Sunday, July 25, 2021
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Angus Claxton – from Plockton to Kortrijk

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According to our research, the village of Plockton in Ross and Cromarty has a population of 378 – but it should actually be ‘377 and one would-be Kermis King.’

And you thought Plockton was only famous for ‘Hamish Macbeth’ and one of VeloVeritas’s favourite movies, ‘The Wicker man.’

Enter young Angus Claxton . . .

His name has been brought to our attention by our long term Flatlands race watcher, Viktor; ‘the laddie’s getting round all right,’ said the great man – praise indeed from Vik. We spoke to Angus just before British Cycling announced his acceptance into the Academy.

Angus Claxton
Angus in Belgian kermis action. Photo©supplied

Tell us about yourself, please Angus.

“I’m 19 and from small village called Plockton which is just off the west coast of Scotland.

“I got into road cycling about five years ago; it was just something to keep the boredom away initially as there’s not much happening up there.

“After about a year of just riding for fun and enjoying the bike, I entered my first race and after that I was hooked!

“At the moment I’ve just taken a year out to focus on the bike and to see how far I can go.‎”

Tell us about your current Flanders adventure:

“The trip is organised and funded by Scottish Cycling.

“We just have to pay for food and race entries – we’re over for six weeks.”

Where are you based?

“Kortrijk, about 20km from Roubaix (Kortrijk was also home to Scottish continental road racing pioneer John Kennedy who we featured on VeloVeritas a year or two ago.  ed.).”

How have the results been in the UK?

“This year I haven’t really done much racing in Scotland.

“I’ve done a few time trials and maybe road races.”

What’s been your best finish in Flanders?

“I got eighth in a kermis.”

What’s been your toughest race thus far?

“There hasn’t really been one particular race which was harder than the rest.

“In pretty much every kermis and Interclub race you have to ride aggressively and at the front trying to cover the constant moves.

“It just means it’s full gas all the way and there’s been a fair number of times where I’ve gone into survival mode in the final few laps!”

Angus Claxton
Angus and the Scottish team are introduced at a kermis. Photo©supplied

Guy Smet and Mario Willems – are they still the Kermis Royalty?

“I haven’t raced those names I don’t think.

“But we’ve been up against the BMC and Lotto development teams though – so plenty of big hitters.”

Scottish races/Belgian races – the biggest difference?

“The biggest difference is how much the Belgies love to attack.

“If they’re not attacking then they’re just sitting on and waiting to attack you!”

How have you found acceptance by the Belgian riders?

“There’s been a few “racing incidents” but generally the Belgian guys are pretty decent.”

How’s that notoriously bad Belgian weather been treating you?

“The weather has been surprisingly good – most days have been around 20-25c so can’t complain.”

How’s the equipment bearing up on those cobbles?

“Not to bad, had a slight come down in the first week but bar that the old steed has managed to get over the cobbles pretty well.”

Have you managed to catch a pro kermis?

“We’ve never managed to watch one; unfortunately we seem to be racing every time one was on!”

Have you been following the Olympic cycling?

“I only caught snippets of it.

“I’ve had very limited internet access so was forced to watch the track and road events on some dodgy websites.

“The stuff I watched though was pretty inspirational – it makes you want to follow in their footsteps!”

What’s the plan for 2017?

“At the moment waiting to see if I’ve got a place on the GB U23 Academy.

“If that doesn’t work out then I’ve got an offer from a Basque U23 team but still keeping options open.”

And what’s your favourite Europop tune at the kermises?

“Eiffel 65 – Blue.”

If only we were hanging over a barrier with our frites and a Juliper in our hands listening to that track as the carbon rims clatter past…

Wishing Angus ‘all the best’ for the rest of the season.’

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.

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