“I hit ’em hard!” was how Pete Williams (Pinarello/Candi TV/ Marshalls Pasta) explained his race winning move in Sunday’s 54th Drummond Trophy, held in bright sunshine on the sinuous back roads west of Eaglesham and the M77.
With a new Scottish sponsor’s name on their jerseys (Marshalls) and the commanding figure of team boss Phil Griffiths there in the flesh, there was never any doubt that Pinarello were going to win.
Although Evan Oliphant might dispute that – but his disqualification for “dissent” means he’ll have to wait another year to get his name on the trophy.
The man himself – Norrie Drummond – was looking tanned and dapper at the start; happy to have the mighty Pinarello squadra on the patch.
In a controversial move, VeloVeritas decided to cover the race by bicycle and after we’d upset some of the locals by not sharing the Oppy caps Phil Griffiths tossed us from the car during the neutralised section, it was time to park up, get the bikes out and pedal.
The ‘old’ A77 was in benign mood as we rolled the big rings south towards the right hander where the race emerged from the ‘wilds.’
In Belgian amateur, ‘training on the circuit style,’ we were going against the race route; all the hard bits for us would be fast in the race – and vice versa.
We were around one mile in from the A77 when the lead car appeared for the first time. Gregor had dropped me on the long drag and I was deep in oxygen debt as I fumbled the Nikon from my bag.
Pinarello had three up the road with a Plowman and a Condor – Pete Williams was already active, trying to bridge across, as was Ross Creber (Plowman Craven).
I dropped Gregor on the technical, gnarly descent but made the mistake of waiting for him – he jumped me, and by the time we got to the reservoir at the circuit’s highest point, I was well dropped. (Gregor has always been jealous of my 80’s hill climb team medal.)
Up there, on the moors it was Evan Oliphant at front of a break of half-a-dozen, with Pinarellos on the way across – but it didn’t look like it was going to ‘stick.’
The small gentleman with the De Rosa we encountered up there turned out to be Jackie Connor, former book maker, car sales proprietor, racing cyclist and sponsor of the once mighty Regent CC.
Jackie organised the inaugural ‘Drummond’ back in 1956; first prize was a bike and :£100 – an astronomic sum, back then. For 12th place, the prize was a set of Campag gears; the race was the biggest one day race in Britain at the time.
Much as we’d liked to have spent the afternoon chatting to this remarkably sprightly 86 year-old (according to Norrie Drummond) we had a race to cover.
My superior descending skills took me away from Gregor again, but a puncture for him meant I had to ride all the way back up the damn climb to see where he’d gone.
Traffic was busy at the Clarkston junction for the A77 and just as I wheezed into the corner, the break appeared – I couldn’t reach the camera in time, but Evan was again at the head of affairs with three Pinarellos, an Endura and a Rapha. African road race champion, Dan Craven (Namibia & Rapha) was on his way across, but again, none of this looked like it was the real deal.
On to the Clarkston 10 course and it was tough, as we headed south into the wind, towards the car, which was parked just short of the ten turn. The last time I was on this road was two years ago, when Jason MacIntyre gave us another demonstration of style and speed to win the Scottish championship by the best part of two minutes.
One lap of the circuit was all we’d managed; but that was enough for me, today – we had thought we’d manage two, but the wind, hills, chat and puncture kept our feet on the ground.
Our fourth look at the race was from the lay-by at the end of the Eaglesham Moor road.
A fresh break of five was clear – Dawson (Team Sportscover), Janssen (Plowman Craven), Greenwood (Rapha) and inevitably, two Pinarello/Marshall’s: eventual winner, Williams and Sampson.
Two minutes behind, the Dooleys duo of Stuart McGregor and Michael Nicholson were practicising their two-up skills around 15 seconds ahead of the bunch.
Motor powered this time, we headed off the wrong way round the circuit for our look at the last lap.
We stopped on the climb to the reservoir – the break was still clear, the Dooleys were still chasing and so too were Phil Brown and a Kinesis; but riders were exploding off the front of the bunch.
The dregs from a discarded bottle warded off the dehydration pangs I was suffering and it was time to find the finish, up on Eaglesham Moor.
With the sun splitting the sky, it was Pete Williams whose arms went high, followed by team mate and Worlds top 50 finisher, Russ Downing a handful of seconds later.
Third was Dan Craven and fourth was best ‘Yorkshire Scotsman’ Alister Kay (York Cycleworks); with the first four all giving the judges plenty of time.
Pete Williams is a man on form; Girvan should have gone his way but for a penalty for ‘illegal feeding’ – I thought this could only happen at the zoo, but apparently not.
“I was in the first proper move of the day and then in the winning break. I was getting instructions from Phil (Griffiths) over the radio and on the last lap he told me that Malcolm Elliott and Russ Downing were on their way across and I should wait for them.
“As soon as they made contact, I attacked – I hit ’em hard and got the gap. Only Dan Craven could come with me but I attacked him on a sticky bit with 10 K to go.
“We’ve got a new Scottish sponsor, Marshalls and the only result that would do today was for us to win. I wanted to put the disappointment of Girvan behind me today – and I’ve done that!”
Russ Downing enjoyed his day;
“They were good racing roads, the sun was out – great! Me and Malcolm smashed it to get across to the break on the last lap – we wanted as many up front as possible. Pete jumped when it came together and only Craven responded.
“Once Pete was away, I jumped across to Craven and dropped him on the run in. It was well worth getting into the car for this – an 85 mile race plus the neutralised sections, it’s a good day’s work.
“Next week it’s the Rutland; you need good luck for that – but Malc likes it and he’s always well ‘up’ for it.”
Dan Craven was happy with third;
“Benjy (Ben Greenwood) was in the break all day but we only had four riders here so I had to ride a bit of a negative race – something that I don’t like doing – covering moves and sitting in the wheels.
“I wasn’t feeling too good but I got across to the break and when Pete went, I was able to respond. When we got away, I started to cramp, so I was just rolling through. He attacked me before the big road (A77) and I had to let him go.
“Russ came up and I explained that I was cramping and couldn’t drive. He left me on the run in, but I’m happy to have held on for third.
“It was good to see Benjy back riding well today – he’s been struggling with illness and injury, but he’s found form again.”
Last word to Evan, at the prize giving;
“I was in the break; there was a bad crash behind in the bunch and they stopped the race to let the ambulance get through.
“Just before we were pulled over, I punctured, I changed the wheel during the stop and when the race restarted, I went to roll away with the break, but the: commissaire said that I hadn’t been in the break because of my puncture.
“I just shook my head, that’s when he disqualified me! I would have won this today, that’s my watch Pete’s just been presented with!”
Must make a note; ‘tenner on Evan for Drummond, 2010’ – what’s the odds, Norrie?
87mls in 3hrs 25min
1. Pete Williams, Candi TV — Marshalls – Pinerello
2. Russell Downing, Candi TV — Marshalls – Pinerello
3. Dan Craven, Rapha Condor
4. Alister Kay, Yorks Cycle Works
5. Kevin Dawson, Team Sportscover/JE James Cycles/Spiuk
6. Malcolm Eliott, Candi TV — Marshalls – Pinerello
7. Matt Kipling, Kinesis
8. Jereon Janssen Plowman Craven — Madison
9. Ben Greenwood, Rapha Condor
10. Ross Creber, Plowman Craven — Madison
11. James Sampson, Candi TV — Marshalls – Pinerello
12. Bryan Pool, Andersons Racing
13. R Kipling , Kinesis
14. Jon Mosely, Plowman Craven — Madison
15. Graham Briggs, Rapha Condor