Ross Creber delivered the win for the dominating Endura Race Team in the 44th edition of the David Bell Memorial Road Race. Team mate and reigning Scottish Road Champion, Evan Oliphant took 2nd, narrowly edging out visiting James Sampson of the Candi TV — Marshall’s Pasta team.

– Reported by Christopher Johnson –

David Bell Memorial Road Race
Ross Creber was the victor from a surviving group of six after a war of attrition across 70 miles of South Ayrshire’s finest hill roads.

The 44th Edition of the Ayr Roads CC / Harry Fairbairn BMW promotion was one marked by constant attacks for the duration of the event. From the outset the elite Endura team were on the offensive, sending last years victor Gary Hand to the front immediately after the flag was dropped.

David Bell Memorial Road Race
Gary Hand performed team duties today.

Hand later explained the tactics of wanting to put pressure on the Rapha Condor and Candi-TV riders to force them into chasing. Alongside team duties, Hand also showed his strength in the hills, winning the Nic O the Balloch Ayrshire Post Hill Prime ahead of Ben Greenwood. Approaching the end of the first lap Evan Oliphant demonstrated the speed he has acquired from racing city centre criteriums twice a week, winning the Straiton sprint ahead of James Sampson.

David Bell Memorial Road Race
Ben Greenwood.

It was Rapha Condor’s Ben Greenwood who really set the race alight on the second lap, launching off the front in the hills and gaining over 40 second lead.

Meanwhile there were further heroics further down the pack when North East Road Champion Colin Humphrey (Sportscover RT) fought back into the pack after an ill-timed puncture on the Screws before launching a brilliant counterattack into no mans land.  After the 2nd climb of the Nic O the Balloch, the Endura team quickly organised the chase after Greenwood, setting up a five man chase along with James Sampson to reel him in.

Both Evan Oliphant and Ross Creber acknowledged afterwards that Ben Greenwood was by far the strongest on the climbs, so Endura relied on strength in numbers to pull him back when the gradient eased off. Team tactics played out brilliantly and in the run into the line the only question that remained was which of the Endura boys would cross the line first. James Sampson put in a spirited chase, but it was young Ross Creber who emerged victorious.

Recently transferred from the struggling Plowman Craven squad, Ross Creber said;

“It was hard, but I’m delighted to have taken my first win for my new team.

“This gives me real confidence ahead of next weeks Under23 British Championships.”

Runner up Evan Oliphant was full of praise for younger teammate Creber, and also commented on the difficulty of the course.

“My average power output today was more than 30 watts higher than in the Premier Calendar, there I can usually sit in!”.

Oliphant added he was glad to be racing back in Scotland, but was extremely fatigued due to the travelling, having already raced two criteriums and a Premier Calendar event in the last weeks.

Ever the professional. defending champion Gary Hand was delighted with the days result for his team, and praised the organisers for another excellent event.

Meanwhile the winner of the David Bell Trophy for the first finisher from the host club was former professional Kilmarnock Football Club player, Mark Skilling, who commented;

“That was the hardest thing I’ve ever done – ten times harder than football!”

The David Bell Memorial is run in honour of David E.T Bell, better known locally as the Highwayman, and whose weekly cycling column in the local paper, The Ayrshire Post reached a much wider audience than sporting enthusiasts. 2009 also marks the 20th anniversary of club support from Harry Fairbairn BMW. Alongside event sponsor John Gemmell Coachworks, Fairbairns provided a generous prize fund which attracted a quality field.

Result

1. Ross Creber (Endura RT) 3hrs 3min 50
2. Evan Oliphant (Endura RT)
3. James Sampson (Candi TV — Marshals Pasta)
4. Ben Greenwood (Rapha-Condor)
5. Calum Wilkinson (Endura RT)
6. David Cook (Altura RT)
7. Scott MacRae (Endura RT)
8. Gary Hand (Endura RT)
9. Colin Humphrey (Sportscover)
10. Ian Taylor (NFM Racing)

Straiton Sprint

1. Evan Oliphant (Endura RT)
2. James Sampson (Candi TV Marshalls Pasta)
3. Jack Woodward (Bicycle Works)

Nick O Balloch Prime

1. Gary Hand (Endura Racing)
2. Ben Greenwood (Rapha Condor)
3. Jack Woodward (Bicycle Works)

Support Race

1. Cieran Docherty (East Kilbride Road Club)