Raleigh professional Evan Oliphant handled the age old dilemma of the pro racing against amateurs – if they don’t win they’re criticised, but if they do then it’s ‘expected’ – by taking the best option and winning the Gala CC’s Gordon Arms Hilly Time Trial over 20.5 cold and cloudy Borders miles in 50:06; some ways short of Mark Atkinson’s (Velo Ecosse) 1999 course record of 48:47 but enough to give him the result by 41 seconds over Carl Donaldson (GS Metro).
Third, although we didn’t know it before we left for home because the copy of the start sheet we had didn’t name rider #73, his time at the finish was listed as 1:00:40 and he was riding in a Team GB skinsuit, was Harry Tanfield.
In fourth spot was Commonwealth Games pursuit hopeful and previous winner of ‘The Gordon’ Silas Goldsworthy (Sandy Wallace) with 51:46, just shading team mate – and another previous winner – Alan Thomson by seven seconds.
Making it three Giant TT rigs in the first five.
Sixth was Rigmar Racers’ Steven Lawley just one second behind Thomson; NFTO pro James McCallum took seventh place in 52:10 and was at pains to emphasise; ‘fastest on a road bike’ from the big field of 90 riders.
For those not from the ‘hood, the Gordon Arms is a fine old Borders inn dating back more than 200 years; and in those days was a haunt of the Scottish literary set with the likes of Sir Walter Scott and James Hogg (The Ettrick Shepherd) draining tankards within it’s sturdy sandstone walls.