Paul Coats (Squadra Via Mazzini Racetool) showed that he had the legs to match his cool suntan with a fine win in Sunday’s David Campbell Memorial race over 80 cold and hilly miles around Fife’s Cults Hills.
Second was Phil Brown who was the only one to respond to Coats’ attack on the final ascent of Cadgers Brae but couldn’t match the man in Persil white when it came to the finishing straight.
Brown, third in the Drummond Memorial and best Scot at Girvan must be due for the big win soon. Third was southern raider, Colin Ash (Andersons Racing) who was best of the survivors of the group which Coats and Brown bolted from.
There were 42 riders on the sheet as the riders headed east into a cold easterly which whipped-in from the North Sea.
At the top of the first ascent of former hill climb venue, Cadgers Brae, it was Coats nailing his colours to the mast as he took the prime.
Unusually for a Scottish race, the winning break had not established itself by the end of the first lap and approaching Craigrothie for the second time a group of four, including Rosneath winner, Gordon Murdoch ((East Kilbride CC) was trying to go clear.
By Porters Brae (which comes some two miles after the ascent of Cadgers), on lap two it was Coats again taking the prime from Ray Wilson (Dunfermline CC) and eight others.
The damage was done now and the next group was a minute-plus down.
A lap later, on Cadgers Brae and the race was between ten men — Ash, Coats, Brown, Murdoch, Wilson, Callum Wilkinson (Pedal Power RT), Jonathan Copp (Deeside Thistle), Paul Rennie and Jim Murdoch (Edge RT) plus Ian Sim (Glasgow Couriers).
The gap to the nearest group of chasers was 2-20 by now and there were riders scattered all over central Fife as the wind, cold, hills and distance took their toll.
At Hill of Tarvit for the last time the ten were working smoothly and the gap was 2-36. On the old Fife ten mile TT course, Ray Wilson’s bid for a home-club win in Fife’s biggest race came to an end as the Irishman’s transmission disintegrated.
After the last climb of Cadgers – where Coats race-winning move came – the race turned right to the finish circuit which has to be tackled twice, including the grinding Langside climb.
By the top, Coats and Brown were well clear of five chasers with the race behind now completely fragmented.
With one lap to go the two were over a minute clear of the five chasers — Wilkinson, Gordon Murdoch, Jim Murdoch, Copp and Ash.
It was Coats who was quickest up the straight and Englishman Ash who needed the petrol money most – taking the sprint for third place from versatile Jonathan Copp with Murdochs Gordon and Jim fifth and sixth respectively.
Paul Coats was understandably delighted with his win;
“I attacked last time up Cadgers and when I saw Phil had come with me I knew we had a good chance — he’s a hard-working, honest rider and the two of us just drove after that. It’s a pity Ray (Wilson) had the problems he did, I think he might have been with us otherwise.”
His best result this year?
“Girvan wasn’t so good for me; I had a cold on the last day and I punctured in the Drummond, so I’m well-pleased with today.”
And where has the good form come from?
“Four weeks of hard training — hill repeats on the Crow Road!”
What are the next goals?
“The team I ride for specialises in Sportifs, I have one coming-up in the Vosges and then it will be the Scottish road champs — to win that would be a dream come true.”
Phil Brown wasn’t too disappointed with second;
“I was able to go with Paul on Cadgers but I’m just missing that last wee bit; the form has been good ever since Girvan — that’s why I ride there, it’s not as if you are going to win but I usually come out of in good condition.
“The Sam Robinson is next-up and I’m looking forward to that.”
Former Scottish hill climb champion ‘Baz’ Carnegie was on hand to commiserate with Brown and remind him that he had won the event back in the 60’s — we believe you, Barry.
And just as we all set-off for home — the sun came out!