Published: 14 May 2018
Images: The Press Rooo
It was the second running of the Mortgage Hub Trophy on the rolling roads below Lanark and this year it incorporated the Scottish National Junior Women’s Road Race Championship 2018, and one team had come in force. Team 22 had brought several riders and Ellie Park would not only beat the other juniors but would also finish 3rd in the main race…and almost went one better.
Rolling over Hyndford Bridge and heading towards Pettinain, the riders got a look at the finishing straight in reverse… an almost perfectly straight, gentle uphill run-in. Not a big climb but more of a drag and it was built for either a lone breakaway with time in hand or a bunch sprint.
Over the humpbacked bridge near Thankerton and on up the hill towards Quothquan where the race headed out on the first side of the triangle that made up the circuit. Some overnight rain combined with unexpected field works meant the women were already spattered with dirt. Generally the roads are in great condition around this part of Lanarkshire although the later Men’s Alba Series race would suffer with a spate of punctures.
The race was all together with Boompods’ Sarah Walker content to let others set the pace. This has been the style in recent races…take one circuit of the course to allow everyone to settle in before opening up the action. On the next lap, on the outward leg before turning for Libberton, Alison Winship McKay(Glasgow Green CC) put in an attack and tried to solo away
She made a little headway but on these rolling roads she was in sight of the bunch and they pulled her back in with relative ease. And the race settled down with no-one getting away and no group forming. Sarah Walker was pushing along and she had help from Helen Wyld (Edinburgh Road Club) but only a few riders had lost touch by this point. Juli Rourke (ERC) was on domestique duties, shepherding her teammate Hollie Begg. This is something we’ve seen before with Amanda Tweedie looking out for Georgia Mansfield when they both raced for RT23 and it’s a nice feature of women’s racing.
Other riders were helping with the load and Karolyn Brown (Velocity 44), Zosia Martin (Glasgow Green CC) and Georgia Mansfield (Team Torelli) were all at the head of the field. Ellie Park (Team 22) had seen the finish and felt it would come down to a sprint but she wasn’t sure she could hold off the in-form Sarah Walker. She had help in the form of teammates Anna Shackley and Abby Stewart but every time they tried to put in a move, it was shut down by the work of Helen Wyld and Sarah Walker.
Coming onto the final lap of the circuit, the pace had dropped right down but nobody took advantage as the bunch gathered itself for the run home. Standing at the finish we waited to see who would appear first. And it turned out to be the bunch containing most of the field. No slouching now though as Sarah Walker took up the running and led from the front. Driving the bunch up the finishing straight, she was challenged by Ellie Park but it was a long straight and they’d started the sprint from quite far out.
Keeping the speed up, Sarah Walker began to distance the others and the line couldn’t come soon enough for Ellie. She looked to have 2nd place in the bag but a late charging Lulu Tucker (Ronde CC) overhauled her right on the line to push her into 3rd overall. For Ellie Park though, as satisfying as the overall placing was, she was first junior home and took her second Scottish National title of the year to add to her 10-Mile TT win.Mile TT win.
It was a good day for her team as Anna Shackley came home in 10th spot with Abby Stewart finishing in 16th to tie up the team prize. Afterwards, the women held an impromptu discussion about different race scenarios and tactics. It’s a healthy prospect though with so many new faces appearing at these races and bodes well for the future.
The day belonged to Ellie Park and her Team 22 teammates and she made it two for two where Scottish Nationals are concerned. Sarah Walker took a hard-fought sprint win and she’ll need to look out for Ellie in future races.
Full results including the John Gordon Memorial RR:
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