Tuesday, August 3, 2021
HomeRaceRace ReviewsScottish Hill Climb Championship 2008

Scottish Hill Climb Championship 2008


On a mild but blustery day on the north side of the Ochil Hills, Ben Abrahams (equipe Velo Ecosse – Montpeliers ) finally realised some of his potential and gave new team sponsors Harley Haddow engineering and Warners solicitors value for money with a surprise 17 second win in the Scottish Hill Climb Championship.

Abrahams left hot favourite Arthur Doyle (Dooleys) with only a silver medal, with perennial Jim Cusick (Glasgow Couriers) grabbing the bronze.

Scottish Hill Climb Championship
Ben giving it stick. Photo©Ed Hood

The organisers wisely changed the venue for the event in the light of farming and logging operations transforming the original climb — a contour scything brute up to Middle Third farm — into a Belgian cyclo-cross venue, thick with mud.

Instead, substituting the ‘Dunning Glen’ climb; as we used to know it back in the days when I did my winter training over these roads. Whilst not as savage as the original venue, it was longer and no cake-walk, especially with a brisk wind gusting down it.

Scottish Hill Climb Championship
Lovely countryside. Photo©Ed Hood

We took up position with perhaps two miles covered and half-a-mile still to go and started the watch on first rider, Stuart Moran (Perth United), we didn’t have to wait long on the first of the favourites — Jim Cusick, off number three and looking good, having caught and dropped his minute man, Finlay Young (equipe Velo Ecosse-Montpeliers).

Scottish Hill Climb Championship
Finlay Young. Photo©Ed Hood

The inexplicable lack of seeding was a disappointment, it looked very much as if the organiser had simply written the entrants on the start sheet as he received them, instead of waiting until the closing date then framing the field on current form.

Jim Cusick
Jim Cusick. Photo©Ed Hood

Cusick was number three, former champion and Tour of Taiwan winner Alex Coutts (Giant Asia) was off 11, winner Abrahams was off 18 and hot favourite Doyle was off 27.

Seeding makes the race more exciting for the spectators, with the event building to a proper finale; the favourite should go off last.

It also means that the top riders — who have earned the right to seeding by previous performances — are in a position to receive time checks on their rivals.

A quick look at the result of the Tour de Trossachs Dukes Pass hill prime results would have pointed the way to how the tail end of the field should be arranged.

Dave Martin
Dave Martin. Photo©Ed Hood

Short distance specialist and ten mile championship medallist, Dave Martin (thebicycleworks) looked good, but was down on Cusick, as was Trossachs contender Jonathan Copp (Sandy Wallace).

Jonathan Copp
Jonathan Copp. Photo©Ed Hood

Patrick Galbraith
Patrick Galbraith. Photo©Ed Hood

At this point our usually reasonably accurate amateur time keeping went ‘aglae,’ what we hadn’t noticed was that whilst number 10 followed 9 on the start sheet, there was actually a four minute gap between them; start time for 9 was 13:12, but for 10 it was 13:16 — why?

And why not start number one at 13:01, instead of 13:04 so the number matches the minute?

It was too complicated for us, I’m afraid and we had to rely on purely visual ‘feel’ from then on.

Alex Coutts, getting back into training - in October.
Alex Coutts, getting back into training – in October. Photo©Ed Hood

Alex Coutts seemed to be going well, but we would learn later that he had cycled to the event from his home in Burntisland — and was cycling back, too.

He had thought that his season was ending with his Tour of Taiwan win and he’s been off the bike since, but Giant management announced to him that he has the Japan Cup to ride at the end of October, then a ten day stage race in China a couple of weeks later.

The day before The Trossachs he began cycling from Burntisland to Aberlady and back – to work with his dad’s painting business – every day in order to get the form back; he finished not far away today, but missed a medal.

Ben warms down
Ben warms down. Photo©Ed Hood

Abrahams rode well in the Trossachs and looked good on the climb today.

Arthur Doyle
Arthur Doyle. Photo©Ed Hood

Arthur Doyle looked strong, but the remaining 20-odd starters were an anti-climax, all the medals had gone — although we didn’t know quite where because of the confusion with the starting order.

Final moan — couldn’t the times have been sent by text message from the top, in batches of five? In this way the results board could have been marked up on-going and the hour-plus wait for times at the end avoided.

Ray Wilson
Ray Wilson. Photo©Ed Hood

Stuart Moran of the host club Perth United won the Dundee Centre prize and Sandy Wallace Cycles won the team prize, with Jonathan, Wilson & McBride.

Happy Ben
Happy Ben Abrahams. Photo©Ed Hood

Winner Ben used to write for cyclingnews.com in Australia and is more used to asking the questions than answering them;

“It’s not at all the result I expected; I looked at the hill prime results from The Trossachs and expected Arthur (Doyle) to win. I’ve been going ok in training, I’ve been out a lot with Evan Oliphant and James McCallum; that’s the thing about living in Edinburgh, there are loads of good guys to go out training with.

“I’ve had a lot of fourth places this year, so it’s good to win, it’s got to the stage where friends text me after a race and say; ‘4th again?’

“I’ve been doing a lot of training on my time trial bike – although I rode my road bike today — I even rode the TT bike down to Newcastle from Edinburgh to see my girlfriend.”

Jim goes touring
Jim goes touring. Photo©Ed Hood

Arthur Doyle had bolted by the time the results were read and we only managed a few words with Jim Cusick before he pedalled off;

“you can’t waste a trip to a beautiful part of Scotland like this, we’re off for a run round Braco and Glen Eagles!”

Maybe that’s why he wins so many medals?

Sorry about the moans, but if someone doesn’t mention it, how will it get any better?

Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 45 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, team manager, and sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach, and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

Related Articles

Jason MacIntyre Wins the Scottish Hill Climb Championship 2007

Jason MacIntyre Wins the Scottish Hill Climb Championship 2007 - It took Jason MacIntyre (Edge RT) just 3 minutes and 37 seconds to win his fifth Scottish individual time trial championship of the 2007 season; at Bonnyton Moor on a dreich Sunday afternoon, the hill climb was duly added to the 10, 25, TTT and circuit TT, in the bleak country above Eaglesham.

Scottish Olympic Time Trial Championship 2007

Showing he's lost none of the form which would have kept David Millar (Saunier Duval) in Slipstream Argyle pattern - rather than the red and blue hoops of British champion -- in time trials next year (had the Fort William man's front tyre not exploded), Jason MacIntyre (Edge RT) put more than four minutes into second placed Arthur Doyle (Ivy CC) in Sunday's Scottish Olympic Time Trial Championship 2007 over 27 technical miles at Irvine.

Scottish Vets Road Race Championship 2008

John Kermode did what VeloVeritas expected him to, at sunny but windy Alford on Sunday afternoon and successfully defended his Scottish Vets Road Race Championship; 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.

John Archibald – “a four minute (Pursuit) effort is something I think I could be good at”

Season 2016 saw John Archibald record times of 50:07, 50:04 and 50:03 for 25 mile time trials - so a big goal for him was to dip below the magic 50 minutes. On Sunday past on the rolling dual carriageway between Brechin and Forfar he didn’t just dip inside the 30 miles per hour standard, he left it way behind with a stunning 47 minutes and 57 seconds ride. In the process he took 46 seconds off Graeme Obree’s 1994 record of 48:43; we just had to, ‘have a word.’

The VV View: Scotland’s Young Turks

As the sleeping beast that is the 2020 cycling season stirs after it’s long snooze, we thought it would be good to look at how Scotland’s ‘Young Turks’ spent lock down and what their plans are for the rest of this strange year.

Bec CC Hill Climb – Dan Does The Double!

Not many riders throughout the History of the 52 years of the Bec CC Hill Climb event get to wear the mantle of 'Doing the Double' by winning both the Catford CC Hill & the Bec C C Hill Climbs. Dan Fleeman, Blue Sky Cycles, who until today was a 'Hill Climb Virgin', in his first attempt at this discipline, not only won both events, but also broke the 12 year old Bec C C Hill Record of 1.44.4 set in 1995 by Gary Dodd, Kingston Phoenix RC with an incredible 1.43.02.

At Random

Daniël (Danny) Willems

In Scotland the last two weeks have seen us lose two fine young men from our cycling scene; gone before their time, Ben Abrahams and Dougie Young. But over in the Belgian Heartland they’ve suffered too – with the recent passing of Daniel (Danny) Willems at 60 years of age. ‘Who’s Danny Willems?’ I hear you ask. I’m not surprised you should ask that; there’s been very little reaction to Willems demise - but those of my generation remember him as tall, stylish, classy and a big name in pro cycle sport in the late 70’s and early 80’s.

The VV View: Politics and Cycling

Politics and Cycling... I did a Vuelta preview the other day; I mentioned the Castilian (Spanish), Basque, Catalan and Galician languages.

Saunier Duval Team Launch – Day 3

Saturday, and it's official Saunier Duval launch day. The TV cameras are gathering, the cars are being polished and the riders are playing musical clothing with one-another: the full delivery of kit hasn't arrived from Castelli yet. On the big run yesterday there were still plenty of "Prodir" logos, despite the fact that the Swiss pen manufacturers are no longer a sponsor. So, it's not just those British clothing suppliers who get the deliveries wrong.

The VV View: Moolah is a Must-Have?

On social media the other day I saw someone contend that perhaps the crisis that faces time trialling – i.e. the participation age range becomes older by the season, with a case in point being the Scottish ‘25’ title: three youths, one junior – is as a result of the fact that the youngsters think that to compete on equal terms they MUST have a machine which will cost upwards of five grand.

Le Tour de France 2013 – Stage 11: Avranches > Mont-Saint-Michel, 33km ITT. Tony Martin Takes It

Tony Martin was impressive, so was Chris Froome – Cadel Evans, Pierre Rolland, Nairo Quintana, Tejay van Garderen and a whole host of others, weren’t. Bonjour, from the Balladins Motel, ville de Tours, from Martin and Ed!

Chloé Dygert Owen – Winning Rainbow Jerseys for Five Years

How long a career do you need to have to win 10 [yes ten] World titles? US ‘chrono girl,’ Chloé Dygert Owen has won that many and she’s still only 23 years-old; and there are two Pan Am golds and an Olympic silver in the dresser drawer too. High times we ‘had a word’ with the young lady out of Indiana.