Taking Irvine Beach by (sand) storm

Even the cool and wet start to the day couldn’t put the dampers on fourteen Walkers CC riders as they dug in at Scottish Cyclocross’s Irvine Beach event last Sunday.  The fifth race in a series of 6, this leg is organised by Walkers Cycling Club and is rather something of a home game for the club.

First Walkers rider of the morning was young Finlay Walker riding in the U-12 section. Six year old Finlay from Kilmaurs completed a superb 4 laps of the short “sprogs’ course” alongside his friends Anna and Harry Turner to claim his richly deserved medal.  Said Finlay; “I really like riding my bike, but it was even more brilliant getting a medal today.”

The Youths race was fiercely contested by some 25 riders and was eventually won by Mark McGuire of Perth United Cycling Club.

The sun made a very welcome appearance just prior to the Veterans/Juniors and Women’s race which had attracted 100 riders from all over the country. This part of the event sees the riders tackle several deep dips and climbs on the grass, a short but steep (1in5) grassy slope and a three hundred metre stretch of sand which on its own can challenge even the strongest of cyclocrossers. Riding in this for Walkers were Stuart McLean, Brian Hunter, Russell Mowat, Jim Goldie, Robert Earp, Steve Lockhart, Anna Walker and Fiona Wallace.  Anna used the home advantage to her  benefit and claimed a top ten finish in the Women’s section while Fiona, competing in only her second ever race, hung on to complete the course.  The boys put up a good fight but struggled to find the form needed in the very strong field to take any top places.  Said Kilmaurs resident Jim Goldie, who is a Coaching and Training Manager at Scottish Athletics, “Ironically it was the running sections that I found the hardest but I was pleased how well I managed to cycle through the sand.”

Last event of the day was the Seniors’ race.  Neil Walker edged ahead in the opening stage of the race with Scott Kerr, Euan Cleland, John McCracken and Keith Johnson following behind.  Neil’s early lead was gradually eroded over the duration of the race and he was just pipped for a top five finish.  Next home for Walkers was Keith Johnson closely followed by Scott Kerr. Both other Walkers cyclists also finished the race.

The only links course race in the Scottish cyclocross calendar, this year’s event was deemed by many competitors to have been one of the best in the series.  Said one participant; “This was a slick and well run event and a thoroughly enjoyable day, for which the organizing club must take full credit.” The race series now moves on to the Scottish Championships at Strathclyde Park on December 9th before heading over to Mull for the final race the following weekend.

Keith and his race face

Scott comin’ thru the rye

Any chance of a lift?