Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Cross at the Fun-park

Report & photos: Addy Pope |

 The 4th round of the 2013 Ridley SCX series was hosted by 
East Kilbride Road Club at Strathclyde Country Park. Last year’s Scottish champs were postponed due to ice and the morning of the race was clear and fresh. Arriving at the venue at 10 am i hopped out the van and almost ended up on my ass. The car park was more than a touch slippery. Making our way up to the course it was clear that the organisers had been breaking up the puddles of ice to make the course as safe as possible for the kids races.

The course for the kids looked great. Some tight turns in the car park, a long back straight on a smooth, dirt surface and an evil section of off-camber where the brave could make up places by taking the hi-line and testing their tyre grip. Now, i would like to post some pics from the race, but i had a battery fail. Both had failed to charge, despite indicating that they were charging. Luckily one of the organisers has the same camera and lent me a spare. I then proceeded to take 100 shots before noticing that the camera was still on manual focus (from Hallocross). Not exactly slick! So, sorry for not getting anything for the junior races, but full results can be found HERE.
Onto the races that i managed to watch. The Under 14s and Under 16s saw some great racing. Walking round the course with Dave Hamill, we were both really impressed by some of their line choices. Many of the older riders could learn a thing or two from them. One less fortunate line choice was taken by Sean Flynn (ERC) who was on the wheel of another rider when they narrowly avoided a tree. Un-sighted, Sean didn’t miss the tree and hit it pretty hard with his head. We checked he was ok and he was back on the bike riding strongly to win his class. Chapeau.
Perfect conditions
The organisers took the last minute decision to split the Vet 40s out into a separate race. This meant more hanging about for the seniors, but it was definitely the right thing to do and probably resulted in better racing for everyone. So the Vet50s, Women and Juniors raced together. Brendan Roe is in a different class this year and destroyed the field to win by some margin and extend his lead overall. Same goes for Maddy Robinson (VCM), who got into the lead early on and stayed there. She has only been beaten this year by Brendan’s daughter Eileen. The Junior race was taken by Harry Johnston.
Roe – Bossin’ it through the leaves
Maddy on her way to another win
The Vet 40s always attracts a big field and this event saw close to 100 take the start. By the way, the new gun we seem to have is damn loud! With such a big field, getting to the front was important as the back section of the course was tight and fast. VCM rider Miffi Muir got squeezed on one section, collecting a log with his pedal and, by all accounts, skittling the pack. The crash ended the race for a few riders and produced a bit of a split in the field. Things calmed down a bit but those old boys race hard and i saw quite a bit of “rubbin’” especially on the final lap. After his trade mark fast start, Stevie Jackson was reeled in by Gary McCrae and John Woodrow who took 1st and 3rd respectively. CX Addict’s Fraser Waters (VCM) looked set to take his first points of the season but unfortunately ripped his rear mech off on the last lap and had to run. Well, it would be a shame to see all that triathlon training go to waste ;)
neck and neck
Juniors fighting it out
The senior men were the last to race and it was another big field. I slotted in on the second row, giving my surprise 1st row slot to Davie Lines who’s name had not been read out but clearly had more points than me. This act of chivalry was actually a cunning ploy to avoid the massive puddles and get the smooth line to the tarmac. It worked. I slotted into about 5th as we hit the grass. The leaders went left, i stayed right and was a little surprised to reach the ditch in the lead. I managed to hold the lead for about 10 seconds before starting my inevitable slide to about 15th. The course was brutal. The big climb was long and steep, the run was slippery and narrow and every fast section seemed to end with a tight, muddy corner that wanted to dump you on the ground. The Strathclyde race has a reputation for being a slog, but the changes that the organisers made for this year resulted in great racing and smiles all-round. OK, there were still a few bust rear-mechs but not as many as last year.
Doc Pedro
Doc Pedro
Shock as CX bike holds up mtbs……
Logan and Warren
More pics can be found here. A big thanks to the EKRC and everyone else who chipped in to make the event happen. Next up is Cross at the Beach in Irvine with it’s now infamous dunes and sand slog. Cant wait!
Some other write ups and photos from the race:

Click here for full results.
Edit: see this article for an explanation of the revisions made to the orginal results. 

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