Raymond Wilson (Dunfermline CC) at last had Lady Luck on his side as he scored a well-deserved win in Sunday’s Duncan MacGregor Memorial Road Race over 75 hilly and airy miles around the ‘rigging’ of Fife.

Duncan MacGregor Memorial Road Race
East & West Lomond Hills – the “paps o’ Fife”.

After three laps, which included the hard climb of Largo Law the decisive moments came on the tough ‘wee circuit’ which had to be covered once, before the run-in to the finish.

Duncan MacGregor Memorial Road Race
Raymond Wilson knows it’s in the bag.

It looked like it would be a three-way battle for the win at the line
between Wilson, Paul Coats (Squadra Via Mazzini/Racetool) and Evan Oliphant (DFL). Coats and Wilson had been riding a strong two-up ahead of the chasers with Oliphant just about to bridge-up to them when Coats’ carbon steerer broke and the Wick professional Oliphant punctured.

Paul Coats might not be buying another pair of carbon steerer forks.
Paul Coats might not be buying another pair of carbon steerer forks.

Coats was out and Oliphant had to ride five miles on the rim before he could get a change; but by then Wilson was long-gone.

The ‘Dunfermline Irishman’ rode the final 15 rolling and windy miles with
such force that his final margin of victory was in excess of two minutes.

Duncan MacGregor Memorial Road Race
Evan Oliphant punctured when in with a chance of the win.

Oliphant completed a busy and lucrative weekend with another second place to go with the same position in Saturday morning’s ten mile championship and a win in Saturday afternoon’s criterium at Ingilston.

Third was Rosneath and Sam Robinson winner, Gordon Murdoch (East Kilbride RT).

Duncan MacGregor Memorial Road Race
Gordon Murdoch (leading) worked hard to secure 3rd place.

Despite an excellent prize list it was a disappointing bunch of just 28 which rolled-away from race sponsors, Jax Health Club on Sunday morning.

Within a couple of miles the bunch was climbing Largo law into a block head wind, with Wilson and Coats already frisky.

Duncan MacGregor Memorial Road Race
Paul Coates and Ray Wilson were at the front from the first climb of Largo.

The first splits were appearing by Peat Inn and its famous eatery; three riders had already bid the back of the bunch; ‘adios’.

Duncan MacGregor Memorial Road Race
The famous Peat Inn.

Largo Law for the second time and it was Wilson and Oliphant at the head of affairs with a fragmented bunch in their wake.

Montrave on lap two and the Coats/Wilson duet was in place with a smiling Oliphant (above) leading the chase from Callum MacGregor (thebicycleworks.com) and Arthur Doyle (Ivy CC) fresh from a 21-33 in Saturday’s ten champs.

Duncan MacGregor Memorial Road Race
Motrave, Evan chases and has time to smile.

It was good to hear that Scotland’s top riders assist and encourage each other on the road, as the cry; “Fu**ing go through, Gordon!” echoed across the quiet barley fields.

Duncan MacGregor Memorial Road Race
Ray and Paul worked well together to build their lead.

At the top of Largo Law for the third and last time it was still the dynamic duo from a group of nine with Oliphant ever-active.

I followed the nine over the rolling road to Largo Ward; the word ‘sprachel’ comes to mind; meanwhile the two leaders worked smoothly together.

On the final climb out of Largo Ward it seemed that Mr. Murdoch had taken the earlier coaching to heart and lead the chase.

Duncan MacGregor Memorial Road Race
L to R: Calum MacGregor, Arthur Doyle, and Gordon Murdoch.

The ‘wee circuit’ behind Ceres is a “toughie” and I couldn’t help but remember the times that Jock Hardie used to half-wheel me up that climb — on his 76” fixed.

At the top, Wilson and Coats looked comfortable with Oliphant bridging-up — moments later, fate would roll the dice and the ‘luck of the Irish’ would return.

The race was promoted by thebicycleworks.com in memory of their stalwart, Callum MacGregor’s late father Duncan, who was a keen follower and supporter of the sport; appropriate then that Callum (below, left) should finish in sixth place.

What they said

Gordon:

“I think I began to ride better as the day went on; I’ve been doing a lot of training for the nationals next weekend, so maybe I’m a bit tired. I’ll be tapering-off this week and doing some quality work.

“There are a few guys who can win next Sunday — Raymond, Evan and Paul (Coats) among them — Paul was unlucky today; I think this result means that I’ll take the lead in the Grand Prix series from him.”

Evan:

“I had to do a lot of work today, I spent half the race chasing at the front. A lot of the guys won’t work, I’m not sure if they aren’t fit —enough or just want to get round and get to the finish.

“On the big descent (Dangerfield), there were two guys up the road (Wilson and Coats) and there were eight of us behind; if we had just ridden through-and-off we would have caught them without any problem, but nobody wanted to work.

“I was just getting-on to Raymond when I punctured; I had to ride for five miles on the rim until I got a wheel. I chased back-up and went past everyone, Gordon (Murdoch) Stuart (McGregor) and Paul (Rennie) managed to get with me but Raymond was well-away by then. I’ll be doing some big runs this week in preparation for the national next weekend; I really want to win that.”

Raymond:

“It’s good to get a win here, especially with the wife and family at the finish, this is ‘home turf’; for me. I moved up to Aberdeen to live about a month ago and my motivation has been a bit low so I’m pleased to win today — it’s given me a real boost for the national next weekend.

“Paul and I rode well together today, but I think I was stronger than he was, just before he had his mechanical I wanted to raise the tempo so as to make it hard for Evan to get up to us, I didn’t actually realise that Evan had punctured.

“The last 15 miles on my own were hard, there wasn’t as much assistance from the wind as I expected.

“The national championship? If you had asked me two or three weeks ago I would have ruled myself out of contention, but after today I’ve got my appetite back and I’m looking forward to the race.”

Evan, Paul Coats, Gordon Murdoch, and Phil Brown — they’ll all be in there next week somewhere. As will VeloVeritas — see you there!

Result

1st Raymond Wilson (Dunfermline CC) 3.13.06
2nd Evan Oliphant (Team DFL) @ 2.31
3rd Gordon Murdoch (East Kilbride Wheelers) s.t.
4th Stuart MacGregor (Velo Ecosse) s.t.
5th Paul Rennie (Edge Racing) @ 3.16
6th Callum MacGregor (The Bicycleworks.com) s.t.
7th Steven Dunn (Falkirk BC) s.t.
8th Arthur Doyle (Ivy CC) s.t.
9th Ken Russell (Edinburgh RC) @ 4.26
10th Colin Ash (Anderson Racing) @ 12.12
11th John Kermode (Dundee Thistle) s.t.
12th Gary McCrae (Pedal Power RT) s.t.
13th Ian Taylor (Sunderland Clarion) s.t.
14th Tom Anderson (Falkirk BC) s.t.
15th Tom Worthington (Glasgow Nightingale) @ 25.47