John Kermode did what VeloVeritas expected him to, at sunny but windy Alford on Sunday afternoon and successfully defended his Scottish veterans road race title; as the football commentators say; ‘it was déja vu all over again’ as he beat the same man he did 12 months ago in the same race, on the same course — Dooley’s Graeme McGarrity.
Stevie Macintosh from the Granite City took bronze, with his club mate Al Watt in fourth spot.
VeloVeritas couldn’t make it to Alford, but under strict instructions from Isobel Smith not to ignore her race, we enlisted Scottish 100 champion, Jim Cusick to do our race reporting for us from the heart of the peloton;
“Lap one started pretty sedately but I put a bit of a ‘dig’ in going up the big climb – that split it a bit; there was a re-groupment and going in to lap two there were around 16 of us left.
“On the climb on lap two, Martin Coopland from Falkirk attacked and took away John (Kermode), Graham (McGarrity) and two guys from the Granite City — Stevie Macintosh and Alistair Watt.
“My legs were still a bit dead from the TTT, but I thought we’d get them back — we had a strong group, with the likes of Andy Mathieson (Musselburgh) and Stuart McGregor (Velo Ecosse) still there.
“But apparently they worked really well together and we just couldn’t get them back. I think Graham led it out, but John got round him — he was pretty much the favourite and he’s a fast finisher, so it wasn’t a surprise.”
John Kermode was understandably delighted to have won again;
“I was away in a move of nine on the first lap, but it came back, then on the second lap, Martin Coopland went up the climb like a rocket.
“Me, Graeme and the two Granite City lads got with him and we all worked really well, there was hardly any missing of spells and I think we took it to a couple of minutes.
“The last two or three miles there was a bit of cat and mouse and with the strong headwind I started to worry about the bunch coming back up to us.
“Martin Coopland put in a couple of digs in the last few miles and those were really painful to close down. Graeme jumped first, just before me, at the yellow flag, but I managed to get round him again, just before the line. But like I said, delighted!”
Graeme McGarrity was philosophical in defeat;
“I did everything right today and I actually thought I was going to get it, but John got round me just 10 metres from the line.
“That’s my third consecutive second place in the Vets, so I’m a bit pee-ed off! It was a hard race today with the wind and Martin just ripped up that climb to cause the split.
“I rode a cagey race today, I could see John was nervous and I was letting him close down the jumps that were coming at the end — I knew that they weren’t going anywhere, so I could see he was twitchy.
“I went at the yellow flag and I thought I would get the better of him, but he got on me and round me.”
To add to his woes, I had to ask about his early exit from yesterday’s 60 kilometre TTT;
“It was originally to be Sean Gray who had the spot, but the thinking was that he would have the speed but maybe wouldn’t last the distance. On my warm up, I was following the Bicycle Works guys and they were doing 22 mph into the wind, I thought; ‘fine!’ But we were riding a lot faster than that, I was letting the speed drop, Gary was accelerating through to lift back to race speed, which meant I was sprinting to get back on after every spell.
“With the benefit of hindsight, I should have just sat on until it settled down; I think I would have been fine on the second lap. We did a try out down at Westferry and I had no problems, Arthur is very strong, but he’s smooth and big, so his is a good wheel to be on. Anyway, it’s not been a great weekend for me!”
With thanks to Jim, John and Graeme for taking the time to ring us and give us their stories.
Was that OK, Isobel?
1 John Kermode Dundee Thistle 2.47.51
2 Graham Mcgarrity Dooleys st
3 Steve McIntosh Granite City RT st
4 A.Watt Granite City RT st
5 M.Copland Falkirk BC @ 10sec
6 T.Anderson Falkirk BC @2.13
7 C.Thomson VC Astar st
8 A.Mathieson Musselburgh st
9 S.McGregor Velo Ecosse st
10 T.Worthington Nightingale st
11 J.Cusick Couriers st
12 P.Mcdonald Johnstone Wh @5.36
13 K.Thomson Dunfermline st
14 P.Ettles Forres @8.8
15 I Willcox unatt st
16 G.Findlater 1st50+ Elgin @8.45
17 G.Barclay Leslie Bikes st
18 B.Cowie Ab Wheelers st
19 R.Reidy Leslie Bikes @8.48
20 A.Syme unatt st
21 D.Warwick DTCC @8.51
22 R.Kennedy Nightingale @9.04
23 A.McAllister Ayr RC @14.24
24 D.Lang Glasgow Wh @21.40
25 G.Walsh S.Wallace @23.02
26 C.Fisher Nightingale @35.37
27 M.Findlay Edinburgh RC st
28 A.Smith Rutland CC @35.40
29 J.Daly Johnstone Wh st
30 K.Wylie Falkirk BC @35.44
31 N.Howarth DTCC @35.59
32 C.Cowie DTCC @36.05
DNS no’s 8,25,28,29,30,33,
DNF no’s 5, 7, 18, 27, 31,56,57,60, 61,62
My thanks to all who helped on the day. The commissaries and their drivers, service , lead cars,marshals, first aid and the refreshment pair. Also to Malcolm for doing the start sheets and Neil Howarth for his continual support. (Isobel)