Over 60 cyclists descended into the quaint fishing village of Cromarty to take part in the annual event organised by Moray Firth Cycling Club on the 18th and 19th of July.
The race is now in its 6th year and attracts riders from throughout Scotland who come back year after year to test themselves on the quiet roads of the Black Isle.
This year, the organisers set the bar higher by including a hill finish for stage 1 so riders had to climb the aptly named mount high four times. There were also time bonuses on offer, primes and KOM’s which all made for some exciting road racing.
The prologue got underway on Saturday morning on the 4.1 mile course from Jemimaville to Cromarty. There was a strong breeze blowing in the channel so competitors took full advantage of the tail wind to record some very fast times. Moray Firth Cycling Club’s Noel Baxter who is a 3rd Cat and newcomer to the race took the honours with a time of 07:41:00 just ahead of Jason Roberts (Pro Vision Cycling Clothing) and Tim Mackley (Deeside Thistle CC).
Stage 1 got underway on Saturday afternoon with competitors racing around the Cromarty - Mount High circuit. This time they were racing back along the prologue route and now faced a brutal head wind. The peloton began to thin out after a few laps up the Mount High climb and those dropped found it difficult to get back on. There was some exciting action at the front of the pack with a few breakaways and battles for the primes and KOM’s. Jason Roberts used his experience to finish stage 1 leading the General Classification by some 20 seconds ahead of Neill Kemp (Glasgow Nightingale) and 36 seconds ahead of fellow Pro Vision Cycle Clothing rider Robert Friel.
The worst of the weather came in over Saturday night and it was a damp start for stage 2 on Sunday. The wind had abated but there was surface water on the road and some drizzle in the morning. This time the race was going over the Mount Eagle circuit twice before finishing back in Cromarty. The riders were happy not to be faced with a headwind along the waterfront and those at the front set a keen pace. The bunch stayed together for the first lap but the climb on the second lap of mount eagle really began to stretch the group out. A group of around 20 riders pushed hard at the front and there was an exciting sprint finish as the race came back into Cromarty.
Jason Roberts had done enough to take the overall GC ahead of Neill Kemp and Robert Friel. On collecting his prize Jason Roberts thanked all involved for a superb weekend of racing.
1. Jason Roberts (Pro Vision Cycle Clothing) 4:49:22
2. Neill Kemp (Glasgow Nightingale) at 0:20
3. Robert Friel (Pro Vision Cycle Clothing) at 0:36
4. Andrew Disley (Harry Middleton CC) at 0:39
5. Neil Scott (Dundee Thistle RC) at 0:40
6. Alister Watt (Granite City RC) at 0:42
7. Alan Dean (Edinburgh RC) at 0:53
8. Hamish Carrick (Project 51) at 0:58
9. Jordon Doig (Pedal Power RT) at 1:07
10. Tim Mackley (Deeside Thistle CC) at 1:25
1. Jordon Doig (Pedal Power RT)
2. Andrew Disley (Harry Middleton CC)
3. Jason Roberts (Pro Vision Cycle Clothing)
King of the Mountains Classification
1. Benjamin Crawshaw (GJS Cruise Racing)
2. Jason Roberts (Pro Vision Cycle Clothing)
3. Alan Dean (Edinburgh RC)
Full results available here.