Tuesday, September 21, 2021
HomeInterviewsSteven Lawley - The New Scottish Road Race Champion for 2015

Steven Lawley – The New Scottish Road Race Champion for 2015


It wasn’t ‘til after the ‘25’ Champs that we managed to catch up with Steven Lawley (Neon Velo) – he’s a busy man, netting another two wins since his fine victory in the Scottish National Road Race Championship where he pushed multiple ex-champion, Evan Oliphant (Raleigh) off the top step of the podium.

And in the meantime his team mate, Peter Murdoch scooped the aforementioned ‘25’ title at Irvine.

We first came across Lawley as a member of John Anderson’s Bicycle Works team, coming second to Grant Ferguson at the National Hill Climb Championship a year or two ago down at Stow.

We might have guessed that ex-pro and now coach James McCallum had a hand in Lawley’s transformation to top roadman on the Scottish scene.

Here’s what Mr. Lawley had to say to VeloVeritas the other night as he, ‘oo-ed and ah-ed’ on the massage table at the other end of the phone line.

Steven Lawley
Steven warms down after the 2012 Scottish Hill Climb championship. Photo©Martin Williamson

Congratulations, Steven; basics first – age, where are you from and what do you do for a living?

“I’m 31 years-old come from Hamilton and I work as a forester but I decided to go full time on the bike for a few months to see how far I could go – and it’s certainly working out for me.”

What was the team game plan for the Scottish Road Champs?

“To get me out front on my own with 10 K to go and that’s exactly how it played out.

“The break went and I got across to it but we were brought back with about 15 K to go – I was watching to see who was coming up and could see everyone was tired.

“I didn’t want to give the rest a chance to recover; I asked Peter Murdoch what he thought and he said; ‘go for it !’

“Peter controlled the rest after I went away and that took a lot of energy; ideally we’d have liked first and second but Peter ended up sixth.”

This isn’t your first Scottish title, Steven?

“No, I won the hill climb and criterium champs in 2014 – so I’m currently reigning road race and criterium champion.”

But you came late to the sport?

“Yeah, I was originally a runner – that background is what gives me a big engine – I got into the bike when I was 28/29.”

Steven Lawley
Steven hasn’t taken long to find his feet in the sport. Photo©Martin Williamson

And you rode the Rás, earlier this year?

“James McCallum, our DS, has been getting us into races at that level – he told us that we shouldn’t worry about a result; it was the experience that mattered.

“That said, I had a few cracks and got a seventh place on a stage and 21st overall, I felt better and better as the race went on.

“On stage six I was in the break with the ex-Sky guy, Edmondson and the Austrian who won overall – that was a nippy experience !”

Neon Velo?

“James McCallum is the man behind getting me on-board the team; I was with Herbal Life in 2013 and then in 2014 I was KTM but neither of those rides really worked out for me.

“Dan Stevens is the man behind Neon Velo – he has a vision for where he’d like to go…”

Rigmar Racers
Steven rode for Rigmar Racers for a period. Photo©Martin Williamson

We don’t see you in a lot of time trials?

“It’s not something I’ve done a lot but I’d like to – I have a goal of doing a good ride in the Trossachs, one of these days.

“The calendar format doesn’t help – the ‘25’ Champs is on the same day as the Anderside Classic, for instance.”

[Steven won the Anderside Classic and the Squirrel Criterium in Dunfermline mid-week between the National and Anderside, ed.]

Steven Lawley
Steven riding the Trossachs last October for KTM. Photo©Martin Williamson

Tell us about your training.

“I mostly train on my own; I was doing three hour stints in the turbo all through the winter – savage but I think I’m reaping the benefits, now.

“The way things are at the moment I don’t actually train that much – it’s about racing and recovery.

“I have a friend, John Dargie who’s really clued up on all aspects of training and whilst he’s not my coach he’s always there to advise me – usually to stop me doing too much !

“And of course, James McCallum is always there to advise us; he’ll ask what I’m up to – and he keeps me in check, too.

“I’m really enjoying the new team, working with James and Graeme Herd, who’s our mechanic.”

Who’s your role model as a rider?

“That would have to be Jason Macintyre – I wish he was still around – he was ‘the man’ as far as I’m concerned.

“You hear those tales of him burning out turbo trainers – awesome !

“That’s why I’d like to win The Trossachs at some stage; it would a real achievement to break his course record.”

Steven Lawley
Steven rode the classic Trossachs time trial in 2013. Photo©Martin Williamson

What’s still on the agenda for 2014?

“I’d really like to get at least a podium finish in a Premier Calendar race; next year the plan is to grow the team and we hope to ride more UCI stage races – events like the Rás.

“In the short term I have the ‘Battle of the Braes’ road race on Saturday and then I defend my criterium title at Stirling on Sunday afternoon.”

Crit Champs ? – it looks as if by the time you read this there may well be another Scottish medal in the drawer for Mr. Lawley.

He’s well on the VeloVeritas ‘watch list’ now – we’ll keep you posted.

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

George Berwick – Scottish Ultra-Distance Legend Still Going Strong at 80

A cold Friday night during the winter of 1971/72. My Kirkcaldy & District CC club mate, Rab Speirs and I are walking up the A93 near the infamous ‘Devil’s Elbow’ hairpin en route the Braemar youth hostel. Behind us we hear the sound of bike tyre on tarmac, two figures totting enormous saddle bags heave past us; Mr. George Berwick, who was reigning Scottish 12 Hour Champion at the time....

E.V. (Ernie) Mitchell – Scottish Star of the 50’s

Sometimes it’s strange how you pick up on a story; take this one. My friend, former colleague and owner of a rather nice Look, Kenny Burrell sent me a text about a gentleman he’d been chatting to – a certain Mr E.V. (Ernie) Mitchell by name. "The first man to break two hours for a 50 mile TT in Scotland, back in the 1950’s" said Ken. "I’ll check that out, Ken" I texted back. And that was the first step on my journey to E.V.’s (although he prefers Ernie, these days) front door.

Scottish 10 Mile Time Trial Championship 2008

On a Sunday morning as close to perfect as we'll get in Scotland, Arthur Doyle (Dooleys) did what most people had expected and took the Scottish ten mile championship over the A811, Kippen Flats, equalling Graeme Obree's 20-13 course record. If Arthur's first time trial championship win went to form, then the destination for rest of the medals was much less predictable.

Hamish Strachan – “I thought Italy would play much better to my strengths”

You may have read our recent interview with Senor Flavio Zappi here on VeloVeritas? This season the Zappi Racing Team will have strong Scottish representation with Messrs. Hamish Strachan and Matthias Barnett quitting Bonnie but chilly Scotland and the brooding, icy waters of the North Sea for La Bella Italia and the more benign waters of the Adriatico.

Daniel Kain – Joining Spokes Race Team for 2020

A young man we’ve been meaning to speak to for a while, ‘but never got round to it’ is Aberdonian, Daniel Kain. He can do it all - time test, ride the boards, circuit and road race.

Graeme Obree & Jason MacIntyre – discuss the 25 Champs postponement

It was to be the big one, the Scottish 25 Mile Time Trial Championship this Saturday, June 17th at Irvine. The British 25 Mile TT Champion, Jason MacIntyre versus the man who ran him to within 13 seconds in the Scottish 10 Mile TT Championship the previous week-former double World Pursuit Champion and World Hour Record holder, Graeme Obree (Fullarton Wheelers).

At Random

Tour of the Campsies 2021 Goes to Chris Smart

We liked our jaunt to the Tour of the Campsies last year and feel at home among the rolling countryside and green hills there so we headed west, first of all paying our respects to the Robert Millar mural at the foot of the Crow Road; when you watch Roglič take the Lagos di Covadonga stage in the Vuelta it’s difficult to imagine the wee fella from Glasgow winning that stage – but win it he did.

Ian Field – Consistency in the World Cup CycloCross

Sometimes you time an interview just right and your subject goes out and does something big right after it. Take British cyclo-cross champion Ian Field (Hargroves Cycles) – or should that be, ‘Field de Brit’ as they say in the Flatlands. We spoke to him on Wednesday and on Friday his coach Dan Fleeman of DigDeep Coaching called us to tell us that he’d pulled off a ‘biggie’ – 13th in the Koppenbergcross after leading for the first two laps and a puncture with two laps to go.

James Spragg – Right in the Mix

Viktor calls; 'there's an English boy - James Spragg - riding the Three days of West Flanders - he rode the Samyn too - you should find out about him.' For sure, Vik!

Giro d’Italia 2013 – Stage 4: Policastro – Serra San Bruno, 246km. Bravo Battaglin

Just when I was about to write that there are few fairy tales in Grand Tours, as ‘re-born’ late escapee and former Baby Giro and Giro winner, Danilo Di Luca succumbed to a group of men desperate to put an end to their pain in the closing metres of the tough 246 kilometres from Policastro to Serra San Bruno, Stage 4 of the Giro d’Italia, up popped 23 year-old Enrico Battaglin.

Jayden Copp – Aussie Winner of the Sint Katelijine Waver Kermis 2014

If you’re not on one of the National Federation programmes there’s only one way to catch the eye and sign that coveted first pro contract. That is, either as an individual or with your team you head for Belgium, France or Italy and fight for results. It’s the time honoured way, good enough for Tom Simpson, Robert Millar and David Millar. A name which caught our eye recently in the Belgian kermises was 23 year-old Aussie, Jayden Copp (Bianchi DCM Arbitrage) with two fourth places, a second then a win. Well worth a word we thought.

The ‘Tour Series’ Edinburgh Criterium, 2016 Goes to Graham Briggs

The thing with riders like JLT Condor's Graham Briggs is that they are very good at what they do, training specifically for these one hour efforts and riding bikes adapted to crit racing with high brackets – it’s hard for English road pros to beat them never mind Scottish riders used to slogging across the moors in wind and rain. But for a crit to be spectacular it needs to be gutter to gutter, handlebar to handlebar – the circuit used for this year's Edinburgh Tour Series event does not produce that kind of race. And like Willard says to the GI in the movie ‘Apocalypse Now !’ – ‘do you know who’s in charge here, soldier?’