Report: Martin Steele & Alistair Borthwick
Photos: Ewan Baxter & Stuart McInnes
Around 80 hardy racers - some making long journeys with multiple ferry trips to be there - lined up for two hectic days of racing, some jigging and quite a lot of Christmas spirit.
Racing on both days kicked off with the Under 12s races. Alistair Borthwick reports on how the races unfolded:
The Under 12s race course was immediately in front of the Castle with a fantastic backdrop of views out to the Isles. The circuit involved a variety of surfaces and technical challenges from tight gravel corners to switchback chicanes through the rough grass; the course was made more interesting on Sunday by the layer of frost on the tarmac and ice in the puddles. Thanks for organisation and admin go to Iain and Hazel Grant and Ewan Baxter.
The Under 8s had a separate race which included some warm-up running and pushing for some of the dads preparing for the senior race. The U8 podium was dominated by the Whitehead family with Lucas finishing first boy, while local girl Julie Anne McNeil won the girls race.
The U10s and U12s raced together on both days. Michael Hastings made the long journey from Islay to win the U10 Boys on both days with Anna Shackley and local girl Isla Robertson winning the girls races. The U12 race saw a familiar contest between the boys represented by the 2 Callums (Grant and Shackley) and the girls represented by Emma Borthwick. Callum Grant led both races throughout and Emma Borthwick fought off a mid-race attack from Callum Shackley on Saturday to finish second on both days.
The Youths were out next and victory was taken by local rider Sam Downing (Isle of Mull CC), with Lucy Grant (Peebles CC) and Louise Borthwick (Edinburgh RC) completing the podium.
Once the racing was done, a number of riders headed to the Aros Halls in Tobermory for a Christmas dinner and ceilidh. Despite weary limbs, the dance floor was soon packed with cyclocrossers throwing mean shapes. Your correspondent can confirm that an Orcadian Strip the Willow is much harder work than a ‘cross race.
Sunday’s Youth race saw a repeat of Saturday’s podium of Sam Downing (Isle of Mull CC), with Lucy Grant (Peebles CC) and Louise Borthwick (Edinburgh RC).
The Senior race also brought a world first – the Santacross World Championships. Although not sanctioned (yet) by the UCI, this is the race that every Santacrosser wants to win.
It's been a great season, with numbers up significantly from last year. The Scottish Cyclocross Association would like to thank everyone that raced, organised, sponsored, offiatiated, rang cowbells and helped us run the most successful Scottish ‘cross series of recent years. The Association is already working on plans for next year, so keep checking the website [http://www.scottishcyclrocross.org.uk] for news as it happens.
Still to come: An article explaining where your hardearned entry fees go.