Words: Mark McGhee
Photos: The Press Room
With the mid-season hiatus now behind us, racing resumed in style at Western Titans home track at Clydebank for Round 8 of the Scottish Power-backed series. With some riders still on holiday and others taking a rest after recently attending the Worlds, turn-out was a little bit down on the usual numbers but all in 42 riders set off from the start gate.
With the weather forecast predicting heavy rain it was a pleasant surprise to get to Clydebank and discover the sun shining, even if there was a vicious wind gusting across the track, and a darkening sky in the background.
Practice over and the riders were in the pens for their respective heats, each being called forward in close order. First to set off on the course was the Novice 17 race and this consisted of two riders, father and son. Kris and Zane Aitchison of the Musselburgh Monarchs have been racing each other all season with Kris taking the hard line that the only way to improve is to be pushed and to that end he took the first two heats but Zane fought back winning the third and one day the time will come when he seriously puts his dad in the shade.
Onto the Cruiser 45 category and Raymond Reid (NLL Haro RT) was riding in the most aggressive way we’ve ever seen. A couple of his usual opponents may have been missing for this round but with the power and concentration he was displaying it’s almost certain he would have been on the top step nonetheless. All four of the riders in this category finished in the same position in each of the heats with Reid winning from the Western Titans pairing of Peter Crowson in second and Fred Crowson in third with Graeme Atkinson of Cumbernauld Centurions in the final spot.
Next up was the Male 8’s and Logan Taylor of the Monarchs was a stretch ahead of everybody winning all of the events in this group. Behind though, it was a hard-fought category with clubmate Jake Nisbet taking three 2nd places and a 3rd to finish second in the group. Third spot in the group went to another Monarch in the shape of Nathan Young but Hakeem Vemmie of the host club had been vying for 2nd with Nisbet before falling to 7th in the final race and dropping down to 4th spot overall.
With the Male 10’s taking to the track we began to see the importance of a good start as the rider taking the hole shot often goes on to the win. However, the riders are more aware of tactics in this group and we saw a number of undercuts through the berms with positions changing around. Harrison Bell of the Titans had the edge taking three of the runs and only losing on the second heat to Fergus Whitehouse (NLL Haro RT) and Eliiah Shearer to come home in 3rd. He took the group from the other two riders but it could have gone to any one of them including eventual 4th place rider Owen Kelly (NLL Haro RT). This is an exciting category to watch and these riders will be pushing each other over the next few years.
The Male 11 riders again came down to three racers but it was Daniel McCrory of the Titans who was pushing the hardest. He took all of the events as a warm-up before heading down to Preston to compete on the Sunday. Fresh from the Worlds, his mother talked about his future in the sport and she was not the only person to express interest towards trying out formal track racing on the velodrome…more about that later.
Behind McCrory, Daniel Kelly and Austin Goldberg of NLL Haro RT were fighting out the other two steps with Kelly eventually taking 2nd spot overall.
A special mention for Daniel Kelly of the Centurions running in the Vets category who had taken a 2nd and a 1st in his motos before crashing heavily in the third one. The initial fear was that he had aggravated a previous injury but this proved not to be the case and he was treated for serious grazing to his hand. He also received a nasty knock to the head and the commissaires invoked the new guidance on head injuries making sure that he sat out the final. We’re sure he’ll be battling in the next round.
With the heats all run, the inevitable happened and the heavens opened with riders and officials alike taking shelter under easy-ups, in cars and in the storage container but with no sign of a let-up racing resumed on a wet track for the finals.
Onto the final category of the day, the Veterans, with the two female racers fighting it out with the men. Mia Paton (BMX Widow Photography), fully recovered from her spill at the British Series event at Cumbernauld, would eventually take the B final from Ray Bill of the Monarchs, followed by David Goldberg of the Centurions and Molly Shearer (Ogden Racing) coming home in 4th spot…an excellent result from the FE 13-14 racer.
Mia Paton’s teammate, Ryan Anderson, so often seen sailing high above the jumps, was doing his best to keep his wheels on the ground and the 15 year old had a 3rd and a 4th before getting a flying start in the final moto and taking the top spot. In the final though he lost out to the older riders and the star of the day in this category was Stuart Campbell of the Monarchs. He placed 1st in all of his motos and took the final to round out a serious display of strength. Teammate Alan Paterson pushed him hard to take second spot overall but a special mention must go to the 16 year old Louie Craig of the Titans who had a 1st and two 2nd in the motos and came home in 3rd spot in the final.
And just as suddenly as it had started, racing was over and true to form, the rain stopped and the sun made a reappearance as riders made their way home or onto Preston for their next event.
We mentioned earlier about the interest in conventional velodrome track racing amongst some of the BMX riders and several of the parents were keen to go through the accreditation process and get on the boards as the next step in their careers. The legend of Sir Chris Hoy lives large in the Scottish BMX community and some of these riders may well make the switch. Several of the parents have talked to other parents from the Glasgow Riderz and the Johnstone Jets and are keen to give it a try. The raw, explosive power and superb bike handing skills apparent in BMX would lend themselves to a career on the track and it will be interesting to see how they get on. Watch this space!
Next Round will be 15th August at Cumbernauld