Easter Weekend was a bumper weekend of action with Scots riding in British MTB and U23 road series, as well as the Scottish Youth Circuit series in Ayrshire, while a plethora of action from abroad with Anna Shackley and Finn Crockett leading the Scots racing on the continent.
British Cross Country Series
After a very strong showing in Round 1 of the British MTB Series at Tong in Bradford, Newcastleton beckoned.
Charlie Aldridge (Scott Racing) once again put in a marvellous ride to finish second in the Elite Men, with Corran Carrick-Anderson (T-MO Racing) also massively impressing in his senior debut season with third. A puncture on the opening lap had placed Cameron Mason (Trinity Racing) nearly two minutes back, but a great fight through the field was rewarded with a fourth-place finish; similar misfortune also befell Rory McGuire (Leslie Bikes), who came home in 11th position.
While the young guns were fighting it out for the podium, Rab Wardell (Wahoo) and Grant Ferguson (Hope FR) both put in great rides to come home in 8th and 12th place respectively.
In the Elite Women’s Anna Flynn (Spectra Wiggle p/b Vitus) made it two second place finishes on the bounce as she reversed the running order to Round 1 winner Elena McGorum (Peebles CC), who finished in third. It was a Scotland 2-3-4-5, as Joanne Thom (TORQ Performance) and Jane Barr (Velocity 44) came home 30 seconds and a minute behind McGorum, respectively.
In the Junior Women’s it was two wins from two for Scottish Junior Cyclocross Champion Emily Carrick-Anderson (T-MO Racing) winning by over two minutes as she continues to impress in her debut season at Junior level. Christina McGorum (Una Forza Racing) rode to a solid fourth, with Beatrix Kiehlmann (Royal Albert CC) a place further back.
The Junior Men saw Reuben Oakley (ROTOR RT) produce a solid ride as he finished in sixth position from Sam Chisholm (Cycling Academy) in eighth. While Daisy Taylor (Royal Albert CC) made it two wins on the bounce in the Youth Girls race.
The next round of the series is at Lochore Meadows, Lochgelly on the 7th-8th May, where the Scots riders will look to continue their promising start to the series.
British DH Series
After a three-year break, the British National Downhill Series returned with the opening round to Rheola in Wales.
The big Scottish interest came in the women's junior field, with the top step was taken by Phoebe Gale (Canyon Collective FMD), who was also the fastest woman on the hill this weekend, with Aimi Kenyon (Black Isle MTB) behind her in second place. With a time that saw Aimi third fastest woman overall for the weekend, it’s safe to say that the future is bright for Scottish Downhill racing.
British U23 Men’s Road Race Series
The opening round of the inaugural British Under 23 Road Race Series took place on Sunday with the 122km Yorkshire Classic in Upper Denby, West Yorkshire.
Despite a reduced number of Scots U23 riders in action due to foreign racing commitments, there was still some great performances. Logan Maclean (Wheelbase CabTech Castelli) finished top Scot in sixth place, while teammates Callum Thornley and Tim Shoreman finished in 10th and 11th, respectively.
The next round of the series will be in Central England at a to be confirmed event on the 5th June.
Kames hosts Youth Crits
The second round of the Scottish National Youth Circuit Series took place at the Kames Motorsport Circuit in Ayrshire on Saturday, organised by East Kilbride Road Club.
It was the home rider, Erin Boothman who won in the Youth A Girls, relatively fresh off her YTOS success. Prior to her mountain bike exploits, Daisy Taylor (Royal Albert CC) came home in second, with Molly Evans (Deeside Thistle) in third. Melanie Rowe (Deeside Thsitle) won the Youth B race, from teammate Hope Thomson in second and Eve Fairbairn (Discovery Junior CC) in third.
In the Boys’ race, Elliot Rowe (Deeside Thistle) rode away from the field to win the Youth A event by 35 seconds. Ahron Dick (Edinburgh RC) finished in second, leading Colin McGourty (EKRC) home in third a further 15 seconds further back. The Youth B event was won by Elliot Speedie (Edinburgh RC) from Colin Johnston (Johnstone Wheelers CC) in second and Innis Long (Deeside Thistle) in third.
Scottish Student Crit Championships
Fife Cycle Park hosted Scottish Student Sport’s criterium championships on Saturday. In the Women’s event it was the Alba Development RT duo of Arianne Holland (Edinburgh Uni) and Beth Maciver (Glasgow Caledonian Uni) who raced away from the field, quickly forging a large advantage. It came down to a two-up sprint, with Maciver just edging out her trade teammate. With the rest of the field a lap down on the Alba duo, it was a great battle for Bronze, which was won by Masie Aubrey.
The Men’s championship followed a similar theme with The Cycling Academy’s Ciaran Mc Sherry (Edinburgh Uni) going on a long-range solo attack which saw him win the race by nearly two minutes. Louis Moore (Edinburgh Uni) was the only other rider to remain on the lead lap, with Matiss Robertson (UHI/RT23) finishing in third.
Ross Birrell was flying the saltire at the Gent Class 1 Track Meeting in Belgium. A great second place in the U23 Scratch Race, followed up by a third in the Madison. With this season being his first foray into U23 events, having graduated from the juniors, the Scot will look to build on his impressive performances. His next race will be with the Great Britain Under-23 squad on the road for the PWZ Zuidenveld Tour in the Netherlands at the end of the month.
British Team Cup
In Coalville, Leicestershire the latest round of the Women’s British Team Cup took place with a great ride from Beth Harley-Jepson (Jadan - Vive le Velo) to finish in second.
De Brabantse Pjil
Anna Shackley worked excellently with her SD Worx squad to dominate the Belgian hilly one-day classic. Shackley finished 19th, as all five members of her team finished in the Top 20 with Demi Vollering winning. The Milngavie rider will now move onto the two Women’s World Tour classics of La Fleche Wallone and Liege-Bastogne-Liege which should suit her characteristics with the repetitive punchy climbs in the Ardennes.
Tour du Loir et Chet
Four Scots took to the start of the UCI 2.2 Tour du Loir et Chet in France, with the Ribble-Weldtite duo of Stuart Balfour and Finn Crockett joined by Mark Stewart (Black Spoke NZ) and Michael Gill (Saint Piran).
Crockett continued his excellent form, opening with a seventh place on a tight bunch sprint on the opening stage, with Stewart only six places further back as he worked for his sprinter Aaron Gate.
Stage 3 saw the Stirling Uni student finish fifth which meets one of the two standards required for Commonwealth Games Selection. A top 10 finish on the final kermesse stage into Blois saw Crockett record a ninth-place finish on the General Classification, an excellent performance on his UCI stage race debut.
The illustrious Kerry Group Rás Mumham in Munster took place over Easter Weekend, with Spokes Racing Team sending both their Under 23 and Junior squads over to Ireland for the four-day race. Lee Rosie continued his great form with a third place on Stage 3 into Knocknagree, before recording ninth on the final stage as he finished 16th overall. Daniel Kain also impressed, finishing fourth on Stage 2, before claiming 15th on the general classification.
The Spokes RT will take the experience gained from Ireland into next weekend as they take on the UCI 1.2 Rutland-Melton Cicle Classic.
Circuit du Mene
Perthshire’s Alfie George (Vendeé-U) is in action at the French Elite Circuit du Mene, recording an excellent third in the opening time trial, before finishing fifth in the afternoon road race on Easter Monday.