A beautiful day greeted the 53 riders who took the start of The Drummond Trophy, the 56th sponsored edition. In glorious sunshine the race rolled out of the small town of Strathaven, situated in the heart of the Avon Valley, Scotland.
The rugged course incorporated a large loop of about 45 miles in length, and three smaller loops covering close to 15 miles.
– Reported by Owen Jeffries –
Racing began in the early miles as the top guys tried to establish their dominance on the race, a split coming just before the first long climb of the day at the 20 mile mark.
Under the pressure of the 2.5 mile climb, the front break split in two with 3 riders including Velo Ecosse’s Lewis Oliphant, coming back to the bunch.
An unsuccessful bridging attempt by Graham Obree was also nullified. Obree, uniquely innovative as ever, rode a self constructed bicycle frame specked with an over extended top tube positioning his body in a moderate superman-like position, similar to that which shot him to fame as the world hour record holder in the mid 90’s.
Six riders remained in front (Kopp, Wilson, Ward, Rennie, Hand and Brown) that would fight out the rest of the race leaving the strong men remaining in the bunch to scavenge the crumbs from the top table.
With the Professional’s Paris-Roubaix road race over northern France’s terrifying cobbled pavé sections (run on the same day) in mind, the riders took a sharp left off the main road and onto a pavé-like section, with all the ingredients – narrow, twisty, dusty, potholed and sprinkled with gravel on every corner.
The bunch was not making any progress as the break drove through the crucial minute mark. It became a dogfight as groups chased the break, attacking and surrendering repetitively until entering the smaller circuit ,where a small group forced itself from the bunch under the driving power and narration of recent Tour of the North stage winner, Gordon Murdoch (East Kilbride RC).
Up front, the break worked solidly extending the lead to over five minutes by the end of the race. Behind the lead, the chasing group split again under the pressure of Murdoch and Paul Coats (Squadra via Mazzini), whose attacking riding awarded him ‘most aggressive rider’ at the end of the race.
The break worked steadily together even managing to stay together over the final accent up the steep 20% gradient hill that lay about 8 miles from the finish line.
Daylight opened when Phil Brown and Jonathon Copp slipped off the front holding a tentative lead over their breakaway companions.
Driving hard on the front was Ray Wilson who couldn’t pull them back, at which point Gary Hand and Paul Rennie jumped across, Copp being dropped as the pressure went down again.
In the finish, Phil Brown jumped early with 500 metres to go, letting adrenaline dictate his final position and effectively leading out the sprint with Paul Rennie (Edge Racing) the fastest man of the day, taking the sprint and a well deserved win (his 3rd Drummond win in total) ahead of Gary Hand (KFS special).
Family man Phil Brown, best Scot in the recent Girvan Stage Race finishing 19th overall, took an excellent 3rd and carried the kids onto the stage with him in the presentation hall.
Once again thanks go to the Drummond family, who supported the race by putting up a prize list which totaled over £10,000, attracting a top quality field of riders from all over Scotland, to provide a day of great aggressive racing.
The Drummond Trophy Result
1. Paul Rennie (Edge Racing) in 3 hrs 15 mins
2. Gary Hand (KFS Special) s.t.
3. Phil Brown (Velo Ecosse) s.t.
4. Stephen Ward (VC Azzurri) at 10″
5. Ray Wilson (Dunfermline CC) s.t.
6. Jonathan Copp (Dundee Thistle CC) s.t.
7. Gordon Murdoch (East Kilbride RC) at 5’48”
8. Paul Coats (Squadra via Mazzini) s.t. (Most Aggressive Rider)
9. Alistair Watt (Granite City RC) s.t.
10. Cameron Wood (Bicycle Works) at 8’23”
11. Calum McGregor (Bicycle Works) s.t.
12. Brian Pool (Andersons) s.t.
13. Danny McShane (Omagh Wheelers) s.t.
14. Owen Jeffries (Velo Ecosse) s.t.
15. Stuart McGregor (Velo Ecosse) at 9’34”
16. Calum Wilkinson (Pedal Power RT) at 9’42”
17. Chris Mather (VC Azzurri) at 9’56”
18. Michael Mallen (GS Metro) s.t.
19. Donald Scally (Glasgow Couriers) s.t.
20. Ewan Pope (Rock Hard Racing) s.t.