Published: 18th May 2015

Words: Mark McGhee

Photos: The Press Room

High on Style

If there was a prize given out for spectacular jumps, with style awards thrown in, then it would be fair to say that young Ryan Anderson of the Cumbernauld Centurions would be high on the list of favourites to win. Coming up off the ramp just before the second berm he was throwing himself and his bike high in the air with apparent ease and landed them every time.

He’s not alone in this ability and others such as the super-fast Josh Hanlon and the ever-reliable Ian Archibald also know how to push their bikes to both win the race and entertain the very appreciative spectators.

There was a large turnout at the Scottish Power BMX Round 4 held by the Cumbernauld Centurions at Broadwood Stadium on Sunday and a lot of riders had made the trip north to get some experience of the track before next weekend’s two-day National event. A wise move as all tracks differ slightly and the Cumbernauld venue is certainly quite different to the Clydebank track, home of the Western Titans. It’s longer for a start with an extra set of jumps on each straight and the final pump section was to see flagging legs, and tactical heads, changing the results of races that would normally have been sown up by the first turn.

There’s a lot of emphasis on riders making the hole shot, the first one into the opening curve but at Cumbernauld it was often riders sitting two or three back who made the move towards the end of the second straight and overhauled the early leaders on the push to the line.

The day started with the usual warm up as riders checked the course and organisers made up the sets for the heats. Just as the course closed the heavens opened and the rain set in for the best part of an hour. It was miserable and riders and supporters sought shelter in cars, under canopies, in the start gates and even in the containers used to store track maintenance tools. We’d had word though that further to the west the rain had stopped and sure enough the sun broke through and everyone emerged ready for action. No waiting for the boards to dry like at Meadowbank…a quick brush of the standing water on the tarmacked turns and everyone was ready for action.

Starting with the Novice 7-8 category we had two riders in Neal McShane and Reuben Bill with Neal easily taking all three heats and the final…that said the biggest cheers of the day were reserved for Reuben who battled on ferociously each time on what is a long track for his level.

Moving to the Novice 15-16, this time it was four riders battling it out with Callum Ballantyne taking all three heats from John Marshall (Nov 9-10) but Marshall got the better of him in the final. Ballantyne had done more than enough to take the class win.

Then it was onto the Cruiser 45+ division with a large field meaning a number of different heats. Ian Archibald of the Musselburgh Monarchs was in great form and took all of his heats and the final to win the class with David Lindsay in second and Thomas Whipham in third spot. The racing was fast, furious and very concentrated as each sought to overcome the others. Fred Crowson took the win in the B final.

Now it was the turn of the girls and they produced some really exciting racing, although the results suggested otherwise. Emily Clinch, looking through the corners and checking where her opponents were, took all of the heats and the final from Lily Brindle (FE 9-10) with Alexis Beston (FE9-10) and Megan Higgins swapping the heats around for third. Alexis was quicker overall and took third position.

The next category was hotly contested with Mary Johnston, ponytail flying over every jump, running out the clear winner but with some serious competition along the way. Lauren Anyon (FE 13-14) didn’t fair too well in the first heat coming in last but she then improved to 3rd in the next heat and won the final heat setting up a great final run against Johnson. Mary Jonson triumphed in the closely fought final with Lauren Anyon taking second. Mia Paton came in 5th in the final but she’d done enough in the heats to run out 3rd on the day with Molly Cranshaw (FE 13-14) taking fourth overall.

Onto the Male 7 category, where the full-face helmets and armour, often dwarf the riders and Gabe Simpson was in unstoppable form, taking all of the heats and the final. Likewise, in second spot, James Criddle was placed second in all of the heats and the final. Rocco Brant came 4th in the final but his 3rd position placings in all of the heats were enough to see in in 3rd overall to Jake Nisbet in 4th.

Again, in the Male 9 category, Owen Kelly dominated and ran out 1st in every race but behind him there was some fierce racing, perhaps the fiercest of the day as Logan Taylor (Male 8) and Stewart Bagen snatched wins from each other with Taylor taking 2nd overall.

The Male 11 category again saw an impressive performance from Daniel McCrory who won his heats and the final. Behind him though, there was a battle-royale as Jayden Seward, Daniel Kelly and Austin Goldberg fought out the minor placings with Seward eventually running out 2nd to Kelly in 3rd. In the B final Harry Tanner (Male 10) triumphed over Mark Fletcher (Male 10) with Fergus Whitehouse (Male 10) in 3rd.

It was pretty straightforward in the Male 14 category with Ben Squire in dominant form all day. Ryan Brookes (Male 13) and Alex Brookes chased hard and filled the podium positions.

Onto the biggest category of the day, the Veteran class with 15 riders. It’s a bit of a misnomer as it can include riders as young as 15 and true vets like the experienced Archibald. The undoubted star though was Josh Hanlon who made some of the heats look easy but he didn’t have it all his own way, missing the top spot in his third heat. Archibald placed second in every moto to set himself up nicely for the final with Jordon Smith, on quite the coolest plate number (007), improving on each heat. Ryan Anderson (Male 15) also placed well in his heats and the scene was set for a shoot-out with the final win being taken by Hanlon from Smith with Archibald in 3rd and Anderson in 4th. In the B final Stewart Campbell got the better of Allan Johnson with Alan Paterson (Master) in 3rd spot.

Fast spectacular riding with some competitors glad the racing was coming to an end for the day.

And then it was over for another day but the riders will return in a week’s time for the two-day national event that will undoubtedly attract huge numbers of racers and spectators. Come along and see these stars of the future…we’ll be talking about them in years to come although it may just as easily be to do with downhill racing or motocross as with BMX…these kids have great futures!

We’d like to say a big thank you to Ryan Anderson for taking a couple of extra runs after racing finished…the pictures look great!

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