The Battle of Balloch

Walkers Cycling Club had several members through at Loch Lomond on Sunday for the last of the cyclocross warm-ups before this weekend’s grand start to the national league writes Alan Woodison.

Balloch Castle Country Park, on the shores of the loch, is a new venue which is being used in place of the tight course at Auchentoshan, Clydebank. This was withdrawn from the series after safety concerns last year.

Sunday’s event is one of more than a dozen non-series CX events being staged this season, the extended programme clearly reflecting the phenomenal growth of this kind of cycling north of the border.

First up at Balloch were the riders in the B race and straight out of the starting gate for WCC was Brian McCutcheon who stamped on his pedals and cut through the field to sit in 12th place over the first three laps. Brian was being tailed by Walkers duo John McCracken in 14th place and Scott Russell a few places further back. Top female performer Lorna Sloan also started steady and quickly moved into third place among the female contenders.

Brian McCutcheon began eating into the front runners and was passing people on every lap, helped by smooth running and confident technique on the hurdles. Meanwhile Lorna Sloan was leading the women’s race, with the second place rider sitting on her back wheel. John and Scott were managing to hold their own and consolidate their positions in the field, John in 12th and Scott in 14th.

Going into the final lap, Brian was accompanied by a Glasgow Nightingale rider but over the final set of hurdles he was able to get more out of the bike and rode away from his challenger to claim 7th place. John and Scott held their 12th and 14th places with strong finishes.

Lorna Sloan was working hard to hold off a competing rider but had to give way on the final lap, finishing a worthy second in the female category and 21st overall.

The final Walkers rider was Super Vet, Robert Earp, who managed to finish well with consistent laps, claiming 28th position.

Scott Kerr was the only member of Walkers to make it into the A race, a faster event for elite riders. The race opened up very early on with three riders working together to claim the podium places. Scott worked strongly on every lap to hold 28th place in a top class field.

Next Sunday’s cyclocross event is the league opener at Callendar Park, Falkirk.

The Scottish Championships, round 5 this year, are being held at Irvine Beach Park and organised by Walkers Cycling Club.