Sunday, September 19, 2021
HomeInterviewsMark Robertson - the Scottish Road Race Champion for 2017

Mark Robertson – the Scottish Road Race Champion for 2017

-

If you’re like us, you thought the Scottish Road Race Championships at Kennoway in Fife over much of the old Dave Campbell Memorial Race parcours would be pretty much a formality for ‘10’ and ‘25’ mile time trial Champion, John Archibald (Pro Vision).

Especially in the absence of multiple former champion, Highlander, Evan Oliphant.

But massed starts aren’t time tests where the strongest man always wins; and whilst the man who can ride 25 miles in 46 minutes was on the podium – it wasn’t the top step.

The best view from the podium went to Mark Robertson (Army CC); the man who’s based in the north east of England beat Fraser Martin (Raleigh) into silver and aforementioned John Archibald into bronze.

Best ‘have a word’ with Mr. Robertson we decided…

Mark Robertson
Mark looks calm and collected during the Scottish Road Race Championships 2017. Photo©Callum MacGregor

Give us some background please, Mark.

“I’m 30 years-of-age and originally from Hurlford in Ayrshire, I’m married with a little girl.

“I messed about on the bike when I was young, mountain bikes though – road bikes weren’t cool!

“I got my first road bike at the end of 2102 but then went on tours of duty to Afghanistan with the Army.

“I 2014 I moved up from fourth to second category; 2015 there’s not much to report but in 2016 I got things together and started to go much better.”

Talk us through your championship win.

“I’ve had good form of late, taking second place in the Pedal Power and Billy Warnock road races so I came in believing I was strong – but I knew John Archibald was the man to beat.

“I recce-ed the course and knew if I got over that last climb with the leaders then I had a good chance to win if it came down to a sprint.

“I went with the early break and whilst I didn’t commit 100% I rolled through; John Archibald wasn’t with the move initially but eventually came across.

“The group just whittled down until in the closing stages there was just John, Fraser Martin and myself left.

“The sprint was perhaps closer than I would have liked but I got the result that matters.”

Mark Robertson
Mark has focused on road racing this season. Photo©Mark Robertson

Is this the best win of your career?

“100%! This is the one that I was focussed on – the one that mattered.

“I’ve won regional races and had good second places before like in the Gifford Road Race last year – and as I said earlier in the Billy Warnock and Pedal Power races.”

The jersey you were awarded on the podium, can you race in that?

“I don’t think it’s been done in the past so I won’t race in it but I’d like to wear it on podiums to show it off.”

Mark Robertson
Could/should the SC National Champion presentation jersey be used throughout the season? Photo©Gordon Elliott

Does the army encourage you, as a sportsman?

“I’ve been in the Army for 12 years now and I do get to use my PT time to ride the bike, it’s a massive help but I have to show results to justify it.”

And has the Army made a fuss over your Scottish result?

“Yes, it’s been well received in the team and within my unit – it’s a big result for us.

“Colleagues like to see us winning – and they know the effort that’s gone into it.”

And is there still that big Army Cycling rivalry with the RAF?

“Definitely!

“There’s a strong rivalry between the Services – the Inter Services Championships are in Devon, next month and we’ll be going down to do a course recce training camp.

“The championship is decided on team placings and last year we only won by four points – so perhaps we were a bit complacent and took it for granted we’d win, we don’t want any mistakes this year.

“But it’s not just the RAF, the Navy has a good team and in all sports across the board it’s about ‘bragging rights’ between the services – there’s strong rivalry but it’s pretty friendly.”

Mark Robertson
The Army Cycling Team. Photo©Mark Robertson

Do you have a coach?

“Yes, I’m with Alex Dowsett’s ‘Cyclism’ coaching set up, Eleanor Jones is my coach.

“I find that having a coach motivates me and I’ve adopted power meter training – it’s easy to lie to yourself but you can’t lie to your power meter!

“That said, whilst I train on power, I race on ‘feel’ – I don’t like to let number dictate to me in a race.”

Do you ride time trials too?

“I used to have a TT machine and was reasonable against the watch with top three placings – but I sold the bike.

“I decided I wanted to concentrate 100% on the road with no distractions – time trials are all about numbers and that distracts you.”

How would you describe yourself as a rider?

“I have a decent sprint and I can climb a bit if it’s short and I have my weight under control – but I do prefer the short, sharp jags rather than the longer climbs.”

Mark Robertson
Photo©Mark Robertson

What’s next?

“There’s the Army Championship Road race over 50 miles coming up at Sandhurst, that’s my second goal of the year after the Scottish Champs – I guess I’m favourite for that, then there’s the Inter Services Championship next month.

“And I need 40 points to net my Elite licence and that’s another goal for the year.

“Finally, there’s the British Hill Climb Championship, that’s in the North East, my back yard, so I’ll be putting eggs into that basket.

“At the start of the season I knew that it was going to be ‘back loaded’ and it’s worked out so far.”

With congratulations to Mark on his ride. Catch up on our Scottish Road Race Championship report.

Mark Robertson
Photo©Mark Robertson

Just as we “go to press” we heard from Mark after he won the Army Championship mentioned above. Here’s what he told us:

“I pulled off another huge win by taking the Army Road Race Championship…  It was a hard race, grim weather, but I gave it big licks against a classy field with the best in the British Army.

“I took these two little gems [photos above and below, ed.] for the ride – another huge dose of inspiration needed to go for a big solo dig off the break, in the final miles.

“I did pile the pressure on myself to win, but got it done!”

Mark Robertson
Photo©Mark Robertson

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

Peter Murdoch – The Man Behind Blanca Bikes

Remember Peter Murdoch? He raced at a high level as a junior on the road. In those days he roomed with a guy named Bradley Wiggins, whatever happened to him? Peter runs Blanca Bikes, providing the full package for those who want some serious training in the sunshine – or who just want to potter ‘sans thermals’ and enjoy a beer and some tapas with that vibe that you only get in those old Spanish bars.

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.

Mark Stewart – Second in the Glasgow World Cup Omnium

He’s been quiet, that Commonwealth Games Points Race Champion, Mark Stewart lad. But he’s back with a bang - a World Cup Points win in Minsk and a World Cup Omnium silver in Glasgow. Best ‘have a word.’

Sean Flynn – on a Dual Road/MTB Program with SEG Racing

20 year-old Sean Flynn from Edinburgh; four times a British Champion at youth and junior level, is on the SEG roster for season 2021, which is an achievement in itself.

Joe Nally – Reflecting on a Season of Ups and Downs

We caught up with Joe after his Boxing Day training ride (I can just about remember those, up into North Fife with Dave Chapman for a couple of hours then home for steak pie at Mum’s)... Here’s what he had to say:

Catriona MacGillivray – Taking Each Race as it Comes

The weekend after she’d annexed the Scottish ‘25’ title at Forfar with a sparkling 55:02 ride, just 10 seconds off competition record, Catriona MacGillivray (RT23) sliced 1:06 off the oldest ladies record on the books, Andrea Pogson’s 1998 ‘50’ time of 1:58:33 with a cracking 1:57:27 on the Invergordon course.

At Random

Garry Clively – Part Two: 7th in the ’77 Vuelta, Retirement and a Comeback

Gary Clively rode two-and-a-bit seasons for Magniflex in the mid 70’s, turning pro on the back of a brilliant fourth spot in the 1975 amateur Worlds road race. By the end of that season he was grabbing top ten placings in Italian semi-classics like the Coppa Agostoni. The ’76 season saw a whole raft of good performances; seventh in the Trofeo Laigueglia, second in the GP Camaiore, third in the Giro della Provincia di Reggio Calabria, third in Sassari-Cagliari and a ride in the Giro. His stand out result in ’77 was seventh in the Vuelta, one place behind Michel Pollentier. We left Part One of our interview with Garry where he'd just signed with Magniflex,and was getting to grips with life as a professional cyclist...

Rock Racing’s solid performances at the Tour of California

Michael Creed's extraordinary ride yesterday capped an impressive performance for Rock Racing at the Amgen Tour of California. Attacking from the start of the 93-mile (150 km) stage, Creed played an instrumental role in a pair of breakaways that stayed clear of the peloton on a rain-soaked, bone-chilling ride from Santa Clarita to Pasadena. Aggressive to the end, Rock Racing nearly scored its second podium finish of the race when Creed attacked inside the final mile and finished fourth in a five-up sprint in front of the Rose Bowl.

Le Tour de France 2013 – Stage 18: Gap > Alpe-d’Huez, 168km. Riblon Saves AG2R’s Tour

I could never be a ski bum, 60 Euros per night for the room here at the top of Alpe-d’Huez - but you have to pay extra for sheets - and towels - there's no toilet paper - then you have to clean the place at the end of it. A bit like borstal really, with off-hand, condescending staff.

San Sebastian From The Outside

A week after the Tour, and Mands and I got ourselves over to San Sebastian for a bit of vacation relaxery after the saga that is the nose to the grindstone month of the Tour.

Giro d’Italia 2009 – Day 1: Stage 15, Forlì – Faenza

Coming down the stairs at 05:00 am to the find the car had been broken into wasn't a good start to the day. But that's life. The M8, M77, Prestwick, Ryanair and here we are; in the 37 degree heat of Bologna, heading south to Faenza and our credentials.

Mick Ives – On Racing Non-stop, Summer and Winter, for 62 years!

Mick Ives won 81 British Cycling Championships in all disciplines and 19 World Championship medals, he’s the only male cyclist to represent Britain in all disciplines: road, track, cyclo-cross and mountain biking; and he held a racing license continuously from 1957 to 2019.