Scottish Cycling Super Six series; Snowdrops by the roadside, fluffy white clouds scurrying across a blue sky, bright sunshine requiring the Ray Bans to get dusted-off, and a breeze that was fresh but not chilling — has Spring arrived in Gifford on this February Sunday?

Nah! It’ll be snowing, tomorrow!

Still, it was a lovely day to recce the course for the first of James McCallum’s ‘Super Six’ series; the timing was perfect, organiser Chris Harney pulled-on the brakes of his Orbea outside Gifford town hall, just as I stopped the Toyota beside the village green.

Ah, snowdrops.
Ah, snowdrops.

Gifford is the perfect spot for a bike race, historic and quaint, with the Goblin Ha’ Hotel providing a great race HQ and there’s plenty of space for the catering marquee on the green — not to mention quiet, scenic roads all around.

Race Organiser Chris Harney.
Race Organiser Chris Harney.
The majestic Gifford Town Hall.
The majestic Gifford Town Hall.

Chris tried me out by attempting to take the back wheel out of the Orbea with the chain in the big sprocket, I spotted it though, plonked it into the eleven, popped the wheels out and had the Orbea in the back of the Toyota in a jiff as Chris squeezed his tall frame into the front seat and we were off.

Chris is an Aussie, like Velo Ecosse’s Paul Rowney, and also like Paul, it was the love of a Scottish girl that brought him to Bonnie Scotland — maybe I should go to Australia to get a woman, I keep ending-up in the divorce court here! Anyway…

First drag on a testing little circuit.
First drag on a testing little circuit.

The start is at the top of the drag on the B6369 out of the village at Gifford Vale – take a left at the beautiful old church – the race will be neutralised on the first ascent, but not the next seven, by which time it will feel steeper than it looks, no doubt.

Initially the quiet road through Slateford and Brounshill rolls straight and gently past trees, pasture land and ploughed fields, with wonderful views across the East Lothian countryside; it’s open, and if the race was in Northern France or Flanders it would all be over about here: a bordure (echelon) would form and just ride off into the cross wind, never to be seen again.

From the car we admire Lennoxlove stately home ahead of us in the distance, and then there’s a quick drop past Colston Mains farm to Cockles, then we go straight on when the road bends right towards Haddington. We’re on a long, flat, fast, tree-lined straight – probably into the wind.

Turning left for Bolton.
Turning left for Bolton.

Past Colston House and turning left on the B6368 through the village of Bolton, the longest drag of the day heads for the skyline through rich farmland, as Chris explained; “None of these drags seem that hard, but on the seventh and eighth laps, particularly if it’s windy, there will be a lot of riders hurting.”

Looking back at one of those schneby climbs, this one just after the village of Bolton.
Looking back at one of those schneby climbs, this one just after the village of Bolton.
Turning right at the top of the climb out of Bolton.
Turning right at the top of the climb out of Bolton.

At the top of the drag the course turns right then undulates more past Upper Bolton, before kicking left again onto the main Gifford road, the B6355; it’s fast but rolling with tough little ‘schnebz’ (this word copyright our editor and photographer for the day, Martin, meaning, ‘sair wee rises’).

Heading for the left turn onto the B6355 past Upper Bolton - the Prime is just around the corner.
Heading for the left turn onto the B6355 past Upper Bolton – the Prime is just around the corner.

There’s a king of the mountains sprint at the highest point of this road at the white cottage, on laps five and seven.

The view from the Prime location - it's mostly downhill for a mile now.
The view from the Prime location – it’s mostly downhill for a mile now.

The run-in to Gifford will be fast and furious, dropping down on the recently resurfaced road into the village.

A very fast run-in to Gifford will be spectacular.
A very fast run-in to Gifford will be spectacular.

The riders will take the racing line through a chicane at the old bridge before lifting through the village, hanging left at the church to finish on the long, gently dropping straight just before the start of the climb which the race starts atop.

The downhill run to the line.
The downhill run to the line.

The course is safe, fast and tough – not super-tough: hard enough for there to be a lot of casualties with gravity and the wind but not hard enough to let the strongmen have their own way.

Talking of strongmen, we asked Chris who he has on the menu; “It’s a full field (80) for both races; from Pedal Power we have Gary Hand, Gordon Murdoch and Paul Coates; Paul Rennie and Graham McGarrity ride for Dooley’s; Paul Rowney and Phil Brown and the Creber brothers are riding — Hamish for Sandy Wallace and Ross for Trek-SIS. The only two big names we’re missing are Stuart McGregor and Raymond Wilson (Dunfermline)”.

Hard to pick a winner there, but my spies tell me that Paul Rowney is causing major problems in the chain gang, “doon the coast!”.

Whilst it’s a new season with fresh ideas and we didn’t want to raise any “negs,” we had to ask about the stories we’d heard that entering for the race had been a tad confusing.

Chris explained; “The entries went to EntryCentral and they took the first 80 received, it’s the first time that they’ve actually had a full field to deal with – in fact there were more entries than places — so those 80 riders all thought that they had a ride, but we had to wait until the closing date so we could select the field on merit. So, some riders who thought they were riding, aren’t. It’s been a bit confusing, but it won’t happen again, hopefully!”

The Goblin Ha' Hotel.
The Goblin Ha’ Hotel.

We liked the fact that Chris has kept the finish within easy walking distance of the village so spectators can sit with their coffee or beer outside the Goblin Ha’ Hotel race HQ (which is open from 08.30), watch the story unfold lap by lap, then amble down to watch the finale.

There’s a free barbecue, that’s right — free, in the Field and Lawn (one of the sponsors) marquee on the village green and there’s even going to be video coverage of the race which will be shown after the finish.

Chris is setting the bar high here for future Super Six organisers; we just hope that the wee Goblin chappie has a word with the weather Gods!

VeloVeritas would like to thank Chris for interrupting his training rain on Sunday to take us round the course — we’ll be there next Saturday of course, to bring you the story of what we expect to be a great race.

Race Information

Race Headquarters
Gifford Village Hall, Gifford, East Lothian.

Course Details
Circuit: 8.2mile/13.2km Start: On B6369 for 3 miles, road veers left at Cockles then continue straight onto unclassified road towards Parkend. At T-junction turn left onto the B6368 and head towards Bolton. Continue on until the junction with the B6355 where riders turn left and head towards Gifford. Once in Gifford, turn left and back onto the B6369. Finish is 600m after left turn in Gifford. The total rise from Parkend to Bolton Muir Wood is 73m over the course of 3.2km. Total rise of one lap is 150m.

Route Profile.
Route Profile.
Gifford Town Centre.
Gifford Town Centre.

Race Officials
Chief Commissaire – David Menzies (‘A’ race) Tom Forbes (‘B’ race)
Commissarie – Christopher Adamson (‘A’ race) Ken Whitson (‘B’ race)
Chief Judge – Gareth George (‘A’ & ‘B’ race)
Photo Finish Judge – Bill Dunscombe (‘A’ & ‘B’ race)
Gear Checker – Neil Muir (‘A’ & ‘B’ race)

Race Organiser
Chris Harney
5 (4F1) Willowbrae Road
Tel. 077 6029 3368
Assistant Organiser – Dominic Hines

Notes for Competitors

  • Competitors must sign-on 20 minutes prior to the commencement of their event. Riders who have not completed sign-on will be withdrawn and reserve riders will be included in the field. This will be strictly enforced.
  • Please remember to bring your 2008 race licence with you. Failure to present a valid race licence will result in a Single Event Licence being required for Race B or a fine being payable for Race A.
  • Junior gears will be checked by Neil Muir. All Juniors must have their gears checked before and after the event.
  • Race numbers must be properly affixed, see diagram below, do not fold numbers. Body numbers must be visible at all times. Frame numbers must be located within the front triangle on the frame or behind the seat-post. Timing chips must be located on the front fork.
  • A team managers meeting will be held 30min before each event. Managers please contact the organiser for location.
  • Both races will be neutralised until Brounshill, 1 mile from Gifford. Race briefing will be held inside the Village Hall 10 minutes before the start of each event, attendance is compulsory. Assembly point for start is in front of the Village Hall. See table below for Road Race Flag definitions.
  • Neutral service will be provided. Service is on the left hand side of the road and riders must stop. A rider should place a hand in the air when safe if service is required. No wheels, no service. Odd numbers front/Even numbers rear. Name on wheel please.
  • Riders who retire must report to the Chief Judge or Photo Finish operator to report a non-finish.
  • Competitors in Race ‘A’ must not use the course for warming up while the ‘B’ race is in progress. Please use the B6355 heading towards Duns. Please be aware of other competitors, officials and public using the circuit.
  • Parking is alongside the Avenue as indicated on the town centre map. Strictly no parking in front of the Village Hall and Main Street.
  • Due to the size of the fields and limited toilets inside the hall, the Goblin Ha’ Hotel toilets are available for competitors and officials. Entry is via the side entrance next to the Village Hall.
  • A free BBQ will be provided for spectators, this will be located at the front of the Field & Lawn Marquee and will commence at 12pm.
  • Presentations and food for the ‘B’ Race will be located in the Field & Lawn Marquee after the commencement of race ‘A’. Presentations for Race ‘A’ will be inside the Goblin Ha’ Hotel in the Function Room out the back. Entrance is from the main street.
  • Reserve riders who entered and paid via Entry Central have been refunded. Should a reserve rider take place in the field they are required to pay :£15 prior to signing on.
Race Number Placement.
Race Number Placement.

‘A’ Race – Start List

1 Ross Crook 2 Edinburgh RC
2 Richard Garrett 3V Edinburgh RC
3 Calum MacLean 3 Edinburgh RC
4 Aidan McIlroy 3 Edinburgh RC
5 Dave Moran 3 Edinburgh RC
6 Ken Russell 3V Edinburgh RC
7 Lawrence Tring 3V Edinburgh RC
8 Lee Whitelaw 3 Edinburgh RC
9 Christopher Johnson 3 Ayr Roads CC / Harry Fairbairn BMW
10 Cassels Stephen 2 CycleSport Dundee RT
11 Mark Jones J Discovery Junior CC
12 Graham McGarrity 1V Dooleys Cycles
13 Paul Rennie 1 Dooleys Cycles
14 Gary Robson 3 Dooleys Cycles
15 Ken Thomson 3V Dunfermline CC
16 Paul McInally 2 ek road club cyclelane
17 Peter Murdoch 3 ek road club cyclelane
18 Stephen Russell 3 ek road club cyclelane
19 Derek Walker 3 ek road club cyclelane
20 Phil Brown E Equipé Velo Ecosse/Montpeliers
21 Silas Goldsworthy 2 Equipé Velo Ecosse/Montpeliers
22 Aaron Murray J Equipé Velo Ecosse/Montpeliers
23 Andrew Nicell 3 Equipé Velo Ecosse/Montpeliers
24 Lewis Oliphant 2 Equipé Velo Ecosse/Montpeliers
25 Paul Rowney E Equipé Velo Ecosse/Montpeliers
26 Martin Coopland 3V Falkirk BC
27 Paul Gallacher 3V Fife Cycling 2000
28 Gordon Brockie 3 Glade CC
29 Barry Crumlish 3 Glasgow Couriers – Bennett Developments C.C.
30 Jim Cusick 2V Glasgow Couriers – Bennett Developments C.C.
31 Euan Pope 2 Glasgow Couriers – Bennett Developments C.C.
32 Ian Sim 3 Glasgow Couriers – Bennett Developments C.C.
33 Chris Smart 2 Glasgow Couriers – Bennett Developments C.C.
34 Alan Thomson 3 Glasgow Couriers – Bennett Developments C.C.
35 Tom Worthington 3V Glasgow Nightingale CC
36 Jamie McQueen 3 Glasgow Wheelers
37 Michael Nicolson 3 Glasgow Wheelers
38 Steve McIntosh 2V Granite City RT
39 Veli-Matti Raikkonen 3 Granite City RT
40 Alister Watt 2V Granite City RT
41 Tim Allan 2 GS Metro
42 Russell Bayliss 3 GS Metro
43 Jon Kelly 2 GS Metro
44 Micky Mallen 2 GS Metro
45 Allan Mill 2 GS Metro
46 Frank Morris 3V GS Metro
47 Stephen Hoey 3V Ivy CC
48 James Daly 3V Johnstone Wheelers
49 Paul McDonald 3V Johnstone Wheelers
50 Andrew Matheson 3V Musselburgh Roads CC
51 Callum Gough 2V onimpex rt bioracer museeuw
52 Kevin Barclay 2 Race Team
53 Paul Coats 1 Race Team
54 Andrew Fish 3 Race Team
55 James Fraser-Moodie 1 Race Team
56 Gary Hand E Race Team
57 David Lines 2 Race Team
58 Scott MaCrae 2 Race Team
59 Gary McCrae 3 Race Team
60 Gordon Murdoch E Race Team
61 Hamish Creber J Sandy Wallace Cycles
62 Rab Wardell 2 Sandy Wallace Cycles
63 Joe Wilson 2 Sandy Wallace Cycles
64 Ross Creber 2 Science in Sport – Trek / Great Britain
65 Magnus Davidson J Squarewheels Cycles
66 Tony Hay 3 Squarewheels Cycles
67 Mark Baugh 3 Stirling Bike Club
68 Calum McLean J Stirling Bike Club
69 Eddie Cowle 3 Striling Bike Club
70 Barry McGurk 3 Team Icarus
71 Graham Mercer 3V Team Icarus
72 Randle Shenton 3V Team Swift
73 Richard Chapman 3
74 Mark Millington 3
75 Calum Wilkinson 2
76 Robert Hassan J Unattached
77 Paul Smith 2 Unattached
78 Jack Woodward 2 Unattached
79 Damien Smith 2 Wheelbase/Gore Bikewear
80 Russell Craig 3 Ythan CC
R Kenneth Armstrong 3 Ayr Roads CC / Harry Fairburn BMW
R Keith Smith 3 Glasgow Wheelers
R Nick Yeats 3V Edinburgh RC
R Peter Lambie 3V Fife Cycling 2000
R Edd Shackley 3V Ivy CC
R Paul Newnham 3 Edinburgh RC
R Graeme Huston 3V Zeus CRT
R Trevor Blackburn 3V East Kilbride Road Club
R Mark Richards 3 East Kilbride Road Club
R Cameron Fisher 3V Glasgow Nightingale CC
R Peter Collins 3 Drummond-Datasafe – Glenmarnock Wheelers
R Colin Bark 3 Glasgow Nightingale CC
R Franco Porco 3V Falkirk BC
R Tony Nugent 3V East Kilbride Road Club
R Colin Russell 3V Edinburgh RC
R Kenny Kentley 3V Equipé Velo Ecosse/Montpeliers
R Darren Howitt 3 Unattached

‘B’ Race – Start List

1 Oliver Young J Edinburgh RC
2 David Vinten J Deeside Thistle CC
3 Kristoffer Aksnes J Glasgow Wheelers
4 Graeme Neagle J Glasgow Wheelers
5 Louis McCusker J Pedal Power Endura RT
6 Niall Johnstone J Stirling Bike Club
7 Douglas Young J Stirling Bike Club
8 Alastair McNicol J Velo Ecosse
9 Rosemary Byde W Edinburgh RC
10 Alison Chisholm W Edinburgh RC
11 Anne Ewing W Edinburgh RC
12 Michelle Jeffrey W Edinburgh RC
13 Christine Ladkin W Edinburgh RC
14 Joanne Merritt W Edinburgh RC
15 Maddy Robinson W Edinburgh RC
16 Claire Thomas W Edinburgh RC
17 Helen Findlay W The Bicycleworks
18 Oliver Brooks V50 Edinburgh RC
19 Michael Houston V50 Edinburgh RC
20 Alex McAllister V50 Ayr Roads CC
21 John Gemmell V50 Ayr Roads CC
22 George Findlater V60 Elgin CC
23 Calum MacNeill V50 Glasgow Nightingale CC
24 Ian Taylor V50 Unattached
25 Kenneth Anderson V60 Hawick CC
26 George McLaughlan V60 Law Wheelers
27 Bob Soutter V50 Peebles CC
28 Alan Hay V50 Stirling Bike Club
29 Archie Johnstone V50 Stirling Bike Club
30 Jocky Johnstone V60 Team Icarus
31 Ian Taylor V50 Unattached
32 Georges Avraam 4 Edinburgh RC
33 Timothy Blathwayt 4 Edinburgh RC
34 Ian Darnell 4 Edinburgh RC
35 Brynley Davies 4 Edinburgh RC
36 Thomas Dyson 4 Edinburgh RC
37 Alasdair Easton 4 Edinburgh RC
38 Mark Finlay 4 Edinburgh RC
39 Colin May 4 Edinburgh RC
40 Scott McDiarmid 4 Edinburgh RC
41 Gavin Mooney 4 Edinburgh RC
42 Patrick Jean-Pierre Roux 4 Edinburgh RC
43 Ross Spence 4 Edinburgh RC
44 Cameron Stewart 4 Edinburgh RC
45 Greig Walker 4 Edinburgh RC
46 John Williams 4 Edinburgh RC
47 Ross Clark 4 Deeside Thistle CC
48 Duncan Warick 4 Deeside Thistle CC
49 Neil Pearson 4 Dumfries CC
50 Lee Anderson 4 East Kilbride Road Club
51 Steven Robertson 4 East Kilbride Road Club
52 Graeme Small 4 East Kilbride Road Club
53 James Mcpake 4 Falkirk BC
54 David Muir 4 Fife cycling 2000
55 John Anderson 4 Glasgow Couriers – Bennett Developments C.C.
56 Robert Kennedy 4 Glasgow Nightingale CC
57 Malcolm Paterson 4 Glasgow Nightingale CC
58 Arvid Haubold 4 Johnstone Wheelers
59 Colin Howard 4 Johnstone Wheelers
60 Frank Kennedy 4 Johnstone Wheelers
61 Alan McLean 4 Johnstone Wheelers
62 Duncan Thomson 4 Johnstone Wheelers
63 Andy Strathdee 4 Nevis Cycles Racing Team
64 Ben Thompson 4 Nevis Cycles Racing Team
65 Greg Byron 4 pedal Race Team
66 Andrew Douglas 4 pedal Race Team
67 Oliver Fox 4 pedal Race Team
68 Niall Aitken 4 pedal Race Team
69 Dave Henderson 4 Race Team
70 Andrew Brierley 4 Spokes RT
71 Edward Addis 4 Stirling Bike Club
72 Mark Ainsworth 4 Stirling Bike Club
73 Kieran McCluskey 4 Team Icarus
74 Stevie Crowther 4 team leslie bike shop right move windows
75 Douglas Shearer 4 Team Macchiato
76 Martin Booth 4 Unattached
77 Scot Bullivant 4 Unattached
78 Paul French 4 Unattached
79 Ian Wilcox 4 Unattached
80 Sadiq Mir 4 West Lothian Clarion
R Gavin Park 4 Unattached
R Tom McInnes 4 Spokes RT
R Aidan Farrow 4 Edinburgh RC
R Gary MacFarlane 4 pedal Race Team
R Barry Cranstoun 4 East Kilbride Road Club
R Barry Duncan 4 Edinburgh RC
R Guto Williams 4 East Kilbride Road Club
R John Owen 4 Race Team
R Andrew Martin 4 Unattached
R Alastair Scott-Kiddie 4 Deeside Thistle CC
R Brian Hamilton 4 Race Team
R Chris Whittle 4 Deeside Thistle
R Angus Thomson 4 Edinburgh RC
R Tom Ward 4 Edinburgh RC
R Rob Armstrong 4 Deeside Thistle CC
R Murray Darling 4 Edinburgh RC
R Eric Easton 4 Edinburgh RC
R Karl Mott 4 The Bicycle Works
R Peter Simpson 4 Berwick Wheelers CC
R Alex Hale 4 Edinburgh RC
R Mark Nixon 4 Edinburgh RC