Irvine showed once again on Sunday that it is the top location in Scotland for cyclocross.

The plaudits have been pouring in to the organisers, both in person and through social media, for the annual seaside cycle which has riders scrambling over long grass and ploughing through deep sand pits.

Five hundred of them descended on Irvine Beach Park to fight it out over a new course with new features, including an early-circuit zig zag climb and several mini-dippers as well as the fearsome Big Dipper.

Walkers Cycling Club, the Kilmaurs-based oufit which involves itself in all kinds of bike activity, has now been running this event for eight years.

Over time, cyclocross devotee Neil Walker and his understudy Scott Kerr, have worked hard to develop a course that keeps the riders coming back for more, year after year.

The Ayrshire event attracted a record turnout, as was expected with the immense on-going growth of cyclocross racing all over Scotland. Irvine, though, has always been a crowd-puller because of the proximity of the sea and the use of an area of rich, rolling parkland which is a perfect base for the sport.

Conditions were perfect for racing with the icy cold November air ensuring the ground was firm with some yield in it. The sun did come out now and again to raise spirits further, adding to the usual CX camaraderie and enthusiasm around the venue.

Winners of Scottish Cycling’s south west regional CX categories also received their medals at the end of the proceedings. Podium placings were: men – 1. Brian Yates (Carrick CC), 2. JP Baxter (Ayr Burners), 3. Tim Dyer (Walkers CC); ladies – 1. Janet Erskine (Ayr Roads CC), 2. Catherine Logan (Fullarton Wheelers), 3. Lorna Sloan (Walkers CC).

Raleigh SCX Series 2016, 5th round results (race times (with laps) and positions of local riders)  

Youth – 15. Harry McGarvie, Walkers CC (5, 37.18).

Women, Vet 50+, Juniors – 37. Russell Mowat, Walkers CC (6, 46.06); 52. Scott Russell, Walkers CC (6, 47.57), 62. Catherine Logan, Fullarton Wheelers (6, 49.41); 68. Peter Forsythe, Walkers CC (5, 42.37); 79. Lorna Sloan, Walkers CC (5, 44.07); 109. Fiona Walker, Walkers CC (4, 47.55).

Vet 40+ – 50. Bryan McCutcheon, Walkers CC (6, 44.35); 64. James Goldie, Walkers CC (6, 45.35); 74. Lindsay McGarvie, Walkers CC (6, 47.53); Neil Kinnaird, Dunlop CC (6, 49.56); 94. Henry Peterkin, Walkers CC (6, 51.20).

Senior Open – 10. Brian Yates, Coylton CC (10, 1.04.02); 17. Neil Walker, Walkers CC/Northsports/Kinesis UK (9, 58.40); John-Paul Baxter, Ayr Burners (9, 1.01.10); 32. Tim Dyer, Walkers CC (9, 1.02.37); 47. Kevin Pugh, Ayr Burners (8, 58.37); Dave Walker, Fullarton Wheelers (8, 59.13); 55. John McCracken, Loudoun RC (8, 1.02.43); 57. Calum Ridout, Walkers CC (8, 1.03.24).

 Photos courtesy of Susan Walker and Donnie Briggs