I was born in Hamilton, lived in Springwell, High Blantyre and Chapelhall, three real fucking beauty spots, Lanarkshire born and bred, nothing to be ashamed off, yet for most of my adult life I have had a hate (and very occasional love) relationship with the place. Returning regurgitates these feelings of repulsion and belonging that is hard to explain. I am old enough to remember a time before Strathclyde Park, not much but just, it marked the beginning of a hopeful new future for the area. I remember being in awe of the prospect of people racing boats here, needless to say I've never witnessed this, even though it does happen. Its an area born out of heavy industry, mining and steelworks being at the fore, needless to say these are long gone.
Without thinking I reached for a Joy Division cd to listening to on the journey to Strathclyde Park for round 4 of the SCX Cavalcade. Last years Scottish champs at the same venue still an unfond memory of a hard day on the bike. I was under no allusions that a similar day was in store for me, and the hundreds of others who were making this journey. Arriving in glorious winter sunshine was not something I had anticipated, in fact the warmth of the sun is not something I associate with Lanarkshire, maybe my memories of the power cuts still run deep.
Anyway back to the racing, the course was a rerouted version of the previous champs course mostly in reverse and some new bits, having walked it I opted to not ride a practice lap, I was already feeling pretty shite and a practice lap would probably have been enough to send me back up the road. What the walk revealed was a lap of mostly country park tracks loosely based around an uphill and a downhill, two shitty flat grass sections (the most cross like bits) and the big chucky carpark, conditions permitting it was going to be fast, nothing really technical and hard to pass tracks.
|I should have stayed here|
The start of V40 can be a little daunting, with around 80-90 strewn across the potholed, iced and puddled road leading straight to a narrow opening into the first shitty grass bit it was never going to be pretty, how we all made it through that opening is as much down to sheer luck as anything else. From here on in it became an exercise in nursing your way around the course, listening to your drivetrain for tell tale sign of the dreaded chainsuck that claimed too many rear mechs. I couldn't hang with the guys I should have been hanging with, that's the way it goes sometimes. I would be lying if I said I enjoyed this, actually not altogether true, by the last couple of laps I was kinda getting into it but not to the point of eagerly awaiting the news of its inclusion in next years series. For the record I ran Challenge Fango clinchers and loved them, even though this probably wasn't ideal conditions for that particular tread.
It is a real shame there isn’t a better course available here as it really is a great venue and the EKRC guys and girls are a bloody good bunch and do put in some serious effort and support for the Scottish Cross scene, come on South Lanarkshire Council, open up some more of the park and allow a bit more of the grass to be used.
So how did we do? Simon Muir got snarled up in a first lap crash that has left him with a super hefty repair bill. Gavin May (12th) was best placed, followed by Russell Stout then possibly Marty and Fraser, then me and Davie Graham, who was coming back strong after an enforced bike change. Maddy won the womens, which is great, what a season she is having, Ainsley Turbitt finished in there too though its unclear from the results exactly where? In the seniors, Ian Dunlop(14th) was best of the survivors followed by Addy(15th) then SimonF (19th)
|Simon F on his second bike of the day|
I’m struggling to say much more on this round, some great things, like the pre-entry fast track sign on, sheer genius. And the atmosphere, sunshine, chips, good folks, big laughs and did I mention the sunshine. Well done EKRC for putting on a good show, lets hope that sun keeps shining for our visit to round 5 at the seaside.
both pics by Martin Steele