will then be treated to an additional climb from the previous year’s course in the woods, which will set the field alight and will be used to tactical advantage by the riders as the racers go on. A fast Land Rover track section will then suit racers who can push a big gear, before a 180 degree turn to look back into the eyes of the chasers as the course runs back along the same track. Popping back out into the start/finish field, competitors will be tested to muddy, grassy corners with steep sharp off camber climbs and corners, with the obvious addition of hurdles.

The latest round of the Ridley Cycles 2013 Scottish Cyclocross (SCX) series at Irvine Beach Park saw some fantastic racing across all categories, and it seems that the Championships at Foxlake will be no different. With many of the biggest names in Scottish cycling entered.  Each category will be hotly contested as all of the riders battle it out for the honour of the gold medal and claiming the Scottish Championship title!

In the Senior men category, Davie Lines (MG Maxifuel) has had an exceptional season, currently leading the Scottish Cyclocross series, having beat the 2012 Scottish Cyclocross Champion, Rab Wardell at Irvine. Lines will be pushed to the line by Great Britain Olympic Development Programme rider Iain Paton (Ben Wyvis CC), who finished ahead of Lines at his only other SCX outing this year. There are many other strong racers in this category, all of whom will be hoping to get on the coveted Scottish Championships podium. Sean Clark has been present at the top of the standings throughout the 2013 season, while Scottish Cycling’s very own Mountain Bike coach Paul Newnham (Team Leslie Bikeshop), Steven Halsall (Velo Club Moulin) and Roger Campbell-Crawford (Thomsons Cycles) have all had extremely strong performances throughout the season.

Maddy Robinson (Velo Club Moulin) will look to better her silver medal at the 2012 Cyclocross Championships in the Senior women and move to the top spot, however Kerry MacPhee (Rock and Road Cycles) will be unwilling to let her too far out of her sight. With a mere seven seconds separating these ladies at Irvine, there promises to be some intense racing at the Championships with a Scottish title worth its weight in gold. A spanner could be thrown into their hopes by the in-form youngster Isla Short (Thomsons Cycles) who will aim to take the Junior title and be the first women overall. Short will be challenged by her team mate Katie Allen, for whom the Championships title would go nicely alongside her British Cross Country Championship. Brenda Callendar (Stirling Bike Club) has been the runaway winner in the Veteran woman’s series; however she will be well-aware of the threat posed by Anne Murray (Team Jewson/Thule/Kinesis/CNP/Mi-Racing-Ride).

For the Veteran men, the riders will be split into three categories; Veteran 40-49, Veteran 50+ and Veteran 60+. In the eldest category, Sandy Wallace of Sandy Wallace Cycles will be hoping for a clear run to the finish ahead of fellow competitor Stuart Green. So far in the 2013 Ridley Cycles Scottish Cyclocross series Brendan Roe has been unchallenged in the Veteran 50+ category. With three fellow strong riders entered, space on the podium will be at a premium with Willie Young (Pedal Power RT), Malcolm Dunlop (Velo Club Edinburgh) and Robert Earp (Walkers Cycles) all capable of podium performances. Likewise in the Veteran 40-49 category, which is usually one of the most competitive fields, there has surprisingly been only one winner at each round of the series thus far. The extremely strong Gary McCrae (Team Leslie Bikeshop) has demolished the competition at each round and to most would seem the likely winner of the 2013 Scottish Cycling National Cyclocross Championships. His team-mate Franco Porco has been a consistent force throughout the season, and with the Glasgow United duo of Steven Jackson and James Melville also entered, the competition for medals will be fierce.

The Junior men’s field is shaping up to be one of the toughest categories of the day, with three round winners, and the series winner entered alongside many other strong contenders. Current SCX Series leader Conor Nally (Hardie Bikes) has yet to win a round, and will be hoping that this weekend is the race he takes the step up. Harry Johnstone (Thomsons Cycles) has claimed three wins so far this season, with Jamie Mason (West Lothian Clarion) and Rory Mellis (Ronde Bicycle Outfitters) both having also enjoyed victory and the ever-strong Lewis Champion (Team Bicycles) on the start list too. This group will have to be aware of the strong challenge posed by Great Britain Olympic Development Programme riders, Calum Magowan (Peebles CC) and Mark McGuire (Perth United Cycling Club).

Most bets in the Under14 boys category will be placed on series leader, Sean Flynn (Edinburgh RC), who has yet to lose a race in the 2013 SCX Series. The consistent Cameron Mason (West Lothian Clarion) and Struan Pryde (Deeside Thistle) will be waiting, as ever, ready to pounce should Flynn leave the door open. Ishbel Strathdee, another rider coming from the strong Edinburgh RC youth set-up, will be looking to claim the Scottish Cycling Championship title in the Under14 girls category to go with her 2013 series title, however Ellie Park (Glasgow Riderz) and Anna McGorum (Peebles CC) will be hoping to stop her in her tracks. With only six points separating them in the series standings, the Under 16 boys Scottish Cyclocross Championships will be a showdown series leader Joe Nally (Hardie Bikes) and Team Leslie Bikeshop rider Conner Johnstone. With the season’s victories having been split down the middle – first half to Nally, second half to Johnstone, the duo have traded blows in exciting fashion so far, with neither rider obvious favourite for the Championship. Series leader in the Under16 girls, Eleanor Strathdee (Edinburgh RC) will be faced with extremely stiff competition from a host of girls from different disciplines all hoping to take home the Scottish Cycling Cyclocross National title. Teammate Emma Borthwick has won every round that she has entered, however team tactics could also play into the favour of Rhona Callander and Jenny Holl from Stirling Bike Club.

In the morning, the Under 12 races will take place, with a Championship category for Under 12 racers and a separate Under 8s support race. Jamie Johnstone (Thomsons Cycles) would be the most tipped rider for the boys title, however throughout the series he has faced attacks from many different riders, all of whom will be hoping to get a gold medal to show off in school on Monday morning. Hamish McLaren (Johnstone Wheelers), Rory McGuire (Perth United CC), Callum Reid (Stirling Bike Club) and Kier Robb (Team Bicycles) will all surely be contenders for the podium. In the Under 12 girls category, a Glasgow Riderz pairing of Imani Periera-James and Georgie Ferry will be up against Anna Flynn (Edinburgh RC) amongst many other strong young racers.

Racing will commence at 10am with the younger categories, and will continue throughout the day, with the Senior men the last category to set off at 1.30pm. All entrants should ensure that they bring a copy of their British Cycling race licence and please note that there will be no entry on the day.