Lewis Martin and Grace Inglis claimed the National senior titles, as the trails of Ae Forest played host to the Scottish National MTB XC Championships.
A huge amount of work had been put in by the Scottish Cross Country Association (SXC) Committee to make the Championships possible, late changes to the course were needed, but with no less than 17 Scottish national titles up for grabs it was a packed day of action in Ae.
The Senior Male race saw an excellent battle for the victory. Sam Chisholm (The Cycling Academy) took advantage of an early Martin mechanical and had a 15 second advantage over the Studio Velo rider after two of the five 6km circuits had been completed.
Martin was able to recover back on to Chisholm’s wheel and the pair battled on for the lead onto the final lap. It was clear the victory would come to a sprint finish between the leading duo, with the games taking place on the back straight of the course, almost resembling that of a track sprint.
As they came into the finish, it was Lewis Martin (Studio Velo) that just had enough in the tank to the take the victory with Chisholm crossing the line a few metres behind to claim silver. Nick Williamson finished in third and took home the bronze medal.
On claiming his Scottish national title Martin said:
“It was definitely a tough race, one of the tougher ones of the season. I dropped my chain on the first lap and that was a bit of an issue then I got back in and held on as much as I could with Sam. I lost his wheel at one point, but was able to get back on, before the sprint at the end.”
The senior men's national champions jersey hasn't been worn in 2023 following Rab Wardell's tragic passing, two days after winning the Cross-Country Championships last year. Martin paid tribute to Rab saying:
“It was a real shame what happened last year with Rab, and it’s important to try and pick the legacy a wee bit. It’s good to know that I was the next person to wear the jersey after him, especially after finishing second to him last year."
After the prizegiving Scottish Cycling, on behalf of the cycling community were presented with Rab’s 2022 National Champions jersey and number board by the SXC Committee, as a tribute to his memory.
In the senior women’s field, Grace Inglis (Muckle CC) retained her title won in 2022 after taking the lead midway through the first lap. The Muckle CC rider was able to maintain her advantage over the chasers, consistently lapping over a minute per lap quicker than those behind.
Jane Barr (Velocity 44 RT) claimed the silver medal, after working well with Daisy Taylor (Royal Albert CC) – who was leading the Junior Female field. Barr was able to hold off Jo Thom (Torq Performance) for second, with Thom claiming the bronze medal.
After putting on the National Champions’ jersey at the podium, Inglis said:
“I really enjoyed the race; the course was really good fun. It was quite a fast start and Jane and Jo were super strong on the first climb, and then I was able to get a gap in the first singletrack section, but I was worried about them coming back and I had no idea at how big the gap was, so I was just trying to push on."
Daisy Taylor (Royal Albert CC) claimed victory in the Junior race and with it the Scottish national champions’ jersey. The youngster, who came into Ae Forest off the back of a strong ride at the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships at Glentress, produced another very strong ride to add to her impressive palmares. Isla Hedley claimed the silver medal after coming home in second place.
Ruan Vorster (Scotia Offroad RT) produced an excellent ride to take home the Junior male title, with Evan Mckenzie (Rotor RT) claiming silver and Sam Barbour (Ribble recharge RT) the bronze.
There was double delight for Scotia Offroad RT in the youth races, as it was another excellent performance by Innes McDonald (Scotia Offroad RT) to claim the Under 16 national title claiming the win by over three minutes from Oliver Cartier (Deeside Thistle), with Henry Obrien (Scotia Offroad RT) in third.
While in the Under 16 girls’ race Daisy Wilkinson (Scotia Offroad RT) claimed the title by two minutes with Freya Gibson (Peebles CC) in second, and Freya Mowbray (Scotia Offroad RT) in third.
The Juvenile boys delivered one of the races of the day with four riders in contention to claim the national title as they entered onto the final lap.
Gus Lawson (Pentland Racers) has been strong all season, winning every cross-country olympic race he’s competed in and won this title 12 months ago. However, he had to work hard for it in Ae as it came down to the final straight where Lawson’s power saw him pull away from the other Scottish Champs contenders and outsprint the rider in the open race, to add the 2023 Scottish title to British equivalent won in July.
Xander Graham (Scott Racing) came home to take silver with Joel Gillan winning the bronze medal.
In the girls race it was another British champion – Olivia Poole (Deeside Thistle CC) who rode excellently to take the national title, with Mairi Dowens (West Lothian Clarion) riding to silver, and Emma Hall (Pentland Racers) claiming the bronze.
The first race of the day was the Under 12’s with Lilly Cant winning the girls title, with Ella Mcqueen and Lucy Robb rounding off the podium.
In the boys’ race, Guy Rorke claimed the victory from Sam Kingan and Aaron Tresidder claiming the bronze.
Murray Soutter (Torvelo) claimed the Masters male title with Hamish Crebar (Ryan’s Bike Surgery) in second, and Jackie Chan (Team Andrew Allan Architecture) won the sprint for the bronze medal.
Melissa Mackenzie claimed the Masters Female title from Katherine Simpson who took home the bronze.
Alison Banford claimed the Female Veteran’s title by just over two minutes with Ruth Fraser-Moodie finishing in second place.
Gary Macdonald (Nevis Cycles RT) won his first Scottish national MTB title, claiming victory in the Vet Male race by a minute over Stu Thomson (Bike Trossachs) in second, with Bruce Mccleary (Studio Velo) in third.
Douglas Cameron won the Grand Vets race from Paul Obrien, with Peter Stewart claiming the bronze.
Anne Murray (Ben Wyvis CC) claimed the win in the Female Grand Vets from Nicola Forster (West Highland Wheelers)
Brendan Roe (Ryan’s Bike Surgery) claimed the victory in the Super Veteran’s race by just over a minute from Robert Jackson (Beyond Bikes), with Gavin Maclean claiming the bronze.