The third round of the Scottish Cyclocross Series was hosted by East Kilbride Road Club at Strathclyde Park on Sunday the 8th of November. The early forecasts looked ominous, and the weather certainly created a dramatic atmosphere with torrential rain and gusts, in conditions described as ‘biblical’ by many after the race.
With almost 520 entrants, it was one of the biggest competitive events in Scotland, and slick organisation and timings meant that riders quickly received their timing chips and numbers, committing themselves to the mud. The course was similar to previous years, with a few additional off camber turns on muddy grass early on, maintaining the iconic red ash climb and the long portage section by the bridge. The laps were long, with lots of climbing and fast sections to challenge riders fitness and bike handling skills.
The first events of the day, and benefiting from dryer weather were the Under 12s races, with the U8s first completing two laps of the course, with much support and encouragement from parents on the sidelines. Despite the tough conditions, the 26 youngsters had an enjoyable race, with Nic Jackson (KICC) and Niamh Waters (ERC) the winners. Then came one of the biggest starts of the day – ninety Under 12 riders careering towards the first corner. Four laps later, Frederick Fuller (ERC) came first across the line, with the sprint for second place going to Sam Chisholm (West Lothian Clarion) ahead of Ben McMullen (Pro Vision). Next across the line was U12 girls winner Imani Periera James (Glasgow Riderz) who just edged out Eilidh Shaw (Stirling Bike Club), with Skye Donnelly (Glasgow Riderz) in third.
Out onto the full course for the first time were the youth races with Jack Cruden (Glasgow Riderz) finishing strongly to win the U16 boys, with Rory McGuire (Perth United CC) the U14 victor. Anna McGorum (Peebles CC) won the U16 girls, with Eva Young (Pedal Power) taking first place in the U14 girls.
In the Junior men’s event, Conner Johnstone (Leslie Bike Shop) led all five laps of the race from start to finish, a feat repeated by Louisa Watt (Peebles CC) in the junior women’s race. The Veteran women’s race was won by Brenda Callendar (Stirling Bike Club), in a time that would have seen her place sixth in the overall women’s competition. At the front of the senior women’s race a battle was developing between Lucy Grant (Peebles CC), Eileen Roe (Wiggle Honda), Maddy Robinson (Velo Club Moulin) and Anne Ewing. Lucy Grant saved her best till last, recording her fastest lap time on the final lap to take the win, with Eileen second and Maddy third position.
The Veteran 50+ men’s category was won by Kenny Kentley (Velocity 44), who, despite a two minute gap to the juniors and women, overtook all but two of them. The Leslie Bike Shop duo of Brendan Roe and Mark Barnett joined him on the podium. The Vet 40 was the biggest category of the day, with 114 men on the starting grid. Just 30 seconds separated the podium placers at the end of five laps of racing, with Gary McCrae (Leslie Bike Shop) in front of Hans Forhaug and Stephen Jackson both of Glasgow United.
By the time the Senior men were on the start line, the rain was torrential, and massive, deep puddles had appeared all around the course, owing to a lot of punctures throughout the day. Despite terrible conditions, over fifty riders managed to complete the race. Another rider taking the win from the front was Harry Johnstone (Pro Vision), who came into the finish over a minute and a half ahead of his nearest rival. Allan Clark (Velocity 44) was pushed hard to the finish by a charging Neil Walker (Walkers Cycling) who set his fastest lap on his last time around the course and rounded off the men’s podium.
The event also hosted the Scottish Student Sport Championships, the report for which can be found here.
Full results can be found here.
Photo Credit: Michael Martin