On the 26th of May the Pearl Izumi Tour Series rolled into it’s only Scottish destination this year – Motherwell. With large entry fields in the second round of the Matrix Fitness women’s series, including many strong Scottish riders, and the Pearl Izumi Tour Series men’s event, the stage was set for an exciting day of racing. Prior to that, with the backing of North Lanarkshire Council and local cycling clubs, the support events would take place on the same course.
The first riders out on course were the youth A & B boys and girls, with a good entry field, despite many riders mid-way through the exam diet. An early breakaway from Charlie Johnston (Team Thomsons Cycles) was soon reeled back in by the bunch, who rode together for a good proportion of the race. Stephen Dent (Nevis Cycles) and Joseph Nally (Team Hardie Bikes) attacked and moved ahead, working as a habitual duo gaining clear ground. After working together, it came down to a sprint finish, with Dent proving stronger to the line. Alfie George, hot off stage wins at the North West Youth Tour, was the next rider across the line, also taking the prizes for first Youth B boy and the fastest lap of the race. The first of the girls was Ellie Park (Billy Bilsland Cycles), winning the Youth As, with Abby Stewart (Glasgow Riderz) the first youth B girl.
The women’s race featured a wide range of abilities, from Commonwealth Games athletes, to first time racers, who had been encouraged by Scottish Cycling women’s road race coaching sessions. An early break again led to a leading duo, with experienced junior mountain biker Erika Allen (Thomsons Cycles) working with Katherine Gallagher (Carse of Gowrie Velo). Onto the last lap, Allen rounded the final corner first and powered up the hilled finish straight to claim the victory. She also won the prize for the first Junior and the fastest lap of the women’s race – which came on her final lap! A strong bunch was following with the final podium spot in their sights including Luisa Steele (Johnstone Wheelers), Lorna Ferguson (Glasgow Green CC) and Ingrid Kidd (Angus Bike Chain). Successfully working together they sprinted towards the line, with the Youth A rider Steele making it over the line first, a second ahead of the bunch. The first 4th Cat rider was Jen Mason, in 9th position overall.
The final support event of the day was the men’s 2/3/4 race, with almost 60 riders signed on to take part. For many of these riders it was an exciting opportunity to compete on closed roads on a “home” course. In almost a carbon copy of the first two races, it was a pair of riders who went clear at the front with a quarter of the race remaining. Pushing on, Andrew Scorey (Berwick Wheelers) and Jordan Doig (Pedal Power RT) stretched out a 20 second advantage at the front, with Scorey taking the final sprint, right on the line. It was a bunch sprint for the remaining podium spot with eleven riders all in contention. Zak Loney (Team LFH) made it across the line first as the bunch strung out in the sprint, with fourth place Graeme Cross (The Bicycle Works) winning the prize for the fastest lap. The first 3rd cat rider prize went to Ross Clark (Glasgow Ivy CC), while Paul Sharp (Team Hardies Bikes) was the first 4th cat rider. First junior was Grant Martin (Spokes Racing Team).
After all the action in the support races, the riders were able to relax and watch the evening races – and compare their tactics and racing lines with those of the professional riders! Thanks must go to the local clubs in the West, including the Royal Albert Cycling Club for the volunteers, to North Lanarkshire Council for all the support and enthusiasm and to the Tour Series for the use of the infrastructure for the events.