Words and images: Alex Reed/ 5311 Media
Both of the senior titles were defended in style as David Duggan and Kerry MacPhee were first across the line in biblical conditions in the Lochore Meadows Country Park.
SXC series leader Jane Barr, who is back racing after a year off the bike, had to settle for third as Joanne Thom of Ronde Works Racing claimed silver, eight and a half minutes behind MacPhee, who led from the first lap to the finish.
In the men’s race, the gap from first to second wasn’t quite as big but it was nevertheless a commanding victory for Duggan over five laps of the course. Robert Wardell came home in second and it was Hamish Creber who grabbed the third step of the podium.
After the race, Duggan remarked on how tough the conditions were. “The biggest issue was actually seeing. As soon as you got going right until the end, it was a constant battle just to keep your vision good. Normally I like to wear glasses but it was just impossible today.”
Charlie Aldridge could not be stopped in the Junior Male category. After sliding out on the first corner, the Stirling Bike Club rider had to go about fighting his way back through the field. Rory McGuire led the first lap but then Aldridge came into his own and eventually took victory by 49 seconds, with Jonte Willins in third.
Anna McGorum of Peebles CC led for the all three laps and claimed the honours in the Junior Female race, with last year’s winner Ishbel Strathdee getting bronze and last year’s Youth Female winner Anna Flynn finished in the silver medal position.
Callum Thornley took an early lead in the Youth Male race but then suffered an untimely puncture which allowed Patrick Kiehlmann to take the reins. The Falcons Cycling Club rider didn’t look back and he took an impressive win and with it the coveted Scottish title. After a swift wheel change, Thornley managed to hold on to second place and it was Gregor Robb who claimed bronze.
Speaking after the race, Kiehlmann expressed his joy and surprise at his win, saying “I wasn’t expecting to walk away with this jersey and I’m really stoked to get it.”
In the Youth Female race, it was another McGorum victory, this time for Anna’s sister Elena. The British champion built up an incredible six-minute lead on the first lap and ended up crossing the line twelve minutes in front of Forres CC’s Erin Wood, with Sophie Paterson not far behind in third.
Despite leading the SXC series, Jamie Thomson could only muster fourth in the Juvenile Male category. The honours were taken by Reuben Oakley of Tay Titans, who exploded off the start line and never let anyone else see the front of the race. It was close between second and third, with Finlay Taylor getting the better of Rory Laidlaw after their two laps had been completed.
In the Juvenile Female race, it was Daisy Taylor of Royal Albert CC who claimed the title in dominant fashion over Christina McGorum who could not match her sisters’ success. Ruby-Soho Smith came home in third to make it two Peebles CC riders on the podium.
Amanda Tweedie of RT 23 was over five minutes clear of her nearest rival in the Veteran Female race and her beaming smile as she crossed the line showed how much the enjoyed the win. Jaime Nicholson claimed the silver medal with the current leader of the SXC series Melanie Annable coming home in third.
In the Veteran Male category, Chris Buchan successfully defencded his title, but he was pushed close by Ricardo Parreirinha and Kenny Kentley who finished second and third, respectively, just shy of 30 seconds behind the winner.
Brendan Roe was a popular winner in the Super Veteran Male race. The Dunfermline CC built up a thirty second gap to last year’s winner Gregor Grant on the first lap and then held it all the way to the finish. A further six minutes back was John Gemmell of Ayr Roads Cycling Club who clinched the bronze medal.
Alex Glasgow proved unstoppable in the Grand Veteran Male category. Having won three rounds of the SXC series so far this year, Glasgow was clearly the man in form and he showed that out on the course. Defending champion Murray Swanson of Pedal Power RT had to settle for second and Velocity 44 RT’s Kenny Kentley rounded out the podium.
The Grand Vet Female race was won by Anne Murray of Ben Wyvis Cycle Club, who last year won the Vet Female category.
The Master Male category saw another massive gap between the first and second riders. This time it was Ewan Gronkowski who claimed the Scottish title after five laps of the technical and extremely muddy course. Jackie Chan of Perth United finished nine minutes behind with Chris Nicholson a further seven minutes back.
Ilonka Engelhardt took the win in the Master Female race, completing three laps in a little over an hour and a half.
With the torrential rain turning the course into a mud bath, it was a brutal day out on the bike for every single rider, whether they won a medal or not. Those who did get the chance to stand on the podium did so deservingly and the Scottish titles are in safe hands until this time next year. Congratulations should go to everyone involved in staging the event, from the organisers all the way through to the marshals. The weather may have tried to get in the way but the Scottish spirit prevailed and it was an excellent day of racing.