To the riders and spectators used to the steep banks and sprung tracks of Meadowbank and Glasgow, Caird Park in Dundee comes as a bit of a surprise…and it produces a different style of racing. Having a separate Scottish National Championship for the Omnium is a wonderful thing and how fantastic it was to hold it at this really cool Dundee track.
Riders Ready Scratch
The Omnium is a combination of different events where the best placed rider overall will win…a bit like a multi-day stage race. And that means that there are specific rules, which caught a couple of riders out. The main being that if a rider pulls out of a race early, they are unable to take to the start in the next event.
Another difference was that, being a larger track, the Elimination race saw a rider going out after each lap and not after every second one as at the shorter Glasgow velodrome.
We started the day with the Scratch Race and the Senior Men were the first away. First to show his hand was Angus Gillies (Billy Bilsland Cycles) as he tried to get away from his rivals. Motoring along with Finn Harrod (Cyclism Cycling) and Kevin Barclay (Spokes RT) they were looking good but Team Raleigh GAC professional Fraser Martin and Andy Brown (Metaltek-Kuota) were on the case and kept bringing them back.
It came down to a final sprint and Gillies edged it in front of Martin and Harrod with Andy Brown in 4th. Next home was Euan Sutherland (Glasgow Cycle Team) followed by Jason Roberts (Pro Vision Scotland) and Zak Loney (Edinburgh Road Club) with the rest of the field having been caught by the leaders.
In the Women’s Scratch the riders were all together before Flora Gillies (Team 22) and Peggy Series (Hervelo Cycling) took it on. Joined by Gemma Penman (Glasgow Cycle Team) they forged ahead but Anna Fairweather (Spokes RT) saw the danger and bridged across with Series eventually losing ground. Working well together, the trio lapped the field with Gillies comfortably winning the sprint from Fairweather and Penman. Two races; two wins for the Gillies family.
Next up was the Tempo Race where riders would get points by winning sprints every lap or by gaining a lap (an almost impossible task on such a large track with a vicious wind whipping through the centre). Fraser Martin was determined to pull back his deficit on Angus Gillies and was attentive right from the start but he had Gillies, Harrod, Roberts and Brown all trying to gain points. Swapping sprint wins between them, the matter was ultimately settled when Euan Sutherland seized his chance and took off for home, mopping up the rest of the sprint points on the way. Sprinting it out for second and third across the line were Martin and Brown but Harrod had picked up enough points along the way to finish third on points.
In the Women’s Tempo it once again came down to the trio of Flora Gillies, Anna Fairweather and Gemma Penman with the Team 23 rider making an early bid and taking a handful of points before being overhauled by Fairweather and Penman. Staying in contention she managed to stay just in contact with the other two and crossing the line the win went easily to Gillies from Fairweather, but Penman had amassed enough points to claim second spot.
And now we had our first upset of the Championships as Fraser Martin suffered a mechanical and was the first to be eliminated in the men’s race. A large chunk of points lost there for the Raleigh man and the others took full advantage. One by one riders were gone with Jason Roberts ending in 5th spot, Euan Sutherland in 4th, Finn Harrod in 3rd and Angus Gillies and Andy Brown fighting it out for maximum points. The win went to Gillies and both men had profited by Martin’s loss.
In the Women’s race once again riders were pushed out. It came down to the three fighting it out for the medals but this time another familiar name entered the fray. Louise Haston (TORQ Performance) used all of her experience to be in the final sprint, Penman and Fairweather already having been eliminated. Gillies led it out from the final turn and held her line. Haston challenged but just didn’t have it on the day and Gillies took maximum points.
Points Make Prizes
And now with the Points race remaining as the decider for final placings, the riders knew just what they had to do. Fraser Martin was determined to make up for his mechanical in the Elimination and was in splendid form but the real blow was dealt to Gillies in the form of a puncture and then, later, a second puncture putting him behind by more laps than he was allowed. Two flats in the same race is pretty rare but he was fortunate to puncture just as Martin Lonie (Clay Cross Road Team) abandoned and Lonie set about swapping out the rear wheels to allow the Bilsland man to continue.
The Points race was brutal but Martin had made sure of it. Jason Roberts (Pro Vision Scotland) found the energy to contest the sprints and make a break accompanied by Kevin Barclay (Spokes RT) and scored a lot of points. Martin Lonie later quipped that it was a great performance by a “vet with a day job.” Roberts and Barclay finished ahead with Andy Brown edging the sprint from Martin and Sutherland.
In the Women’s event it was turn and turn about between Gemma Penman, Flora Gillies, Louise Haston and Anna Fairweather with Peggy Series also showing her flare for this discipline. Gillies was up there in every one and took more than a few herself and on the final line she outsprinted Penman, Haston, Series and Fairweather to seal the deal; a fine performance to make up for the disappointment suffered by her brother in his event.
So racing completed and points counted, we now had our Champions. In the Senior Men Fraser Martin had sealed the win with an excellent performance by Jason Roberts to take second with Andy Brown in third.
Flora Gillies deserved her title with Gemma Penman taking Silver and Louise Haston taking Bronze.
Throughout the day Youth A, B and C riders also took to the track to show the seniors how it is done, the C’s having already competed in their championship omnium earlier in the year.
This just left the InterCity Pursuit and the performance of the day from the Youth C squad put up by Johnstone Jets. They’d obviously been paying attention when their older teammates had practiced pursuit racing and they were a well-drilled team, staying together, changing well and communicating throughout the ride.
Another Championship down, what a great day at Caird Park Velodrome with a strong contingent of riders from the North East and much further afield.
We need to encourage as many riders to use this facility as possible as riding outdoor helps to develop skills for use in indoor velodromes later on. It is after all the home track of Mark Stewart and future stars like Alfie George.
Full Results can be found here.