Cameron Mason isn’t the only Scot, ‘on the up’ in the washing powder-challenging world of cyclo-cross. 19 year-old Perth man, Rory McGuire (Wheelbase-CabTech Castelli) recently took round four of the National Trophy Cyclo-cross Series near Sunderland.
Best ‘have a word’ with the man, we thought.
Nice job at Sunderland, Rory.
“Thank you, it was good to get up there again, that was my first race back from racing in Belgium and The Netherlands.
“I was fourth in the first round of the National Trophy Series but had issues in the next two rounds – a snapped chain and a crash – finishing eighth and seventh.”
Is the overall series win something that’s on your radar?
“I think so, albeit up until now I haven’t given it much thought, the British races are nice to ride and the level is good but it’s all practice for the continental races.”
Are you full time on the bike right now?
“Yes, I finished school in the summer, I’m training and racing full time.
“I have a university place for September 2022 but may defer that depending on how the bike goes.”
How did you get into the bike?
“My dad always cycled then my brother, Mark started racing MTB, he was at a good level but got injured and had to stop – he’s at university now.
“I started racing when I was eight years-old, road, MTB and ‘cross – I just enjoyed it and it’s all gone from there.”
In 2020 you were Nationals Junior Cyclo-cross champion and top 10 in the Junior Worlds ‘cross.
“That was a good year, my last as a junior, I had a sixth place finish in World Cup race at Namur too, they’re virtually at the same level as the Worlds but don’t get as much media attention as the Worlds, I was also eighth in the Superprestige race at Diegem.”
Why Wheelbase, what sort of support do they give?
“I was originally with Leslie Bikes but my brother was with Wheelbase, they have links with a house in Belgium which you can go over to for training and racing.
“I’ve spent month long spells out there and it was a big part of my decision to join them.
“At Sunderland my dad was my mechanic for me but in Belgium I have support from Wheelbase for the races.
“I’ll be over there for the Xmas/New Year races – that’s when the main block of ‘cross racing takes place.”
Is the road on your agenda for the 2022 season?
“Definitely, I train on the road and did the odd road race in Scotland over the summer – I also want to do more racing on the MTB next summer.”
“That depends on the time of the season but just now, in between race blocks I’m doing long, steady miles but I’m also doing two gym sessions each week and running once a week too.”
Do you have a coach?
“Yes, Paul Newnham, who’ Scottish MTB Performance Coach but coaches me in my cyclo-cross racing too.”
What’s your favourite kind of course?
“I like slow, muddy courses, challenging races with deep mud – and hilly courses too.
“The really fast courses normally go the way of the guys with a road background.
“I’m OK in the sand in the UK but I’m not as good as the Belgian riders when I’m over there – it’s something I need to work on.”
Tell us about your bike.
“Right now I’m riding a Specialized; Wheelbase are Cannondale agents but there have been all the supply problems due to Covid and Brexit so equipment has been delayed.
“I run 1×11 SRAM manual, I could have gone electronic but that’s 1×12 and all the wheels I’ve accumulated over the last couple of seasons have 11 speed cassettes.
“I run tubular tyres, I have a variety of treads available – muddy, intermediate, sand…
“Tubeless tyres may be okay for faster races but you can’t run them at pressures as low as you can with tubs, I was running 18 psi at Sunderland but in sand I’d go down to 16 or 17 psi.”
You rode the Koppenbergcross, what was that experience like?
“That was part of a six race block I did in November, starting with the World Cup at Overijse at the end of October, the Koppenbergcross was part of the X20 u23 series, I was 10th there and I was 14th in the Elite race at Leuven.”
Have you thought about basing yourself in Belgium?
“I have a block of racing coming up there after Gravesend on 12th December, that’s the fifth round of the National Trophy Series.
“I’ll be over in Belgium until the 2nd or 3rd January with the family coming over to the Wheelbase house on December 23rd for Xmas.
“I have the Namur World Cup on December 19th and the Dendermonde World Cup on December 26th – you can race practically every day over there during the Xmas/New Year period.”
Who do you admire most in the ‘cross world?
“Mathieu Van Der Poel and Wout Van Aert are the two big dogs but it’s good to see Tom Pidcock up there too – they’re the top three.
“But when I was younger I was a Sven Nys fan.”
You goals for the rest of the season?
“To do well overall in the National Trophy Series and in the British Championships at Crawley on January 9th.
“I’d like to ride the Worlds too but with them being so far away, In Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA I don’t think that British Cycling will be sending as big a team as usual?
“But to ride there is my main goal.”
Rory was second to Cameron Mason in the Clanfield ‘cross on Saturday 11th December and finished seventh the next day at Gravesend in the National Trophy race, again behind Cameron Mason.
Rory now sits second in the National Trophy Series standings behind another Scot, Corran Carrick-Anderson.