If you had to pick one adjective to describe BMX racing there would be no shortage of contenders: friendly, fun, fast, exciting…the list goes on. On this occasion though we’ll paraphrase the Chief Commissaire and pick: ‘explosive.’
This sums up today’s event at Broadwood Stadium in Cumbernauld, home of the Centurions. After an initial delay, during which the sunshine disappeared and the black clouds rolled in, racing got underway. To the casual observer there’s a lot of standing around and waiting and then all of a sudden the moto heats are firing away from the start-gate, each one hard on the heels of the previous race.
However, that perception is not entirely accurate as riders pre-ride the course, start sheets and grid orders are prepared, timing and start gate technology is checked, riders prepare mentally and physically and then the event proper starts with the first riders being called to the gate.
And those two riders, Vinny Murray and Joseph Hayllor in the Novice 9-10 category, provided some of the most closely fought racing of the day. Murray triumphed by a tyre width in the first two heats only to see Hayllor get his own back in the final heat. By the end of the final both riders were close to exhaustion but the victory went in favour of Murray but it was a close run thing.
And that seemed to be common on this course at Cumbernauld. Bigger than the track at Clydebank, with more sets of double jumps, a lot of the early leaders were struggling to hold on to their leads as the riders finished along the final pump section. To pedal or not on that final section, bearing in mind dead legs from the longer track, meant the difference between taking the victory or finishing second. Much higher berms also meant that there was more than one way through a corner and lead positions often changed as riders undercut each other and got the cutback to come out ahead.
In the Cruiser 45+ category there was no stopping Ian Archibald of the Musselburgh Monarchs but Raymond Reid pushed him hard in every heat. Closer though was the fight for 3rd with Fred Crowson and Alan Young swapping positions throughout the meet. Crowson took two 4th places and a 3rd in the heats and managed 3rd spot in the final. In contrast, Young took two 3rd spots and a 4th in the heats and ended the final in 4th spot but it was exciting watching them duel it out.
In the Female 15-16 race there was no stopping Molly Shearer and Robyn Paton, both riding up a category, with Shearer taking every win and Paton finishing just behind her each time.
In the Male 8 category Logan Taylor was in impressive form with Nathan Young finishing 2nd in the first two heats but being narrowly pipped in the last heat by Jake Nisbet. Lesson learned, Young made sure that Nisbet didn’t get past him for 2nd spot in the final. Special congratulations to young Harris Taylor who was off the pace in each ride but gamely pushed on and finished each race, much to the cheers of the crowd.
The Male 10 grouping is always a tough set of races and this week proved no different with Eliiah Shearer taking the first two heats and finishing 2nd in the final moto. He was also to finish 2nd in the final to Mark Fletcher but Fletcher had only managed 3rd in the first heat and so Shearer ran out the overall victor on the day.
This jockeying of position for 2nd and 3rd spots was also how the Male 11 heats were to play out. Daniel McCrory was untouchable finishing 1st throughout the heats and taking the final but behind him, Austin Goldberg, Daniel Kelly, Cole Hamilton and Euan Drain fought it out for the minor placings.
It was more straightforward in the Male 13 category with the first three riders finishing in the same order throughout: Cameron Reid in 1st place, Peter Crowson in 2nd and the leader board rounded off by Jack Baillie in 3rd.
And then we were on to the senior events with the Championship Men heats. Josh Hanlon was rarely troubled as he took all of the heats and the final from a charging Ian Archibald, keen to get as much practice in as possible before he heads to Belgium to ride at Zolder next week. Again, the battle was for 3rd with Stewart Campbell and Daniel Kelly swapping heat wins as the day went on. Campbell stayed upright this week and took 3rd in two of the heats and in the final and therefore maintained his 3rd place overall.
Final event of the meet was the Male 17-24 and there was a scrap for the line on moto 1 with Callum Hale getting the better of the high-jumping Ryan Anderson. It was a different story from then on with Anderson taking the next two heats and the final with Hale finishing closely behind each time. Anderson was psychically exhausted at the end of the final but within a few minutes was back out and riding the course for fun, pulling off some of the biggest jumps of the day, rivaled only by Hanlon for style.
And as explosive as it had all been, suddenly the day was finished. Just time for some team photos and everyone was heading off as the rain set back in for the rest of the day.