Sup6r Six - 45th Edition David Bell Memorial Road Race
Newly crowned Scottish Road Race Champion Evan Oliphant led home another dominant performance by the Endura Racing team, which scooped all three podium spots in the 45th edition of the David Bell Memorial Road Race. The seventy mile event, a promotion of Ayr Roads Cycling Club, Harry Fairbairn BMW of which David Bell was a founding member, was run under stunning blue summer skies and treated riders to some of the finest scenery South Ayrshire has to offer.
The field of the 45th David Bell Memorial Race setting off from Straiton, with Ayr Riders Mark Skilling and Kenneth Armstrong in the blue and white colours of Ayr Roads CC Harry Fairbairn BMW
130 riders signed on for the event, being run as the sixth round of the Super Six Scottish Power Renewables Road Race Series. Come the first lap Endura Racing rode to protect the series leadership of David Lines, and by the Ayrshire Post Hill Prime on Nic of the Balloch: only the promising youngster Dougie Young of the Glasgow Wheelers could upset Endura's dominance, by snatching third behind Oliphant and teammate Callum Wilkinson. Following his attack on the same climb, which animated the 2008 edition, Wilkinson remains a firm favourite with the fans of the race.
By the time the race reached the sprint at the end of the first lap in, Straiton Oliphant had made a springboard attack to launch Davie Lines up the road. The two powered over the line with a clear minutes lead over Ciaran Docherty, who took third in the Sinclair Scott sponsored sprint. Behind, three groups of ten worked hard to bring the damage under control. Lines and Oliphant continued to build their advantage until the second ascent of the Nic O Balloch at 50 miles in. Here Lines faltered for the first time, and Oliphant was left to make the decision to forge ahead alone, to claim victory for the team. Behind him, least year's victor Ross Creber, together with 2008 Davie Bell champion Gary Hand, put in a united team effort to distance the talented young Glasgow Wheelers duo of Dougie Young and Robert Hassan. Meanwhile Wilkinson played the job of loyal teammate to support series leader Lines.
At the end of the seventy mile event Oliphant soloed to victory in convincing style, with Creber and Hand following 1min 21secs behind, hand-in-hand in a show of team strength to take the remaining podium spots. With the three previous champions all on the same podium, it was left to Robert Hassan to represent Scotland's emerging talent as he took the sprint for 4th ahead of Team BGlobal's Ian Taylor.
A race 2nd and 3rd place team mates, Ross Creber and Gary Hand of the Endura Racing Team
Endura Racing's Gary Hand explained that the teams position was always to ensure the win, and with Lines well supported and Evan in the lead it was a master class in team riding. Other notable performances included veteran rider Stuart MacGregor of Dooley's racing team, who won a nail-biting sprint for 7th, and his junior teammate Grant Ferguson who placed 12th.
In 28th spot, local rider Mark Skilling retained the Davie Bell trophy, awarded to the first finished from the home club. Noting the increased speed and pressure compared to the previous year, Skilling made the rash promise "enough is enough!".
In the supporting B race it was Keith Laird of Glasgow Couriers who put in another dominant performance, following a tough battle up the Nic O Balloch against Scott Newman and Trevor Wilson. Despite the cross winds blasting the Tailaw Summit, Laird was able to break clear and maintain nearly a minutes advantage.
B race winner Keith Laird - in the red jersey of Glasgow Couriers
Race organiser John Mason was commended by riders and colleagues for what can be described as the biggest and best David Bell Memorial of the modern era. John has tasked with organising the event for the past four years, and today's event showcased just how much the race has developed under his tenure. Thanks were also expressed by Ayr Roads CC to Alison Lunn of Scottish Cycling and her team who turned out to offer great support and resource to the event, in addition to their hard work co-ordinating the Super Six series.