We headed to the launch of the recent 2016 Spokes Racing Team, the freezing weather failing to curb the enthusiasm of 120 supporters who had all paid £30 per head to attend the event, held in the Old Manor hotel in Lundin Links, Fife.
Spokes team owner owner Craig Greive and director sportiv Blair Whiteside had put together quite an evening with guest speakers including former pro and now DS at One Pro Cycling James McCallum (who’s still looking fit), the Lord Provost of Fife and Director at Dunfermline Football Club and quite the celebrity and public speaker, Jim Leishman.
The combination of inspiration, advice and entertainment worked well with the riders quizzing James about his experiences as a pro and Jim Leishman serving up the comedy, with tails from his youth when he signed for Celtic and was quickly drafted in to the first team to face the mighty Glasgow Rangers and find that his job that day was to mark the legend that is John Greig.
The evening commenced with a review of last season, with some impressive results and wins in the Scottish Junior RR Champs for Grant Martin, Stephen Dent picking up a prestigious win in the junior Tour of Ireland and John Mclead winning the Scottish Junior cyclo-cross championship.
With Fraser Martin moving on to join the pro ranks with Raleigh and Mark Stewart blazing a trail to the big time with Team GB, the team has delivered impressively so far and has even greater plans for 2016.
The arrival and unveiling of new sponsor Limits Power Meter who have signed a three year deal with the team shows commitment to the team by Limits’ Chief Operating Officer Gordon Drummond.
This relatively inexpensive and simple-to-fit power meter (it attaches directly to the crank with the pedal screwed in to the meter) has been “the talk of the trade” according to Craig and expectations are high that this might be the device that brings the age of power meters to a much wider cycling audience.
For some reason some of the riders waited until they had changed out of their new race kit to try out the power meter, suited and booted.
The team’s race programme looks impressive with the team heading for their first taste of the Flanders and Belgian junior racing at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne at the end of February.
The mixture of domestic and continental racing should hopefully enable the riders to dip their toes into the bigger pond of the British scene and the even bigger pond that is European racing with the support and advice that gives them the best chance of success.
With a mixture of juniors and U23 riders the team has the cash and the sponsors to ensure their riders have every chance of success; the Kuoto bikes with Shimano Ultegra looked cool, and the riders got their first seat on their steed for the year.
The evening continued with a buffet, followed by an auction where a Team Sky jersey signed by the full roster (Froomey et al, including the management) with certificate of authenticity went for £400!
As the drink flowed the cash followed, leaving wallets and purses lighter, as first Jim Leishman then Blair and Craig poked, pleaded and threatened those present to dig deep for the sake of the team.
The result was some enthusiastic bidding with over £4000 being raised for donations of a number of signed jerseys; as well as the Team Sky top, there was one from Lizzie Armistead and others from Sir Brad, Sir Chris and Mark Stewart’s winners jersey from the U23 Ghent Six Day.
The evening concluded with a disco and a raffle, closing what was an impressive launch from the Spokes Racing Team.