Round 5 has been and gone, indeed like the grains of sand falling through the hourglass this years Ridley SCX series is drawing to a close. With only Cross at the Castle and all its seasonal joviality to come, its been emotional.
Irvine Beach is of course a well established feature on the Scottish cross scene and under the careful management of Neil Walker and the Walkers Cycling team it has matured with age into the classic it was last Sunday. There are few weekends that I have heard folks say, “yep I could race that course every week” maybe next year Neil should look to a weekend of racing with double points up for grabs, I for one would certainly be up for that.
“The cure for anything is salt water – sweat, tears or the sea”
Irvine if you are unfamiliar, lies on the west coast of central Scotland, in the heart of Ayrshire, where it is gently caressed by the Firth of Clyde and the occasionally brisk westerly winds. The beach offers a classic links terrain which drains exceptionally well and for the benefit of us makes for a great race venue whatever the weather.
The day started with one of those fairly brisk winds and some near zero temperatures but it picked up as the sun opened its sleepy eyes briefly around midday.
Of course the racing can't wait on the weather so first up were the women and V50. Maddy Robinson has been on some pretty formidable form of recent and it was expected that today would see here clinch the series title. No one told Isla Short (Thomsons Cycles) and Kerry MacPhee (Rock and Road) about this however. Isla went on to win proving how capable she is and still a junior, ouch, and a great ride too by Kerry who has been showing promise all season and finally reaped the rewards. Congrats all round.
“Are you tired of sand being kicked in your face? I promise you new muscles in days!!”
Old Dudes on Dunes
V40s up next and numbers slightly down for this round which was a surprise. Still it didn’t stop the red mist descending into one of the most terrifying starts of the season. The sound of mature men, carbon fibre, expensive wheels and hard sand dunes colliding is not one I particularly like and fortunately I avoided both of the pile ups within the first 100 metres. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, most of us in this category are racing to perchance sneak into the top half, it sorts itself out, very quickly, be careful young old men! Anyway off we went, with myself, Russell, Simon, Davie and Gavin flying the VCM flag. I got a reasonable start and then got passed by what felt like hundreds of people on the second lap, nuff said, Russell and Davie worked their way strongly up to within a baw hair of the top 30 while Gavin and Simon once more chasing the top ten and finished 14th and 15th respectfully. Good riding giving the conditions and the speed of this race.
|the candy coloured clowns, they call the sandmen|
The course wound its way around the hard sand dunes above the beach, it makes for super fast racing with good traction and no real let up. Added into the mix is the long straight of soft sand which throws up different lines every lap, a new climb had been added which really worked well and was a welcome tweak to the course. Fast and furious.
Seniors last and the big guns are starting to flex their muscle. Rab Wardell took the early lead and seemed to have it in his pocket but behind him there was some super aggressive racing going on that ultimately led to Davie Lines getting a sniff of Rabs wheel, the rest as they say is history, well done Davie, that was some strong riding. For VCM we had Steve, Ian and Simon here today. Steve never quite made the jump with the Colin May group but eventually overcame James Fraser Moodie for 6th place. Behind that, Ian was on another flyer and looked to be claiming some scalps for his collection but inexperience got the better of him and he was Rogered on the line eventually coming in 16th and Simon a couple of places behind in 18th. Great racing once more.
|Ian on a mission|
As usual, lots of praise for the organisers, it is a fairly thankless (and insanely time consuming) task but we all do really appreciate the work that goes into putting on a race. And there we have it, one round left for another year, bah humbug. Scottish Championships up next and looking at the pre-entries its going to be a humdinger.
pics by the sidelined Fraser Waters
“To see a world in a grain of sand
and heaven in a wild flower
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
and eternity in an hour”
how we all did
Simon M. 14th
Simon F 18th