Circular Ambitions

Words and images: The Press Room

It was a big weekend for cycle sport in Scotland…we had a number of our elite riders heading to Lincoln for the British Nationals where there were some excellent performances especially from the women. We also had riders at the British Masters at Newport where Scottish Cycling’s own Fiona Walker made it onto the podium. Ivor Reid also came back with medals and Ian Hatcher saw it as a great learning experience. The inaugural VC Glasgow South road race held in honour of club founder and Scottish Cycling board member John Davies was won by Neil Muir (Royal Albert CC) and he’s only going to get faster if his results this season are anything to go by.

The big home event of the weekend though for those racers used to riding the boards was the Youth and Junior Track Championships and the spectators in the track centre were treated to some class action from the young riders.

The biggest grin of the youth peloton surely belongs to Danny Mulholland (Johnstone Jets) and where all of these riders have the effort etched on their faces, Danny’s perpetual look is one cheeky smile…a kind of ‘artful dodger’ look. His choice of stripy socks may have been questionable but the tussles he had with Joe Nally (Team and others produced some of the closest racing all weekend.

We also loved that so many clubs were represented from across the country whether it was en masse like Glasgow Cycle Team or in ones and twos like Stephen Dent (Nevis RT) or the riders from East Kilbride RC. Stephen Dent celebrated his birthday in style by taking Gold in the Youth A 500m TT and was on the podium on several occasions throughout the weekend.

The very talented Imani Pereira-James (Glasgow Riderz) put in superb performances in the Youth C Girls Omnium with Calum Reid (Rock and Road Cycles) taking the Boys event and giving us some of the best examples of ‘race-faces’ all weekend.

In the Junior Women’s 2000m Pursuit, it was a top performance by Rosa Martin (VCUK) to take the win from Lulu Bartlett (The Racers) and Sarah Bradford (Johnstone Jets). The, almost, all-conquering squad from Stirling Bike Club of Jenny Holl, Amber King and Rhona Callander were given some stiff competition from the Johnstone Jets pairing of Gemma Penman and Lusia Steele among others but all three made it to the top step of the podium at some point throughout the weekend.

In the Junior Men’s category Glasgow Cycle Team fielded a super-strong squad with wins going to Angus Claxton and Lewis Mulholland but they were up against strong competition from Grant Martin (Spokes) and Lewis Stewart (Glasgow Riderz) with the crowd being treated to fast, exciting racing.

The Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome in Glasgow is now coming up on its third birthday and most cyclists will have visited it at some point over that time. It might have been at the Commie Games themselves, or a Revolution meet, the UCI Junior Worlds or even just the regular track league…or it might just have been to get their accreditation to ride the boards.

What’s clear is that it appears in different ways at different times. During the big public meetings everything is turned up, literally. The lights are up to full power (with extra being brought in for the Games), the stands are full of cheering spectators, the infield is heaving with cyclists and trainers taking up one half, and the corporate guests and the well-heeled occupying the tables that fill the rest.

It’s not always like that though. For the Scottish National Youth and Junior Track Championships, while the riders and their friends and families are as enthusiastic as ever, there’s nobody in the stands, the lighting is not at maximum power, there’s not a great deal of music from the PA and the scoreboards are not being used. This leads to a slightly eerie atmosphere at times. The riders know what they’re doing and they’re quietly going about it, the officials are as dedicated as ever and the programme goes off smoothly…there’s even a television crew from City of Glasgow College interviewing some of the riders and trying to catch some atmosphere.

It would be nice to be able to have more spectators come along to see these riders because in the not too distant future these are very cyclists that we’ll be seeing taking major wins and having more people along to support them can only be to the good. But there’s more to racing than simply winning. While we celebrate out and out performance we also have to give credit where it’s due…to ingenuity and cunning.

The biggest shouts of Sunday morning were for Matthew Devlin (West Lothian Clarion) in the Youth A Boys Sprint Round 1 Repechage as he took off with over 2 laps still remaining and very nearly managed to outfox Danny Mulholland (Johnstone Jets) and Struan Pryde (Deeside Thistle). They set off in pursuit with the crowd in the track centre roaring encouragement. Struan Pryde eventually backed off but Danny Mulholland was oh so slowly reeling Matthew Devlin in. As they came off the final bend his lead was down to just a few bike lengths and both riders buried themselves as they sped down the straight. The win went to Danny but the onlookers were cheering for both riders and Matthew had come so close. Imagine that with a full gallery of spectators!

We’re sure you’ll have your own favourite moment of the weekend but full credit goes to every rider and every supporter who turned out to make these championships such a success.

Final thanks go to the organiser Janette Hazlett of Scottish Cycling who seemed to be everywhere and have every possible eventuality covered, the commissaires and officials under the guidance of Kathy Gilchrist and, last but not least, to the very capable crew of supporters manning the tea table. These guys were there all weekend and nothing was too much trouble.

Let’s hope we see more spectators next time around.

Full results:

Race photos: