Lines takes emotional win at Veteran Road Champs

Lines takes emotional win at Veteran Road Champs


In a week when the whole Scottish cycling community, and many further afield, were struggling to take in the news of Rab Wardell’s passing, David Lines (Wheelbase CabTech) paid tribute to his friend in the most touching way possible for a bike racer by winning in style and dedicating it to Rab as he crossed the finish line.

It was a day of break and break again before he took the uphill dash into Killearn, starting his sprint early as he knew that if he left it late, James McCallum (Meta Bike Division) would overhaul him on the way to the line.

James McCallum would finish in second spot with Brian Duncan (Sparta Breda) overhauling Greig Brown (Vanelli-Project GO) just before the line to claim the final podium position.

It may have been a disappointment for Brown not to get a medal, but if there had been a prize for most aggressive rider, it would surely have gone to him. He was off the front from the flag and was in every move of the race. A consolation was that teammate Jason Roberts was next home and claimed the V50 category championship and jersey, a great reward for a team that worked well to protect its breakaway riders.

Paul Hornby and his team from the Ivy had arranged some excellent weather for the championship that would run over three laps of the Lake of Menteith APR circuit with a final run from the Ballat Toll down to the Smiddy Roundabout and the horrible last uphill 700 metres to the line.

With the flag dropping after the race turned onto the A811, it was Brown who shot off towards Arnprior and by the time he was heading up the Lake road he had gained 55 seconds over a line-astern bunch, a peloton ably policed by teammate Andy Bruce.

Reeled in just after the turn at the Port of Menteith, another break would move up the road and by the Ballat Toll there was a decent group just ahead of the larger bunch. There were yet more moves as the race came together and then split again; there was a break up the road as the race came away from the Aberfoyle turn for the second time, the peloton just over a minute back and another Vanelli rider, Rob Friel, dangling in between,

It was a fast race and Friel eventually realized he couldn’t get across so slid back into the main bunch. Next time around and the selection was made with eight riders, Lines and Brown pushing hard over  Flanders Moss. As they came onto the final leg and around the roundabout, the front of the race was now being contested by just four riders: Lines, McCallum, Duncan and Brown.

Hitting the false flat, Lines took off with McCallum trying to stay in contact. Brown was right there but with Lines taking the win, it was left to McCallum to hold off the fast finishing Duncan, Brown on his wheel.

Onlookers would then look for the remains of the final break, as Jason Roberts finished on his own to take the V50 jersey. Andy Bruce, at the head of the peloton, knew that his teammate had won the V50 so, policeman duties over, he shot off the front to finish on a hill that he’s won on before and to make it gold and silver for his team, Robert Lindsay (Deeside Thistle CC) taking the final V50 podium spot.

Back to the HQ where Scottish Cycling President Kathy Gilchrist paid tribute to the organisers, the marshals, the NEG, with the biggest and most enthusiastic applause for the marvelous people serving the teas, coffees and cakes.

Davie Lines dedicated the win to Rab Wardell with both he and James McCallum fitting medal winners being particularly close friends, and occasional racing rivals, of Rab.

Lines confirmed as much saying afterwards:

“I went from well out and I was too scared to look back. I was waiting for the swish of a wheel as it came by me, listening all the time while my legs were screaming for the end, and then I knew I had it and the emotion overcame me as I pointed to the sky in Rab’s honour.”

There was no doubting with was a difficult day full of emotion, but everyone made the decision to race because, ultimately, they knew it was what Rab would have wanted.