Wednesday, October 27, 2021
HomeInterviewsGary Hand - "I Didn't Do Anything Wrong"

Gary Hand – “I Didn’t Do Anything Wrong”


You always miss something when you go on holiday — the latest Super Six at Falkirk, for example; I knew I’d be away for the race but said to the organiser if he let me know who’d won, I’d do an interview with them. Gary Hand (Endura) was the man to take the honours — no surprises then?

But there was a caveat; a source close to organisers told us…

“The chat has started already on the Braveheart forum because of some controversy. It will be interesting to hear Gary Hand’s view — he was led out to win by Dave Lines who missed part of a lap due to a mechanical. It took a long time to make a decision on the win, after the race.”

Gary Hand.

We’d best ask Gary, then;

Well, Gary?

“You’d need to speak to Davie about that; so far I’ve heard about 15 versions of what happened on Sunday – but there was a whole lot going on in that race other than the last 100 yards. There were splits, regrouping and bridging up to the break to talk about – but folks will always latch on to the negative.

“There was a break of around 10 away — me, Robbie Hassan and Davie Lines bridged up for Endura and at that stage the others become reluctant to work because we were so well represented. Robbie and I had digs but it came down to a sprint; what the guys from the English Herbal Life team hadn’t realised was that you sprinted after the roundabout, not going in to it — the finish was on the others side of the road in the opposite direction.

“They threw their hands up, thinking they’d won — but I got on the back of them and got into the roundabout first.

“Then I heard Davie Lines shout ‘inside,’ he’d come after me, passed me on the roundabout but he’d jumped so hard that I couldn’t hold him. I had to shout to tell him to ease up because I had to win to take the Super Six overall.

“We finished about five bike lengths clear and I was happy to take the win and the series — the team really were brilliant, all of them, all day.”

But the result is ‘provisional?’

“I’d considered giving Scottish Cycling a ring but it’s not down to me; I’ll wait and see if they contact me.

“But what I’d ask everyone to remember is that everyone who was in that break benefitted from the hard work which Davie did to drive it and keep it clear — not just me in the last 100 yards.

“And I also point out that I didn’t actually do anything wrong.”

Davie was second?

“Yes, but he pulled himself out of the race, after the finish.”

Was it an aggressive race?

“The race average was just below 25 mph for 80 miles so I think that speaks for itself; the weather was foul and I think everyone just wanted to get on with it and keep warm!

“It’s always good to have English guys up racing in Scotland — that helps.”

Was it true to the spirit of Super Six — a shorter, flatter circuit, taking the racing to the public?

“It was flat, fast and hard to split, the break of 15 or so was only 30 seconds clear of a bunch of about 50 — so, yes, I think it was true to the concept.

“I’ve had my differences with James McCallum on the bike but his idea for the Super Sixes was a good one.”

Gary Hand takes a business-like win, in front of Alex Coutts when riding for Endura mark 1.

Was the series win a goal for you at the start of the year?

“Not at all; the team was set up to develop young riders — take them down to Premier Calendar races.

“The Super Six series we saw more as preparing them for the English races; but I found myself in the position where I could win overall coming in to the last round.

“The team made life easier for me; they rode out of their skins — but at the end of the day, I still had to push the pedals.”

There have been comments about letting pros like James McCallum and Evan Oliphant ride.

“I think it’s fantastic for those guys to ride, anything that makes the races harder — and more English riders too.

“Evan and James have professional attitudes to the sport and it’s good to see them involved.”

Are you enjoying your mentoring role at Endura?

“I am enjoying it but I have a full time job to think about too — at Pedal Power we’re moving from our current 700 square metres to 7,000; that’s going to involve a lot of work.

“Davie Lines and I have a lot of knowledge we’ve gained over the years and it’s good to pass that on — but we still have our own goals within the sport.”

What does the rest of the season hold?

“There are two Premier Calendars — the Pro-Am Tweedsdale and the Richmond, and that’s about it for this year.”

How many seasons have you raced — and how do the standards compare?

“This is my eighth season — when I started the equivalent to the Super Sixes were the Grand Prixs and I can remember those being cancelled because of lack of entries.

“I can also remember riding one with a field of 21 riders — look at now, they’re always oversubscribed.

“I was looking at one of my old training diaries and one Grand Prix which I rode had an average speed of 21 mph.

“The standard is definitely higher, here and in England where Rapha and Endura bringing in continental riders have certainly raised the quality of competition.”

And are you still as motivated?

“Oh aye!

“I definitely enjoy it, even if I stop racing I’ll still ride my bike; I have a fiancée now, a house and a fulltime job so I’m hanging by a thread — but I still enjoy riding my bike.”

One thing that would make Scottish racing better?

“To have races finish in town centres and to have a bit more support from the police — or whoever it’s necessary to work with to do that.

“In West Calder they can shut the town down for an Orange walk — why not for a bike race?”

Laugh(ter) Lines, as Davie enjoys a joke riding for Endura last season. Photo©Martin Williamson

All that remained was for us to have a word with Mr. Lines:

“We rode the first lap steady, but going in to lap two someone rode into the back of me and tore off my rear mechanism, I thought that was the end of things.

“The service car stopped for me but there was nothing they could do, with the rear mech broken off and the back wheel broken there was no point.

“Jane Barr was out watching the race and she said to me; ‘take my bike!’.

“It was a 48cm frame and my knees were round my ears but I plodded on and then got a tow from a car; I saw the bunch ahead as we approached Letham and I got up into the convoy.

“When you’re back in the bunch the adrenalin flows and you get your race head back on so I just kept going — but I did three-and-a-half laps on a 48cm frame.

“After the race there was a lot of chat about how I had got back on; I went to the commissar and explained what had happened and withdrew myself from the race — the commissar accepted what I had said, but then there was all that stuff turning up on the forums.

“What happened wasn’t my fault and there’s no doubt in my own mind that if I’d been on my own bike, I’d have been right up there anyway.”

So, there you have it, straight from the horses’ mouths. I best get back on with me holiday, ciao, ciao.

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

Why Not Take the Scottish Road Race Championship 2009 to the People!

The Scottish Road Race Championship; a nice day, a good course - past the village green at Denholm is cool - well marshalled, a full field.

David Campbell Memorial Road Race 2013

On a typical Scottish spring afternoon of ‘Four Seasons in One Day’ Herbalife/Leisure Lakes’ talented 18 year-old English rider, Harry Tanfield fully justified the ‘Elite’ stamp on his license to win Kennoway Road Club’s David Campbell Memorial Race over 80 tough Fife miles around the Cults Hills. With 2013 results which include, 10th Heist Op Den Berg; 2nd Evergem Belzele and 8th Tourinne-Saint-Lambert Kermises in Belgium, Tanfield’s win would have come as no surprise if we’d done our homework.

The 1962 Usher Silver Tankard Road Race

Usher Silver Tankard Nostalgia: “describes a sentimental longing for the past” defines the dictionary. I’m not one to sit and say that everything was better when I was a youngster – bikes certainly weren’t; much of the equipment available was scrap and would get laughed out of court in 2013. Cycling clothing was horrible and cycling shoes were positively medieval. Albeit cars were cooler, music was better and so was the cycling scene.

Scotland seeks additional Premier Calendar event

Rapha-Condor-Sharp rider James McCallum has pledged his intention to defend his title at the Davie Bell Memorial 2012 Memorial, a 'monument' of Scottish cycling aspiring to join the Premier Calendar series in 2013. The promoting club, Ayr Roads-Harry Fairbairn BMW have already secured 'National A' status for the 47th running of the 100mile event to be held on Sunday June 10th 2012, guaranteeing the best possible line up of British professional and elite cyclists.

Robert Hassan – First Super Six Winner of the Year

If it's the first weekend of the month and the snow drops have burst through - it must Scottish Super Six time. VeloVeritas caught up with the first Super Six winner of the year, 19 year-old Dumbarton man Robert Hassan (Endura/Pedal Power Development Team) the day after he'd triumphed over 65 miles of beautiful East Lothian countryside in the Edinburgh Road Club promotion at Gifford.

Training in Spain and early season Celtic Racing

Since the last blog training has been great and on the 14th Lindsay Gordon headed for Spain with every intention of doing a good solid weeks training in the mountains around Benidorm.

At Random

Baden Cooke – “I think being an Agent is my calling”

Season 2014 is the first since 1999 that Victorian, Baden Cooke won’t be pinning on a number; after 14 seasons as a professional he’s called ‘time’ on what was a highly successful career to move into rider management. And whilst he’s not yet through his exams and officially a UCI Agent, he’s already enjoyed success in the role unofficially ‘helping out’ with placing Chris Horner at Lampre when things were beginning to look bleak for history’s oldest Grand Tour winner.

Bikes of the Tour de France

Bikes of the Tour de France, 2008: Bicycles, we love them! With the Tour well underway, we thought it would be interesting to take a first look at some of the bikes being used by the teams making the news. When we join the race next week we will of course be bringing you more bike-geek articles!

Mark Stewart – Team Pursuiting to a World Cup Bronze!

Picking up the baton of Scottish international success from Katie Archibald in the pursuits and Callum Skinner in the kilometre, British Points Race Champion, Mark Stewart came away from the recent UCI World Cup in Cali with a bronze medal in the team pursuit. Riding with Germain Burton, Chris Latham and Matt Gibson the GB Academy team rode a 4:03 in the second round to set a new record for an Academy squad. We had a word with him when he got back to the UK...

Conor Dunne – A Switch to JLT Condor and a Win in the Melton CiCLE Classic

We first came across Conor Dunne in his AN Post days, dueling with those hardy Topsport boys in a big kermis at Westrozebeke in Flanders. The next thing we knew his 6' 8" frame was on the tele from the 2015 Richmond Virginia Worlds, initiating the break of the day for his team Ireland jersey and spending 200 K 'up the road.' VeloVeritas recently caught up with Conor after his fine win...

Iain Grant – The Scottish 25 Mile TT Champion

Iain Grant won the Scottish 25. It was 1970 when I first got into cycling, the British ‘25’ record, set in 1969, stood to Alf Engers at 51:00 – it would be 1978 before that was improved upon when Eddie Adkins returned 50:50.

Berlin Six Day 2013 – Final Report

A crowd of around 12,000 filed into the Landsberger Allee Velodrome tonight for the Berlin Six Day 2013. The large numbers continued a trend for the Six Days - with an estimated 70,000 coming through the doors - attendance figures are up rather than down, a good sign going forward.