On Sunday the 6th of December, Walkers Cycling Club are hosting round 5 of the Raleigh Scottish Cyclocross series, incorporating the Scottish Championships on arguably one of the toughest cyclocross courses in Scotland.
The course stays true to its roots, with course designer Neil Walker ensuring plenty of challenging sections which can be enjoyed by the top-end racers and first-timers alike. The course has been slightly revamped course for 2015 to include even more of the notorious sand. The infamous big dipper remains, treating riders to a rollercoaster-like experience. There are plenty of off-camber sections, with wheels being forced to squeeze every last inch of grip from the tyres to stay upright. Riders will also take on one of the longest run-ups in Scottish cyclocross.
Racing starts at 10am and first up will be the under 12s. 100 young riders will compete on a shorter course. The under 14s and under 16s are racing on the main course at 10:30am. Anna Flynn (Edinburgh RC) is hot favourite in the under 14 girls having won every round of the SCX series that she has ridden. The under 14s boys race is likely to be a battle between Callum Cooper (Ythan CC) and Rory McGuire (Perth City Cycles). The under 16s girls is likely to be another close race between Anna McGorum (Peebles CC) and Ishbel Strathdee (Edinburgh RC). Contenders for the under 16s boys title include Cameron Mason (Leslie Bike Shop/Bikers Boutique ), Sean Flynn (Edinburgh RC), Jack Cruden (Glasgow Riderz) and Struan Pryde (Deeside Thistle CC).
Next on course at 11:30 are the juniors, over 50s and women. Eleanor Strathdee (Edinburgh RC) is favourite for the junior girls’ title. In the absence of series leader, Connor Johnstone, John MacLeod (Spokes RT) will start as favourite in the junior men’s race. Brendan Roe (Leslie Bike Shop/Bikers Boutique) will be hoping to defend his title in the over 50s but is likely to be challenged by his team mate Mark Barnett and Kenny Kentley (Velocity 44 Stirling). Brenda Callander (Stirling BC) goes into the championships having won every round of the SCX series this season in the veteran women’s category. It is a different story in the senior women’s category where there has been a different winner every round so expect a close battle between Anne Ewing (WV Breda), Lucy Grant (Peebles CC), Maddy Robinson (VC Moulin) and Jane Barr (Velocity 44 Stirling).
Over 100 riders have entered the veteran men’s race. Defending champion, Gary McCrae (Leslie Bike Shop/Bikers Boutique) is likely to face a challenge from the Glasgow United CC trio of Stephen Jackson, James Melville and Hans Forhaug, and Alister Watt (Granite City RT).
In the SCX senior men’s category this year, nobody has managed to challenge David Lines (Velosure Starley Primal). However in the championships he faces stiff competition from defending champion, Robert Wardell (riding his first cross race of the season) and top mountainbiker, Grant Ferguson (Betch.NL-Superior-Brentjens MTB Racing Team). Other medal contenders include series leader Neil Walker (Walkers CC), Michael Nicholson (www.Dooleys-Cycles.co.uk), Alan Clark (Velocity 44 Stirling), Harry Johnstone (Pro Vision Cycle Clothing), Gary MacDonald (Hope Factory Racing) and Sean Clark.
The Scottish Championships also incorporates the first ever Scottish Cycling South West Cyclocross Championships. The main challengers for the women’s title are Janet Erskine (Ayr Roads CC) and Lorna Sloan (Walkers CC) along with Joanne Baxter (Ayr Burners) and Catherine Logan (Walkers CC). Neil Walker (Walkers CC) is the hot favourite for the men’s title. His closest challenge is likely to come from John-Paul Baxter (Ayr Burners) Also in the running for regional medals are Walkers CC riders: Kevin Pugh, Calum Ridout and John McCracken, and Christopher Johnson (Ayr Burners.)