Published: 22nd March 2015
Words: Mark McGhee
Photos: The Press Room
Small Wheels, Fast Racing
This weekend has seen an explosion of racing in Scotland with the excellent Crit’ at the Campus in Stirling, the first round of the Scottish Cross-country Series at Cathkin Braes and the BMX Scottish Summer Regional Round 1 at Clydebank, the home of the host club, Western Titans.
Events Development Officer for Scottish Cycling, Bob MacFarlane had worked closely with British Cycling to negotiate the round being uprated from a category C to a category B meaning that there were more British ranking points available and this meant a good number of English riders had made the trip north.
Martin Ogden had come early and held a master class and the talent was obvious from the get-go. There was a large turnout with 63 riders taking to the track, the majority of them under 16 years old. The bikes may be small but this is no sport aimed solely at children and the fastest races came from the Championship Men, most of them Vets and Masters category riders.
To the uninitiated, warm up looks a little haphazard but this is an illusion created by riders getting air over jumps and practicing manuals over the pump sections. The marshals did a superb job of keeping everyone in line and the excitement levels were high at all times.
The format is simple: each rider normally does three ‘Moto’ heats and then takes part in a final…and when there are enough riders like today, there can be an ‘A’ and a ‘B’ final within the categories.
After a short delay while a rider that had crashed was attended to, the first riders were called to the automated start-gate…and they were away, firing down towards the first set of double jumps and then the hole shot into and out of the first berm. That berm saw a stonker of a crash when Stewart Campbell of the visiting Musselburgh Monarchs took a spill over his front wheel whilst fighting for position with David Russell of the home club. He caught his bike as it bounced for a second time and was soon on his way coming home in fifth spot.
He wasn’t the only rider to come to grief on the first turn with Jamie O’Hara also going down in the Male 11 category. Fighter that he is, he got up and finished. Crash of the day went to the Monarch’s John Marshall who was riding up a category in the Novice 9-10’s. He crashed on the final turn and spectacularly rolled up and over the top of the berm and out of sight. The marshal was waving his flag but no sooner had the first aiders started making their way over than he appeared back over the top and climbed back on to finish the race.
In the Female 15-16 category there was no stopping Molly Shearer, again riding up from the 13-14’s, and she comprehensibly won all of her heats and her final. Mia Paton and Megan Higgins kept the perfect scorecard as they both finished second and third respectively.
A rider well known to the track fraternity was making her BMX race debut at Clydebank today and Julie Dominguez loved every second of it winning the Cruiser ‘B’ final from Graeme Atkinson. “Thanks to everyone there for the support, felt like one of the family,” she stated after completing her first race event.
Special mention also goes to the nine riders taking part in the Male 10 Category. Finntan Doyle and Eli Shearer produced some of the hardest-fought heats of the whole day with the overall win going to Doyle but if there were a prize for the best jumps then Shearer would have been a worthy winner.
BMX racing is a sport that seems to have a strong affinity with motocross and some of these young riders may eventually swap their pedals for engine power. However, it has to be remembered that Sir Chris Hoy started out doing just this type of cycling so it’s possible that this element of cycle sport may just be harbouring a champion of the future.
The organisers couldn’t have been happier with today’s turnout and the quality racing that it produced and we look forward to the next event at Broadwood BMX Track Cumbernauld on Sunday 29th March