Some folk say; ‘why rant?’ Vik and I say, ‘why not rant?’ But before we get too profane and talk about odd World Championship events and Rapha CC, let’s turn our attention to a nice communication we received from the late Sandy Wallace’s friend and team mate, Steve Beech:
“Apart from running a shop, setting up and running clubs, organising races (which he usually rode as well), helping many riders, Sandy had a unique record of racing as a vet, competing in TTs, road, track – grass/outdoor/indoor, MTB, cyclo-cross.
“He won championship medals in all these disciplines and I thought that your readers should be reminded of Sandy’s achievements:
“Starting with the Scottish 12 hour championship in 1987, through to the British Masters over-70s road championship in 2019.
“He was always very modest about these results.
“Here’s a list of his accomplishments in recent years; although we know he started racing with Kirkcaldy YMCA way back in the 1960’s.
- 1987: 12 hour Champion with Sandy Wallace Cycles.
- 1988: ‘100’ team with Albany Wheelers/CR Smith.
- 1989: Senior BAR team, 12 hour team, ‘100’ team with Albany Wheelers/CR Smith.
- 1990: Senior BAR team, 12 hour team with Denny RC Rippon.
- 1991: Senior Bar team, 12 hour team, 12 hour team record with Denny RC Rippon [standing until 2007, broken by Sandy Wallace Cycles rider, Joe Wilson.]
- 2002: MTB Cross Country Super Veterans Champion.
- 2005 Senior BAR & Middle distance BAR teams, 100 mile team, 12 hour team with Sandy Wallace Cycles.
- 2008 12 hour Team championship with Sandy Wallace cycles.
- 2008-2011: British Masters Track Cycling, nine medals in British Masters track championships age 62 – 65. Notably two Golds in 500m TT; two Silvers in sprint others in scratch, points and pursuit
- 2019: British Master’s Road Champion v70s.”.
With thanks to Steve, rest in peace, Sandy.
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Mention above of the 60’s – when Vik started racing and my interest in the sport was first piqued by seeing Eddy Merckx win his first Tour de France on our tiny black and white TV in 1969 reminds me of a couple of wee tales Vik and I have to tell.
The great man was in Mallorca the other week – he hates the Scottish winter almost as much as he hates disc brakes – and was stunned by the number of Rapha-kitted cyclists mounted on cutting-edge kit, all enjoying the balmy climes.
On the Saturday he was in residence it happened to be the Giro di Lombardia, the ‘Tour of Lombardy’ in old money. One of the local bars had a huge screen TV tuned in to the race in anticipation of the would-be coureurs on their Pinarellos, Colnagos and Treks parking them up outside and clattering in for a beer as they watched the drama unfold on the screen.
Total number of punters in the bar?
One man. Yes, ‘our Vik.’
The next day it was Paris-Tours and again Vik was the only man buying a beer as the peloton braved the vineyards.
Now to my part of the story.
I was sitting outside a café with my faithful hound and there were two bikes leaned against a table, the full bifta, carbon, deep section rims, Di2 etc. etc.
The riders appeared out of the caff and I got on the chat with them; what club were they in?
‘Oh no, nothing like that!’
They asked if I used to ride a bike, I replied that yes, back in the mists of time I was a time tester and had raced on the very road we were sitting beside.
Their eyes began to glaze over so I ended the conversation and wished then a safe journey.
It occurred to me how much the sport has changed; the days of joining a club, attending meetings, learning about the sport from senior club mates and being taught the craft and etiquette of cycling are long gone.
It’s gone from working class escape and adventure to middle class pastime.
But the world turns, which is fine if you’re selling expensive hardware, I guess?
* * *
Then there’s ‘Cycling Weekly,’ our formerly beloved, ‘Comic,’ if you’re researching bike races from the 60’s through to the early part of this century then it’s a valuable resource.
But now … as a I saw one chap write; ‘how many recipes for flapjacks do we actually need?’
The Track Worlds: some great racing with Katie taking gold silver and bronze to keep the saltire flying high but the German women have emerged as the female track squad to beat with six golds.
The Italian track squad has made big gains too under the tutelage of former World Madison Champion and Six Day star, Marco Villa – who Carlton Kirby insists on calling Davide Cassani.
The Italians took the male and female editions of the Elimination Race with Elia Viviani and Letizia Paternoster; but here’s the thing…
The ‘Devil’ as a world championship event?
A hard event for sure and great event for a track league or as part of an Omnium but how often will Viviani and Paternoster get the chance to wear the rainbow jersey in anger?
And now we have that one to explain to our non-cycling chums along with the Omnium, Tempo Race, Keirin, Match Sprint and Madison…
It was great to see maverick ‘gravel guy’ Ashton Lambie win the Individual Pursuit, adding to his stunning sub-four minute world record for the four kilometre distance.
He looks to be well capable of the Hour record but he best watch his timing; a fresh and motivated Ganna is going to put that one into a different dimension, testing indicates a distance of 57 kilometres plus is within his capabilities.
* * *
The Legend that is ‘Ginger’ Gray – roadman sprinter with the equally legendary Comet RC/race organiser/thorn in the flesh of the Authorities and all round Good Guy sent us some nice pictures the other day of Alex Coutts taking bronze in the British National Hill Climb Championship in 2004.
The race was won by Jonathan Dayus, who featured on our pages earlier this year, but it got us to thinking about Alex.
Whilst the man from Gorebridge never scaled the heights reached by Billy Bilsland, Robert Millar or David Millar he did the hard yards, riding the Junior World Championship Road Race then racing as a pro at continental level for a decade and more:
- 2014: RTS-Santic Racing Team (CT) until 27/06
- 2012: RTS Racing Team (CT)
- 2011: Giant Kenda Pro Cycling Team (CT)
- 2010: Giant Asia Racing Team (CT)
- 2009: Heraklion – Nessebar (CT)
- 2008: Giant Asia Racing Team (CT)
- 2007: Babes Only – Villapark Langemeer – Flanders (CT)
- 2006: DFL-Cyclingnews-Litespeed (CT)
- 2005: Flanders (CT)
- 2004: Flanders – Afin.com (TT3)
- 2003: Team Endurasport.com – Principa (TT3)
His finest hour came in 2008 when he won the six stage Tour of Thailand – nice to remember a man who’s perhaps slipped from our memories.
* * *
And to close, more nostalgia with images kindly supplied by John Reid. These are from 1987, and a one-day race finishing at the Santuari de la Mare de Déu de Sant Salvador near Felanitx in Mallorca.
Sandy Gilchrist secured entries for this event for riders at his training camp, prior to taking part in the Cinturón Cyclist Internacional a Mallorca (the amateur Tour of Mallorca), as preparation for the Girvan 3-Day back in Scotland.
This all proved to be the perfect preparation as Scotland’s Andy Ferry went on to win the Girvan overall taking a stage win on the way, with Brian Smith also winning a stage.
Stewart Whitlie, Finlay Gentleman, Drew Wilson, Brian Smith (all GS Modena) and his dad Don, Alan Gray (Bonnyrigg CC) … and there’s a Scotia Sports boy in there I think I recognise.