Last weekend saw the Duncan Macgregor Memorial road race take place in Fife. The race almost didn’t happen, so we thought we’d ask organiser, Callum Macgregor what the story was.
We believe you had last gasp organisational hassles, Callum?
“Yes, there were real problems on the Friday afternoon before the race.
“I realised I had forgotten to put the request for Police permission in on time and when I spoke to the officer who deals with this they were adamant that the races could not go ahead.
“My heart sank and I imagined trying to inform all riders and officials whilst packing a bag so that I could leave the country.
“I tried to contact the Chief Constable Norma Graham and spoke her PA and after a worrying three hour wait Inspector Sinclair called me back to say it was all sorted; which was a huge relief.
“Given that I had made the mistake the Police were really fantastic in sorting out the three cars, motorcyclist and officers at three junctions on the course at such short notice. I owe them a big thank you. The other big problem is getting enough cars, drivers and marshals.
“The commisaires now need a car and a driver with a BC licence which adds to the problems. “
Is it getting more and more complex to organise races?
“For sure, the paperwork seems to increase every year, although it might just be that you become more aware of all the forms and the implications of not getting everything sorted and in on time as I nearly found out.”
How many cars and people did you need?
“Four cars for the commisaires (two for each race), four lead cars (two for each), four service vehicles, first aider, 12 marshals, photo finish people, two people for the sign on, tea and cakes folk – makes for a lot of helpers.
“Most people are into cycling to ride the bike and it’s not always easy to get them to give up a Sunday to help at a race.
“Running two races that are on the road at the same time adds to the difficulties but when you are asking friends and work colleagues to give up a large part of their day to marshal it’s better that the B race is completed within the time the A race is on the road rather than having Marshal’s out for a two hour race then a three hour + race.”
Why the big circuit ? not better taking it to the ‘people’ more frequently?
“It would be good to take in more towns but the response from the public in Fife is not overwhelmingly positive and judging from the comments from passing motorists they would be happier if it was in the back of beyond if it has to be on at all.
“I had thought of taking the race on a big loop through the villages of north east Fife but that means a couple of right turns on busy roads and more marshals and the Police were not that happy with the idea. There is no obvious answer as to where the race should go to bring it to the people, anyone with any ideas can let me know.
“I am thinking of changing the circuit for next year to reduce the volume of traffic the riders encounter and to reduce the number of Marshals needed which probably means more rural and the riders will struggle to find it never mind the general public.”
How was the weather?
“Fantastic and it seemed a perfect day for racing if you had the legs for it, not sure if that was part of the deal the police arranged last minute.”
Prize list and how put together?
“SC set the prizes for each race but I try to up the prizes for the A race as the guys are the best and £50 for the win is not enough for a top class race.
“I usually tap guys like Andrew Davies at TheBicycleWorks for prizes as well as the local bike shops, Leslie Bike Shop, Spokes and Sandy Wallace cycles but this year I ran out of time despite some kind offers, sorry guys but I’ll be back next year.”
Advice to organisers?
“Get a good team and make use of all the guys that have been there and done that. Guys in Fife like Sandy Glover and Bill Dunscombe have a huge amount of experience and are quietly willing to assist and guide when asked.
“Don’t be afraid to ask local Bike shops to help out most will come through for you. And make use of Scottish Cycling who will solve a multitude of problems (thanks Ruth and Ross).”
We believe you make a charitable donation from the race?
“The race covers it’s costs and the money from the tea and cakes donations goes to Cancer Research which is usually about £150.”
Endura, six out of first ten – how did that pan out?
“The split like in many Scottish races happened on the first lap and then it was race on ’til it blew apart on the last lap. James McCallum was away with one of the Wheelers at the start of the final lap when they passed me and they had a reasonable gap.
“I was surprised to hear they had come back together and I’m not sure if that was because Endura wanted more guys at the very front or Mathew Kipling and Aly Robinson closed it down, which would have been a good effort.”
Endura v. the amateurs – a good or bad thing?
“The Endura guys clearly have bigger ambitions and racing against scottish amateurs is not the best of preparation but they do want and need to race and they can’t all get in to Premiers and I’m not sure what their budget would be like to travel every weekend.
“I think if they have a mandatory 40 mile minimum pre-race warm up for Endura (Evan and James McCallum had pedalled over from Edinburgh so had at least that in their legs) it might give the amateurs a better chance!”
Who was ‘best of the rest?’
“Mathew Kipling is going well and managed to split them (Endura)and the Dooleys guys were competitive and having a go.
“Aly Robinson was the only other guy who was in the mix and seems to be going very well after a winter in Spain.”
Any young riders show well?
“They all seem young to me now!”
How did the ‘B’ race go?
“Good, Callum Gough showed them how to win a race and looked the part coming over the line.
“The racing was good and there were no major crashes.”
Worth the effort?
“When the hassle is on it seems a pain, but on the day it’s great to see and having turned up and ridden so many races without any thought really for the effort that goes in to it’s nice to put something back and my Dad would have enjoyed watching the guys going at it.”
You do realise that despite a Fife address and club – you’ll never be a Fifer?
“Aye, I am reminded of that regularly!”
Just pulling your leg, Callum – many thanks.
* * *
1: Callum Wilkinson – Endura Racing
2: Gary Hand – Endura Racing
3: Evan Oliphant – Endura Racing
4: Ross Creber – Endura Racing
5: Matthew Kipling – MTS Cyclesport/ Inkland RT
6: David Lines – Endura Racing
7: Dougie Young – Glasgow Wheelers
8: David Smith – Glasgow Wheelers
9: Alistair Robinson – Leslie Bike Shop / Right Move Windows
10: James McCallum – Endura Racing
1: Callum Gough – Onimpex RT
2: Gerald Grant – Falkirk BC
3: Keith Laird – Glasgow Couriers / DB Developments
4: Derek Martin – Perth United CC
5: Brendan Roe – Team Leslie Bikshop / Right Move Windows
6: Martin Ferry – Scotia CC
7: Craig Dale – Edinburgh University Triathlon
8: Jamie Maxwell – Edinburgh University Cycling Club
9: Ian Wallace – Edinburgh RC
10: Terence McMahon – Glasgow Ivy CC