Kilmarnock Criterium: more than a walk in the park

Ayr Races might have been rained off but the weekend miseries didn’t stop another group of sports people from getting in the saddle.

The wet weather failed to dampen the spirits of the competitors who travelled from far and wide for Sunday’s criterium race series in Kilmarnock.

The event, now in its fourth year, is organised by Scottish Cycling and promoted locally by Walkers Cycling Club.

Howard Park was the venue for a day of close circuit racing, including the Scottish national series races for under 14s and under 16s as well as support races for youth riders and adults.

Many of the riders were using the event as a warm up for the Scottish Criterium Championships the following week.

Each race requires riders to complete as many laps as they can in a set time then continue for a number of add-on laps, the total distance dependent on the category of the race.

Three Walkers Cycling Club members took part, all supported by colleagues who were braving the rain to marshall the event.

Laura McFarlane, riding in her first ever road race, managed to stay on to finish the distance in the girls’ and women’s contest. She pushed on despite the wet and slippery surface and on occasion managed to force her way into the middle of the pack. A degree of cautiousness on the turns led to her losing ground but she did well to stay upright when many around her were crashing out.

Brothers Calum and Darren Ridout were riding in the men’s category 4 race. By the time of their race the weather had turned from bad to worse. The rain battered down but the action went ahead as the day’s racing was coming to a close. The two brothers rode steadily to finish their distance with Calum managing to generate a fast sprint for the line at the end.