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A cold Friday night during the winter of 1971/72. My Kirkcaldy & District CC club mate, Rab Speirs and I are walking up the A93 near the infamous ‘Devil’s Elbow’ hairpin en route the Braemar youth hostel. Behind us we hear the sound of bike tyre on tarmac, two figures totting enormous saddle bags heave past us; Mr. George Berwick, who was reigning Scottish 12 Hour Champion at the time....
But we’re pretty sure that no 100 mile time trial champion has ever been on the keirin podium? Enter, that man Kyle Gordon – quality time tester, ever-improving pursuiter and now sprinter. We caught up with the man from Alness just before he jetted off to Australia and a round of the UCI Track World Cup.
On a dry morning with little wind and a temperature which varied from mild to chilly depending on how the clouds whirled into the Lomond Hills, 23 year-old Kyle Beattie (Cairngorm CC) took the Scottish Hill Climb Championship 2019 north with a 7 minutes 43 seconds ride; a margin of 12 seconds over Fife rider Robin Downie (Team Andrew Allan Architecture) who put a single second into bronze medalist, Tom Merry (Edinburgh University).
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 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.
On a rain sodden but mild and fast Sunday morning on the A90 Dundee to Aberdeen dual carriageway, starting and finishing at Forfar, Kyle Gordon (RT23) added to his Scottish 10 Mile TT Title with a rapid 48:53 to win the Scottish 25 Mile TT Championship 2019 crown from jockey-turned-bike-rider, former Olympic TT Champion, Wilson Renwick (Java Partizan Pro Cycling Team) on 49:16 and former Hill Climb Champion, David Griffiths (Bioracer-Moriarty Bikes) with 49:24.
On a raw morning of bitter north westerly winds, with a grey Firth of Tay and North Sea brooding to the south, Kyle Gordon (RT 23) produced a ride just nine seconds shy of 30 mph to win the Scottish 10 Mile TT Championships 2019 from Bioracer-Moriarty Bikes duo, second placed Jamie Davidson and bronze medallist, David Griffiths; seven and 18 seconds back, respectively.
Two course records obliterated within days of each other over the Easter weekend? It could only be that man John Archibald (Ribble Pro Cycling). It’s good to see he’s put a disappointing Worlds pursuit behind him - and the margins he’s breaking course records by takes VeloVeritas back to those ‘Obree Days’ when every weekend produced another ‘wow!’
That Kyle Gordon character is threatening to take over our website; what with his Commonwealth Games adventures, ‘25’ championship win, ‘50’ championship win and competition record - and if that wasn’t enough he’s gone and won the ‘100’ championship too, taking 10 minutes off competition record with a dazzling 3:36:10 ride - some 16 minutes clear of silver medallist, Stephen Williamson.
Mark Robertson (Army CU) who 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.
It’s two years since Jim Cusick first tipped VeloVeritas off on the fact that there was a top jumps jockey riding bike races in Scotland. Wilson Renwick (RT 23) was the man and in the recent Tour of the Meldons the 37 year-old originally from Hawick but now based in the Highlands won his first Scottish title, the ‘Olympic Time Trial.’ It was his first Scottish medal in only his third Scottish Championship ride; previously he had ridden the ’10’ champs at Bishopton and also contested the ‘Olympic’ TT on one previous occasion.
Pro Vision’s David Griffiths successfully defended his Scottish Hill Climb Championship on the tough Stow climb recently – VeloVeritas caught up with the bearded winner not long after his success to ‘have a word.’
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.
Season 2016 saw John Archibald record times of 50:07, 50:04 and 50:03 for 25 mile time trials - so a big goal for him was to dip below the magic 50 minutes. On Sunday past on the rolling dual carriageway between Brechin and Forfar he didn’t just dip inside the 30 miles per hour standard, he left it way behind with a stunning 47 minutes and 57 seconds ride. In the process he took 46 seconds off Graeme Obree’s 1994 record of 48:43; we just had to, ‘have a word.’
My amigo, Dave Henderson rang me soon after Martin and I got home from the Scottish ‘25’ Championship at Forfar; “how did the race go?” he asked me. ‘John Archibald, Pro Vision Scotland won with a Scottish record 47:57; Jon Entwistle, GTR with 49:27 was second and David Griffiths, Pro Vision Scotland was third with 50:12.’ I replied. There was silence then a low whistle down the line. If, like Dave and I you grew up in an era where Glen Road Club’s Big Drew Brunton would win the ‘25’ Champs with a ‘58’ I could well understand his reaction - these times seem other-worldly, astonishing.
On as benign a morning as one can expect in Fife in early May, Pro Vision's John Archibald delivered another stunning ride to win the Scottish 10 Mile Time Trial Championship in 19:29, just five seconds off his personal best. Archibald put 43 seconds into Jon Entwistle (GTR) and 55 seconds into Steven Lawley (Metaltek Kuota RT). Lawley had been dead level with defending champion, Chris Smart (GTR) with less than two miles to ride but ex-hill climb champion Lawley had the stronger finish. GB track rider, Neah Evans (Storey Racing) won the Ladies' Championship from Cat McGillivray (RT 23) in with Lynsey Curran (Dooleys) third.
If you had to name one man who single handedly changed the face of Scottish time trialling? The man who made sure a ‘59’ wasn’t going to win you the ‘25’ champs anymore... Dave Hannah is the man; VeloVeritas caught up with him recently at his home in Shieldhill for a long overdue chat.
Unfortunately, VeloVeritas editor, Martin and I got out priorities wrong and instead of freezing on Purrinden for the Scottish Hill Climb Champs we were in warmer climes. But fear not, we tracked down the new champion, David Griffiths (Pro Vision) and here's what he had to say...
They're everywhere, those Archibalds. We've no sooner finished congratulating Katie on bringing home gold from Rio than brother John pops up and grabs the Scottish "25" Mile Time Trial title. Here's what the most improved man in Scottish cycling had to say to VeloVeritas the day after his fine win where he relegated "50" and "100" champion, Jon Entwistle into silver medal spot by 25 seconds recording 50:03 to take gold.
A few Sundays ago we saw Tom Dumoulin time trialling his way to Tour de France stage glory in the thin-aired horror that is Andorra; but there was a much more important race against the watch going on in darkest North East Scotland – the Scottish ‘50’ Mile TT Championship. Back at the ‘10’ Champs, winner Chris Smart (GTR) told us that there was a ‘changing of the guard’ taking place in Scottish time trials – and so it proved, with new name, Jon Entwistle (Team JMC) taking the 50 mile honours in 1:44:45 from Chris (1:46:15) and 2015 champion, Alan Thomson (Sandy Wallace Cycles, 1:48:07).
Chris Smart (GTR) put on another exemplary performance in the Tour of the Meldons hilly time trial in the Scottish Borders to retain his national title for the 'Olympic Time Trial' for the third time in a row, his 56:08 being 75 seconds faster than his time for the same course last year and 67 seconds faster than silver medallist Kyle Gordon (Sandy Wallace Cycles). Third was Jon Entwistle (Team JMC) a further 10 seconds back.
VeloVeritas has all you need to know about the new Scottish 100 Mile TT Champion; Mr. Stephen Williamson (a3crg) ... The 44 year-old Aerospace Programme Manager is living in Surrey now, but was born in Ayrshire, his family emigrating to South Africa in 1975, where Stephen did all his schooling and education, returning to the UK 23 years later. The course for the 100 was near his birthplace, which was a good reason to target the event...
Courtesy of the Legend of North East Cycling that is Ms. Isobel Smith, here’s the lowdown on the 2015 Scottish 100 Mile Championship. "With six miles to go it was all done bar the shouting; Stephen Williamson was looking strong and had increased his lead to 3.39 over the Deeside rider with last year's winner now having to settle for bronze."
This piece is about the man who recently added his name to those of Bilsland, Obree and Macintyre on the roll of honour – Mr. Peter Murdoch (Neon Velo). The 35 year-old from East Kilbride’s ‘25’ silver in 2014 surprised us a little but his win this year didn’t; he looked every inch the champion to us as he blasted out to the final turn.
It wasn’t ‘til after the ‘25’ Champs that we managed to catch up with Steven Lawley (Neon Velo) – he’s a busy man, netting another two wins since his fine victory in the Scottish National Road Race Championship where he pushed multiple ex-champion, Evan Oliphant (Raleigh) off the top step of the podium. And in the meantime his team mate, Peter Murdoch scooped the aforementioned ‘25’ title at Irvine.
On a windswept day for the strong of leg and heart on the Ayrshire coast it was last year's silver medallist, 'fresh' from that toughest of races, the RAS, Peter Murdoch (Neon-Velo Cycling Team) who's 52:13 was 22 seconds too quick for deposed reigning champion, Iain Grant (Fullarton Wheelers) and 49 seconds faster than bronze medallist and another former '25' champion, Arthur Doyle (Dooleys).
On a dour, grey morning by the banks of a brooding River Clyde Iain Grant (Fullarton Wheelers) reminded us why he's Scotland's short distance king with a stunning 19:38 in the Scottish National 10 Mile Mile Time Trial Championship on a sodden, cold Westferry course. Second in 20:13 was 'new kid on the block' Harry Bulstrode (VC Edinburgh) with Sandy Wallace Cycles ever consistent Alan Thomson third in 20:32; just one tick of the second hand ahead of Billy Bilsland's Ben Peacock in 20:33.
It's not everyday we get emails from Time Trial Royalty, so when BBAR and 100 mile time trial legend Ian Cammish tells us; "Hi, just been involved in a brief exchange of emails with a guy from Moray Firth CC - Callum Finlayson. He's just won the Scottish 100 champs with the 2nd fastest time EVER in Scotland. Got a pretty good story to tell too ... suffered a Stroke a few years ago!"
In the recent Scottish 50 Mile Time Trial Championships the names in first and second spots were ones we’ve spoken too many times on VeloVeritas – winner Silas Goldsworthy and silver medallist, Alan Thomson (both Sandy Wallace Cycles); but the bronze medallist, Tom Gordon of Dooleys was new to individual TT honours.
Silas Golsdworthy put the disappointment of not being part of the Scottish Commonwealth Games team firmly behind him by taking victory in the country's 50 Mile Time Trial Championship today with a stunning 1:43:48, the second fastest 50 miles ever ridden in Scotland and only 45 seconds off Graeme Obree's 21 year old record.
On a blustery, squally day on the dual carriageways of the A78 and A71 around Irvine and Kilmarnock on Sunday morning, Dooley's Iain Grant added the Scottish 25 Mile Time Trial title to the "10" with a stunning 50:46 ride; a massive 1:39 clear of surprise second, Peter Murdoch (Paisley Velo) with Murdoch's team mate Chris Smart a further 25 seconds back in the bronze medal position. VeloVeritas had eventual fourth placed Arthur Doyle in the bronze medal spot, late in the race. But cramp hit Doyle in the closing miles and he had to freewheel across the line, two seconds down on Smart.
On a typical four seasons in one day Scottish spring morning on the fast dual carriageways of the Irvine by-pass, Dooleys' Iain Grant reminded us all why he's Scotland's short distance king with a stunning 19 minutes and 40 seconds ride to relegate his team mate and former '10' champion, Arthur Doyle into the silver medal position, 15 seconds back and reigning champion Ben Peacock (Paisley Velo) into bronze with 19:59.
Sometimes it’s strange how you pick up on a story; take this one. My friend, former colleague and owner of a rather nice Look, Kenny Burrell sent me a text about a gentleman he’d been chatting to – a certain Mr E.V. (Ernie) Mitchell by name. "The first man to break two hours for a 50 mile TT in Scotland, back in the 1950’s" said Ken. "I’ll check that out, Ken" I texted back. And that was the first step on my journey to E.V.’s (although he prefers Ernie, these days) front door.
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.
‘Unfinished business’ is how Iain Grant (Dooleys) viewed the 2013 Scottish 100 mile championship; and it has to be said that he ‘did the business’ on the day to win in 3:54:05 giving him a yawning nine minute margin over team mate Gavin Shirley [4:03:02] and Jim Cusick (Glasgow Couriers) [4:03:26]. Here’s what he had to tell VeloVeritas about his completing his hat trick of 2013 Scottish time trial titles...
Iain Grant (Dooleys Cycles) dominated the Scottish 50 Mile Time Trial Championship on a windy and overcast morning, taking yet another national title with his 1.46.53 a superb two and a half minutes clear over silver medallist Silas Goldsworthy (Sandy Wallace Cycles), and the Royal Navy's Sean Childs a further minute and a half back in third place. Seven women completed the event, with Anda-Jay Burgess (Sandy Wallace Cycles) the fastest in 2.04 51, silver going to Christine McLean (Shetland Wheelers) 30 seconds down, these two well clear - over seven minutes - of bronze medal winner, local rider Toni McIntosh (Ayr Roads).
On one of those grey Scottish mornings where it looks like the sun might just break through - but it never does - Dooley's Iain Grant successfully defended his Scottish 25 Mile Time Trial Championship 2013 title on the rolling A90 dual carriageway east of Laurencekirk on Sunday morning with a sparkling 50:46 course record.
At his ninth attempt, Herbalife-Leisure Lakes Bikes' Gary Hand finally 'done the business' in the Scottish road race championship; timing his move to perfection on the final climb inside seven miles to go and holding off a desperate chase from reigning champion James McCallum (Rapha Condor JLT) and David Lines (MG-Maxifuel Pro Cycling) to win on his own. We caught up with the man who eats the miles - but not much else - on the Monday morning after his win.
On a gloriously sunny Sunday afternoon in North East Scotland, Herbalife-Leisure Lakes Bikes' Gary Hand finally took the Scottish Road Race Championship after a blistering attack on the main climb of the day took him clear of 2012 champion, James McCallum (Rapha Condor JLT) and Davie Lines (MG-Maxifuel Pro Cycling) over the top of the hill.
Scottish Time Trial Championships in April? But like Dylan said; ‘The Times They are a Changin’... Sunday was horrible, wind, rain, cold – just what my bad throat and chest didn’t need. Step forward our Editor, Martin who, despite having been riding in the storm all morning to help with filming John Anderson's Tour o' the Borders sportive, braved the ghosts from the biggest Iron Age in Scotland, which sits up on the 1400’ White Meldon to brandish the Nikon into the gale force storm.
Demonstrating that the Scottish 'Cross scene is in burgeoning good shape, there were lots of riders in each category at the Scottish Cyclo-Cross Championships, with the Senior riders going off last and enjoying the nicely churned course in drying but ever-colder conditions.
On a beautiful Scottish Borders Sunday morning, Boardman Elite’s versatile mountain biker, Grant Ferguson turned around a 10 second deficit at the top of the steep section of the Stow climb to win the Scottish Hill Climb Championship by three seconds from up and coming Steve Lawley (thebicycleworks.com), with the bronze going to Jamie Kennedy (Glasgow Couriers).
On a grey, damp but mild and fast Sunday morning on the roads around Blairdrummond near Stirling, Dooleys' Ian Grant added the '25' title to the '50' with a fine 52:26; besting Sandy Wallace's Silas Goldsworthy - whose fight back over the closing miles hauled back a 17 second deficit on Grant down to six at the line. Last year's '50' champion Alan Thomson, took another medal for Sandy Wallace with bronze in 53:09. The event was not without controversy, however.
The Scottish road race; a nice day, a good course - past the village green at Denholm is cool - well marshalled, a full field.
Organiser Isobel Smith is certainly hoping the recent run of fine weather continues for her race on Sunday morning, the Scottish National 25 Mile Time Trial Championship 2009.
On a mild but blustery day on the north side of the Ochil Hills, Ben Abrahams (equipe Velo Ecosse - Montpeliers ) finally realised some of his potential and gave new team sponsors Harley Haddow engineering and Warners solicitors value for money with a surprise 17 second win in the Scottish Hill Climb Championship.
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.
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