It was a cold and icy day of racing hosted by Deeside Thistle at Knockburn Loch, Aberdeenshire for the combined race of Round Six of the Scottish CX series and the National CX Champs. With 16 podium places up for grabs in the Nationals, the ice played a critical role in deciding the results. The commissaires had the difficult job of balancing the challenge of racing with the safety of the riders. This lead to the course being tweaked after the Youth races, but still there were plenty of action.
The U12s had a hard and bumpy course which was frozen solid. In the boys’ race, Cole McCann - Royal Albert CC led from the start and took a commanding win bringing home Xander Graham - Edinburgh RC in silver and teammate Harris Holmes in third. In the girls’ race, Melanie Rowe - Deeside Thistle took a convincing win from Niamh Waters - Edinburgh RC and Hope Thomson - Deeside Thistle. As racing progressed it was clear the day was going to be about staying upright as much as absolute fitness.
Millie Thomson - Deeside Thistle CC won the U14 Girls after a good battle with teammate Arabella Blackburn. Rudie Shearer - Edinburgh RC grabbed the final podium spot. In the U14 Boys Elliot Rowe -Deeside Thistle CC won convincingly ahead of teammate Archie Marshall Dawson and Oliver Blyth - Edinburgh RC, who tussled for 2nd and 3rd.
The U16 boys’ race was a close one. As Frederick Fuller - Edinburgh RC put it, “whoever didn’t crash won”. He only had one little crash, beating teammate Elijah Kwon, who slid out on the final corner as they lined up for the sprint. Sam Chisholm - West Lothian Clarion CC came in third. Emily Carrick-Anderson - T-Mo Racing had a good start and then enjoyed racing with the lads to take victory in the U16 girls, building on her win last year in the U14s. Christina Mcgorum - Una Forza Racing and Ruby-Soho Smith - Peebles CC made up the podium.
In the women’s Junior and Senior races, Anna Flynn - Edinburgh RC took the overall win in the senior came home first of all the women’s categories, having pulled away with two laps to go. However, hers was the junior title to claim with Isla Short taking the senior title only 13 seconds behind her, and Eileen Roe - Dooleys Cycles only 9s behind her in a closely fought race. Both winners commented on the need for tactics rather than pure fitness especially on the icy cambered sections. Elena McGorum - Peebles CC and Erin Murphy - Deeside Thistle CC completed the podium for the Juniors, and Ishbel Strathdee -Edinburgh RC took 3rd in the Seniors.
In the Female Vet 40s, Roslynn Newman - Female Riders RT took a comfortable win from Christine Fischer - Stirling Bike Club, with Helen Gorman - Stirling Bike Club picking up third. Female Vet 50s was a closer race with Anne Murray - Ben Wyvis CC taking the honours from Louise Gibson - Mid Argyll Tri & Cycle Club and Anne Chisholm - Perth United CC. And in Female Vet 60s Fiona Paton- East Sutherland Wheelers beat Jane Sargent and Carol Middleton -Ythan CC.
Corran Carrick-Anderson- Peebles CC took victory from team mate Jonte Willins and Patrick Kiehlmann - Falcon Cycling Club Bishopbrigs in the Junior men’s Scottish National race, although the battle had been to the line to take the win in the CX series from Rory McGuire, with Corran just nipping ahead in the last half lap.
Despite not having felt well for three weeks, Gary MacDonald - Nevis Cycles RT led the Senior men’s race from the start. MacDonald lapped most of the field as he stayed upright on the ice, thus retaining his title much to his surprise as he says he’s never done particularly well at Knockburn Loch. The battle for the other podium spots was far tougher. Despite a heavy crash David Lines - Wheelbase CabTech Castelli finished 2nd then headed off to line up in the Vet 40s, where unfortunately he had to retire due to a mechanical. Davie Duggan - Wheelbase CabTech Castelli had been in contention for the silver medal alongside Lines until a mechanical on the last lap let Mark Scott through to pick up the final podium place, with Duggan coming home in 4th.
The men’s Veteran races were very full fields and due to the delays caused by the ice only just held in daylight. In the Veteran 40s, Chris Buchan had a good lead after the first lap and then concentrated on staying upright to the line. Crawford Carrick-Anderson - Peebles CC took his first ever Cyclo-cross podium with 2nd and finished off a fantastic day for the Carrick-Anderson family with the golds for the U16 Girls, Junior men’s and Dad’s silver. James McCallum -Meta Bike Division was only just behind Crawford to take the final podium spot.
The Men’s Veteran 50 was again about staying on the bike. Murray Swanson - Pedal Power RT said he fell about four times and despite his lead on the last half of the final lap still wasn’t sure he’d beat James Melville - Glasgow United CC until he crossed the line. Gary McCrae - Leslie Bike Shop picked up third a little way back. In the Veteran 60s Brendan Roe crossed the line first but was ineligible for the Champs so Phil Lacoux - COG Velo took the title with John Hodgson - Carnoustie CC and William Smillie – Ross-shire RCC not far behind to claim the final podium spots.
It was a tough day’s racing on the shortened icy course. Compliments to the commissaires making tough decisions but keeping racing going. Congratulations to those organising the events, and those who stood in the freezing cold all day to help deserve a special mention.