It’s two years since Jim Cusick first tipped VeloVeritas off on the fact that there was a top jumps jockey riding bike races in Scotland.
Wilson Renwick (RT 23) was the man and in the recent Tour of the Meldons the 37 year-old originally from Hawick but now based in the Highlands won his first Scottish title, the ‘Olympic Time Trial.’
It was his first Scottish medal in only his third Scottish Championship ride; previously he had ridden the ’10’ champs at Bishopton and also contested the ‘Olympic’ TT on one previous occasion.
We caught up with him a few days after his wining Borders ride…
Congratulations, Wilson – you picked a tough one to take your first title in, sir.
“Yes but I like the course, so much more to it than grinding up and down a dual carriageway for 25 miles.
“You have to think about how you’re going to dose your effort, it’s not just a sustained ride at one level.
“I didn’t feel great at the start and it was quite cool, six or seven degrees.
“I rode the first climb hard but then there were eight or 10 miles into a cross/head wind and that was really difficult.
“Some of the road surfaces are a bit rough; in fact I think the best surfaces were over the Meldons.”
A single chain ring for the Meldons?
“Yes, I was on 54 x 11 to 32 and had no problems with that – those Aqua Blue Pro Continental guys are on it too and don’t seem to be doing too badly.”
Are you still ‘full time’ on the bike?
“Not this year, I was last year when I was with Velo Schils Interbike and we rode a lot of races overseas with Peter Murdoch and Bradley Stokes.
“We competed in Spain, Rhodes, Martinique, Senegal and French Guyane – I was top 20 on final GC in both of the latter races.
“Guyane was nine days with every day really aggressive, like a series of nine one day races.
“There’s a good race scene out there with 10 semi-pro teams.
“There’s good sponsorship too, the Martinique race was backed by Orange.
“I also rode the Premier Calendar races in England – they’re hard races but I was getting round.
“I enjoyed the overseas racing best though, particularly Guyane, that was my highlight.
“This year though, the Scottish calendar doesn’t justify being full time, I’m working in my wife’s family’s business up near Inverness – the roads are nice and there’s always the Turbo for when it snows!”
You’re with RT 23, this year?
“I wanted a local team; I did a bit on the track with them at Glasgow – Kyle Gordon and John Archibald [now with Team KFG. ed.] and did the British Track Nationals with them.
“They suggested that I come and ride with them – we’re going to have a strong line up for the team trial championships, this year.”
How has the road gone for you this season, so far?
“I was 14th at Gifford and seventh in The Drummond Trophy but I messed the sprint up there.
“There’s not really a lot going on road-wise in Scotland; a couple in May and apart from that it’ll be time trials – but I prefer the road.
“But I’m looking forward to the Hugh Dornan Memorial at Garelochhead on May 21st – that should be a good race.
“I’m going to get in touch with guys I know in Belgium and see if I can get some racing out there.”
Will you be going down to the British Nationals, they’re not so far from Hawick his year.
“Yes, they’re pretty close to where my parents stay.
“I’ve done the Beaumont Trophy Race before so know the course; it’s pretty tough – and it’ll be a hard time trial with hardly any flat.”
Are you still coached by Iain Grant?
“He’s a good guy, he keeps me in the game, talks me round when I consider quitting.
“The training is all power-based; it seems to be working, I can chart my progress, especially in time trials.”
And what about that last big injury you sustained with the horse racing?
“My left arm is still not right and I still have weakness in it, but it could have been worse.”
Do you miss the horses?
“Not really – but I miss the money!
“If I didn’t have the bike I would miss it more, I think.
“It was a job.
“The trouble was that I’d be starting to go well on the bike and then you’d have a fall over the jumps and be back to square one.”
What’s the rest of the season about?
“I’ve not set any targets.
“Mark McKay reckoned I was going OK on the track so I’ll ride the Nationals but need to set a target to aim at.
“The Scottish Road race Championship is another race I’d like to do well in – but I’ve not sat down and studied the course yet so I don’t know it will suit me.
[The National Road Race is at Cromarty on the Black Isle August 19th ed.]
“As I said earlier, I’m hoping to get some Belgian races organised, that’s always good racing.”
VeloVeritas wishes Wilson ‘all the best’ for the rest of the season – Martinique? sounds good to us…