Scottish Criterium Championships 2007. It was like one of those American cop movies, where the old detective takes the young buck under his wing and together they buck the system — veteran Andrew Davies (the bicycleworks) and junior Hamish Creber (Sandy Wallace) rode away from the field in the opening laps of Saturday’s Scottish criterium championships at Glasgow Green, with the wily Davies taking the gold medal, one hour later, in front of a big crowd, there to see the finale of the Tour of Britain.
There were 50 riders on the sheet to face a flat but wind-swept and technical circuit around the narrow tarmac roads which criss-cross Glasgow Green.
The rain which had fallen earlier in the morning was kept at bay by the wind, but the circuit was treacherous in places — as Gary Hand (KFS) would discover, later.
The first move of the day was the one that took the spoils, as Davies and Creber eased-clear of the bunch, at first it looked as if the move would be nullified, but lap by lap the two built a lead. David MacDonald (Square Wheels) was with them initially, but never really settled into the strong, purposeful rhythm that the other two soon found.
Behind, organising the chase wasn’t proving easy; Gary Hand and last year’s criterium championship runner-up, Arthur Doyle (Ivy) were two of the first to realise the danger, but on the narrow circuit with tight corners and slick surface, fortune was favouring the brave — two riders could work much better together than 22.
As the laps ticked past, Paul Rennie (Edge), Andy Matheson (Musselburgh) and Graham McGarrity (Edge) all showed at the front, but there would always be a ‘lull’ and the momentum would be lost.
The two leaders had no such problems, Davies, low and flat-backed, looking every inch the successful track rider he was in the 80’s and mountain biker Creber, more upright and with a physical style, on paper not a good blend, but both had commitment and kept hard-at the job in hand, pedalling gears noticeably smaller than most of the chasers.
Hand and Kevin Barclay (Plowman Craven) tried to get a chase together, but as is usually the case in situations like these the bunch was happy to hunt them down, but not carry-through with the job and chase the leaders. Barclay would try again, later in the race with Ross Creber (Trek) – brother of leader, Hamish — but with no more success.
Well before the finish, it was apparent that the race was won, as the two leaders lapped stragglers and got the tail end of the bunch in sight.
Davies and Creber were happy to maintain their advantage and not risk getting caught-up in the chaos that ensues when groups merge as one is lapped.
The wind was sending leaves scurrying across the circuit and the tarmac was beginning to dry, but not enough to prevent Gary Hand from coming-down on the right-hander into the finishing straight.
In the bunch, thoughts now were on the bronze medal as Paul Rennie launched a series of attacks to try and distance himself, he was caught each time, and it was Doyle who finally got the gap, taking Paul McInally (East Kilbride) clear with him.
Rennie saw the danger and bridged across, McInally was unable to hold the pace and Rennie and Doyle [above] got down to the job of taking the bronze.
At the line, it was Davies giving a somewhat ‘camp’ victory salute, maybe he was embarrassed to win; he shouldn’t have been, it was a great ride.
Creber took the silver and Rennie bludgeoned a mega-gear down the straight to take the bronze, with Doyle fourth.
What they said
“Before the start I had thought about having a go early, the circuit was very greasy, so it was a lot safer to be at the front – the gap just grew lap on lap. I didn’t see the point in lapping the bunch, that would have just ended-up in confusion.
“I wasn’t sure about the sprint, but I knew whoever was first around the last corner would win; I made sure that was me! My last championship win? I guess that would be the mountain bike title back in the early 90’s.”
An ‘oldie-but-goody’, for sure!
“It was maybe a bit of a ‘soft’ break, that’s no disrespect to Andrew and Hamish, both rode very well, Andrew has the experience and Hamish has the enthusiasm, it was a good ride. I think that the feeling in the bunch when they went was; ‘it’s too early.’ But it was a treacherous surface and hard to organise a chase due to the nature of the circuit.
“When I saw Arthur get the gap, I knew that if I got up to him, then he’d work with me and we’d have a good chance of staying away – that’s how it worked-out. I have to go now; I’m playing golf at 3.30!”