Monday, July 26, 2021
HomeRaceRace ReviewsScottish Road Race Championships 2018

Scottish Road Race Championships 2018

-

If I hadn’t been wearing that number one on my back I don’t think I’d have got over that climb those last three times.

The words of Scottish Road Race Championships 2018, Mark Robertson (Army CU) who had just successfully defended his 2017 title, confirming that he’s ‘not just a sprinter’ and giving lie to suggestions that his win last season was a ‘fluke.’

VeloVeritas hasn’t been to the Scottish Road Race Championship for a year or two but when we heard it was in Cromarty, one of favourite places on the globe there could be no excuse for absence.

Scottish Road Race Championships 2018
Photo©Ed Hood

Whilst Central Scotland suffered a wet and miserable Sunday, The Black Isle was bathed in sunshine as the women lined up for their race.

And I must mention that we had an email from a gentleman the other day telling us that we mustn’t call female cyclists ‘girls’ or ‘ladies’ – it’s demeaning and could be responsible for losing women to the sport.

As Terry Wogan used to say; ‘is it me?

[Interestingly, for over a decade we’ve variously referred to male riders, pro and amateur, as ‘lads’, ‘laddies’, ‘boys’, ‘blokes’, etc. … we have had the sum total of zero complaints or emails. Editor]

We’d expected maybe three or four riders to be clear the first time up the heart breaker Mount High climb on the first of three 16 mile circuits – there were five; Jennifer George (Torelli-Brother), Chloe Fraser (The Racing Chance Foundation), MTB-er Kerry McPhee – who former multiple champion, Evan Oliphant had told us to look out for – Beth Hanley-Jepson (Edinburgh Road Club) and Natalie Munroe (Moray Firth CC).

Scottish Road Race Championships 2018
Photo©Ed Hood

And it was Evan’s tip at the head of affairs on Mount High.

The climb wasn’t steep but dragged up and up, with those long straights that are hard on the head.

Scottish Road Race Championships 2018
Photo©Ed Hood

The rest of the field was in ones, two’s and fours – a bit of a sprachle, as we say in Fife.

Scottish Road Race Championships 2018
Photo©Ed Hood

Lap two at the start of the second, much less savage ascent of the day, which came straight off the big descent off the main climb and the ‘famous five’ were well clear and were obviously going to be the first five finishers.

Scottish Road Race Championships 2018
Photo©Ed Hood

Behind them the rest had organised themselves but the gap was too big to close and the five girls up front were too good on the big climb for any successful chase to be organised.

Scottish Road Race Championships 2018
Photo©Ed Hood

At the line it was Jennifer from Chloe and MTB-er Kerry, with Beth in fourth spot and local, Natalie in fifth place.

Scottish Road Race Championships 2018
Photo©Ed Hood

It was a beautiful day for a race – just a pity about those oil platforms out there in the Firth… still, it gives us a different, ‘modern world’ backdrop.

Scottish Road Race Championships 2018
Mark Robertson. Photo©Ed Hood

Scottish Road Race Championships 2018
Grant Ferguson. Photo©Ed Hood

The men lined up for the 2:00 pm start with defending champion, Robertson looking relaxed and MTB star Grant Ferguson bringing some continental colour to the race in his American Eagle strip.

Scottish Road Race Championships 2018
Photo©Ed Hood

I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t recognise the tune the piper played the peloton off to, but it was a nice touch.

Scottish Road Race Championships 2018
Photo©Ed Hood

Lap one, Mount High and three away, Messrs. Greig Brown (Bioracer Project GO), Ryan Fenwick (Wheelbase Castelli) and Jon Woolrich (Velo Sport Jersey) – just a tad optimistic over 100 miles and six times up Mount High but it gave guys like me something to write about.

Scottish Road Race Championships 2018
Photo©Ed Hood

The peloton was tranquillo; with the next five ascents well to the front of their minds.

Scottish Road Race Championships 2018
Photo©Ed Hood

Time for my shorts as we headed further down the hill in search of fresh backdrop – and still our three outlaws were on the run.

Scottish Road Race Championships 2018
Photo©Ed Hood

Scottish Road Race Championships 2018
Photo©Ed Hood

The peloton had split behind but there was still no real sense of urgency with a little bit of chatter audible – always a sign that things aren’t too ‘rouge,’ as they say in France.

Scottish Road Race Championships 2018
Photo©Ed Hood

We headed down to the side of the Firth for lap three and those three were still grafting.

But their tea would soon ‘be oot’ with Brown leading the bunch home for seventh, Fenwick DNF and Woolrich coming home in eventual 24th spot.

Scottish Road Race Championships 2018
Photo©Ed Hood

There was more urgency behind with Mark well to the fore.

Scottish Road Race Championships 2018
Photo©Ed Hood

Scottish Road Race Championships 2018
Photo©Ed Hood

You can’t visit Cromarty and not pay your respects to it’s most famous son, Hugh Miller who, along with James Hutton – another Scot – is one of the fathers of modern geology.

The weeds round his monument could do with a trim though.

Scottish Road Race Championships 2018
Photo©Ed Hood

Back to the Firth, the break has gone and Grant Ferguson leads the second half of a split peloton through Jemimaville on lap four.

Scottish Road Race Championships 2018
Photo©Ed Hood

And was Mark looking to see what flavour his gel was, or checking his text messages, I forgot to ask him…

Scottish Road Race Championships 2018
Photo©Ed Hood

Back to Mount High for lap five and Stuarty McGregor (Pro-AM Racing Club) was just a tad off the pace as we waited for the leaders; he’d be credited with 34th place at the death.

Scottish Road Race Championships 2018
Photo©Ed Hood

Scottish Road Race Championships 2018
Photo©Ed Hood

A solo leader, Alastair McNichol (Dooleys) takes a bottle from Fin Young with Tim Brathwayt (Velo Club Edinburgh) in hot pursuit and thirsty too.

Scottish Road Race Championships 2018
Photo©Ed Hood

This was your last chance to take a bottle – no feeds on lap six.

Scottish Road Race Championships 2018
Photo©Ed Hood

Scottish Road Race Championships 2018
Photo©Ed Hood

We headed down to the foot of the big climb for lap six, conscious that we perhaps wouldn’t be able to pass the race on the run in but could head back along the Firth to catch the finish.

All change – with Thomas Gelati (Bioracer Project GO) ‘en seule’ – behind him McNichol had the thankless task of towing another two Bioracers; could this be the winning move?

Scottish Road Race Championships 2018
Photo©Ed Hood

Mark was well back and looking like there would be no defence of his title.

Scottish Road Race Championships 2018
Photo©Ed Hood

But there were a lot of mergers on that last lap and a group of nine contested the sea front finish with the Army man easily fastest, ahead of Grant Martin (Vitus Pro Cycling) and Finn Crockett (Wheelbase Castelli).

Scottish Road Race Championships 2018
Photo©Ed Hood

We caught up with man of the moment as he glugged water like a man just in from the Sahara; ‘I didn’t get a drink that last lap,’ he explained.

“It was a tough course, grippy and 100 miles is a long way with six times up that climb.

“Someone kept shouting to me on every lap; “be patient Mark.”

“In the last kilometre I knew Fraser Martin would lead out his brother, Grant so I was watching for that but we were all fatigued, I was fourth wheel into the last corner and as soon as we came out of it I just went for it in the 12.

“I don’t think that anyone believed I could win on such a tough course and that I’m just sprinter, but I was still marked pretty tightly throughout the race.

“To defend the title is really special, I’ve proved that last year was no fluke.

“Next up is the Army Championship on September 5th and to ride that as Scottish Champion again will be pretty special after what’s been a rough old season.

“After that it’s the Inter-Services Championship and I might just ride the Hill Climb Champs – or maybe not…”

Congratulations to Mark, all the medallists, riders who braved a tough parcours and to Eric Davidson and his Moray Firth CC team who staged a very professional event.

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

The Scottish Road Race Championships 2008

"Yeah, I'm happy to have won, but I'm not happy at having to go back to Yorkshire again - I just came from there, last night! And I'm sick of eating pies!" The words of Plowman Craven professional Evan Oliphant after successfully defending the Scottish road race title on a deceptively tough course over 81 miles of the beautiful rolling Borders country around historic Hawick.

Kyle Gordon – Scottish 10 Mile TT Champion 2019

VeloVeritas caught up with that versatile man, newly crowned Scottish 10 Mile TT Champion, Kyle Gordon [RT23] the day after his near 30 mph ride on the exposed dual carriageway west of Dundee on a bitterly cold Sunday morning.

Scottish Vets’ Road Race Championship 2007

When it became apparent that the Scottish Vets' Road Race Championship 2007 - over 65 wet and hilly miles at Alford - would end in a sprint finish, most bets were on fast-finisher Graham McGarrity (Edge RT); John Kermode (Dundee Thistle) had other ideas however and McGarrity had to settle for second. Kermode was, understandably; 'delighted', whilst McGarrity: 'hates to lose a sprint, especially in vets' race!'

Jennifer George – Scottish Ladies’ Road Champion 2019

Whilst we reported the men’s race, VeloVeritas didn’t make it up to Alyth in time for the Scottish Ladies Road race Championship on Saturday – ‘real life’ stuff got in the way. Sorry ladies. But we did catch up with winner for the second year, Jennifer George (Torelli-Assure-Madison) a day or two after the race; here’s what she had to say to us.

The Glasgow Grand Prix 2008

The Tour of Britain's penultimate stage departed from Glasgow Green today, taking the peloton south to the beautiful setting of Drumlanrig Castle in the Southern Uplands. The Glasgow Grand Prix took advantage of the closed circuit and the watching crowds, with two events following immediately after the ToB departure.

Scottish Hill Climb Championships 2013 – “Up The Kirk!”

As the storm clouds grew over the Wallace Monument the anticipation increased ahead of "Up the Kirk 2013" which had the honour of incorporating the Scottish Hill Climb Championships. The volunteers of the host club, Stirling Bike Club, got the course set up as a few nervous riders did some last minute reccies and stressed about gear ratios and tyre pressures.

At Random

Kuurne Brussels Kuurne 2011

Kuurne Brussels Kuurne 2011 used to be the 'revenge match' for Gent-Gent (Het Nieuwsblad); after poor showings in Saturday's race, QuickStep usually rode on Sunday with great panache to salvage the weekend-they did this with Nuyens in '06, Boonen in '07 & '09 and brilliantly with de Jongh in '08.

Organising the 46th Davie Bell Memorial Road Race

The best cyclists in Scotland will descend on South Ayrshire this Sunday, the 5th of June, as Ayr Roads Cycling Club/Harry Fairbairn BMW play host to round four of the Scottish Power Renewables SuP6R Six series at the 2011 David Bell Memorial Road Race. The event has attracted a full field for the first time in over two decades, with the riders lining up to complete the gruelling 120km marathon over the hilly roads around Straiton.

The VV View: When Men Were Men

It's too long since I had a rant; I'd like to thank Mario Cipollini for providing the spark for this one. I meet my pal Ivan on a weekly basis for a 07:45 coffee at a secret location. The theme of this morning's rant-fest was what would happen if Rik Van Looy met the Schlecks? We reckoned that 'The Emperor' would just need to look at Andy before the start and the 'Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project' (great name for a team) rider would run off home to Luxembourg and his Teddy bear...

The Job in Hand

I've been in Belgium for a week now, but to be honest I feel like I've never been away with the same routines already re-emerging into the day. It is really good to feel like a full time racing cyclist again as after months of spreading myself thin over winter, all I have to think about is riding my bike. I arrived a week past Tuesday, the 1st of March, which was simply a date plucked out of the air to maximise winter earning time, but get here in time for the start of the season proper.

Steve Skuse and James Whatling – Introducing the New Twenty3c Orbea Racing Team

We've always had a soft spot for Orbea at VeloVeritas-we like the Basque country and the fact that it's a workers co-operative; last year the bikes from Euskadi appeared in the UK peloton as 'Orbea-For Goodness Shakes' but for 2011 the incarnation is 'Twenty3c Orbea.' DS Steve Skuse and manager James Whatling are the men who'll be guiding them in their assault on the Premier Calendar. They recently took time to chat to VeloVeritas...

Cycling Scandals and Gossip – it must be Tour time!

Before we go any further with the Cycling Scandals and Gossip, our apologies for the lack of words and pics on the National road race - the VeloVeritas team were all too busy with that 'life stuff' this week, sorry. However, we'll run them post Tour; to help ease that PTSF - 'Post Tour Stress Disorder.'