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The Scottish Road Race Championships 2017 – Robertson and Erskine take the honours

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The Scottish Elite men’s and women’s Road Race Championships winners medals went to new homes with neither of last year’s winners Evan Oliphant or Eileen Roe on the start sheet for Sundays events.

An exciting day’s racing saw the victory in the Elite Men’s race go to the Army CC’s Mark Robertson with Julie Erskine riding appropriately for Cycle Team on Form taking the Women’s title.

Scottish Road Race Championships 2017
Mark Robertson. Photo©Callum MacGregor

Scottish Road Race Championships 2017
Julie Erskine. Photo©Callum MacGregor

An ambitious programme saw the Championships races and a supporting 3rd, 4th and Junior race cater for close to 200 riders in total in a full day of racing organised by Blair Whiteside.

The attempt to avoid A roads saw a number of smaller roads being used, with the police and Fife Council allowing these to be closed for the day.

This proved less than popular with some locals, although I was impressed by Tom Bishop, Dunfermline CC who proved an effective mediator with one particularly unhappy gentleman.

So effective was he, the chap stayed for a while to watch the goings on.

The supporting race was won by Alex MacRae, having brought the exuberant Dylan Hughes, Spokes Racing Team to heal.

Scottish Road Race Championships 2017
It’s almost over for Dylan Hughes with less than 4km to the finish. Photo©Callum MacGregor

Scottish Road Race Championships 2017
Dylan Hughes leads the support race early-on. Photo©Callum MacGregor

The remnants of the bunch reeling him in with about three kilometres to go, setting Alex up for a sprint win.

Dave and I were marshalling on the finishing circuit at the village of Star, not exactly the bustling metropolis but it meant we missed the finish of all three races, rider safety first we say.

The women’s race was contested over 44 miles and the relatively small field was under pressure and fracturing when we watched the riders exit the closed road section after the Cults climb.

Scottish Road Race Championships 2017
The first chase group. Photo©Callum MacGregor

Scottish Road Race Championships 2017
Chasing the leaders. Photo©Callum MacGregor

Scottish Road Race Championships 2017
Thumb’s up – someone’s comfortable. Photo©Callum MacGregor

Scottish Road Race Championships 2017
A lonely chase. Photo©Callum MacGregor

Scottish Road Race Championships 2017
Feeling the burn. Photo©Callum MacGregor

The break that eventually established itself saw four riders contest the three medals with Jesse Mitchell losing out.

Scottish Road Race Championships 2017
L-to-R. Genieve Whitson, Julie Erskine, Jesse Mitchell and Joanne Thom. Photo©Callum MacGregor

Julie Erskine, Cycling Team In Form, wearing number one ran out the winner, Genevieve Whitson, Isorex Cycling Team taking the silver medal and Joanne Thom, Sandy Wallace Cycles securing the bronze.

Those in the know had John Archibald as the racing certainty for victory having apparently won all but two of the road races he has ridden this year.

Scottish Road Race Championships 2017
John Archibald. Photo©Callum MacGregor

There were a lot of guys who had other ideas and the race was taken to John who missed the early break and took a few laps to appear at the front of the race.

The men’s’ championship saw Dave and I take position on the Cults climb, the race missing the lower section and thus reducing the suffering.

The riders would I’m sure be happy to know they had missing the first half mile of climbing, the eight laps of ten miles would prove sufficiently tough to make a selection and break hearts and legs along the way.

Spectators were few and far between on the Cults climb with Harry Tweed spotted as well as the spectator who took advantage of the opportunity to see the race at various spots along the route.

Scottish Road Race Championships 2017
Spectators were thin on the ground on Cults hill but made the most varied vantage points. Photo©Callum MacGregor

The race appeared to be following the format of many a Scottish road race with the early break looking like it was away for the day.

Scottish Road Race Championships 2017
The early break with eventual winner Mark Robertson second-left. Photo©Callum MacGregor

Scottish Road Race Championships 2017
Stuart MacGregor still riding strongly. Photo©Callum MacGregor

The reality was more complicated, a picture that changed enough we were checking who had got up and who had gone from the front group each lap.

With the bunch or what was left of it never more than a minute in arrears there were those who wanted up to the pointy end pushing on each lap up the Cults.

Scottish Road Race Championships 2017
Chasing the break. Photo©Callum MacGregor

One rider clearly up for it today was Fraser Martin, Raleigh GAC, taking over where former teammate Evan Oliphant left off.

His brother and team mate Grant out injured it was up to Fraser to uphold the team and family name.

With Mum and Dad marshalling and coach James McCallum present he had all the motivation and the good legs needed to put in a medal winning ride.

Scottish Road Race Championships 2017
Fraser Martin. Photo©Callum MacGregor

Another rider looking to make the racing was Tim Blathwayt, Veloclub Edinburgh, prominent throughout.

Scottish Road Race Championships 2017
Tim Blathwayt. Photo©Callum MacGregor

Whilst the race did settle down mid race for a few laps, with a group of thirteen working well enough to keep the remnants of the bunch at bay the pressure remained on for all those behind as they fought to avoid the ten minute time cut at the end of the Cults section of closed road.

Scottish Road Race Championships 2017
The break of thirteen. Photo©Callum MacGregor

Scottish Road Race Championships 2017
Over the top at Cults. Photo©Callum MacGregor

Scottish Road Race Championships 2017
Hamish Carrick. Photo©Callum MacGregor

Hamish Carrick, TBW Bottechia Wigmore RT was one brave sole riding for lap after lap to succumb with only two laps to go.

Local interest centred around Iain Paton, Leslie Bike shop and Stephen Dent Spokes Racing Team in the winning break until the medallists escaped.

Scottish Road Race Championships 2017
Iain Paton. Photo©Callum MacGregor

Scottish Road Race Championships 2017
Stephen Dent. Photo©Callum MacGregor

Iain fell back with Stephen taking a well-deserved fourth place at the head of the chase group.

The winning break was being driven by John Archibald but neither Mark or Fraser looked like they were in trouble as the exited Star village with less than three kilometres to go.

Scottish Road Race Championships 2017
The winning break leaves Star village. Photo©Callum MacGregor

Scottish Road Race Championships 2017
The chasers fight for fourth place. Photo©Callum MacGregor

It was a great day of racing with the winners worthy of their titles.

Mark Robertson a worthy addition to the roll of honour of those who have won the Scottish Road Race championships and the David Campbell memorial trophy.

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