2011 Scottish Champs – Killin
Killin in the name of!…..SDA Scottish Downhill Championships supported by Chain Reaction Cycles
Funny old race this- more like a Scottish race of old, rather than the 2011 Scottish Champs. A few factors contributed to this- the push up, open hillside venue, and depleted entries made for a friendly, lower-key Championships than in previous years, albeit impeccably organised by the usual suspects at the SDA. The reason for depleted numbers were due in part to the date clash with T in the Park, Megavalanche, Windham World Cup, 10 at Kirroghtree,etc. No doubt the push up didn’t help either!
Anyway, on to the track- pedal off of the new SDA start ramp and flat out into the first couple of corners/rocky drops. This section was over quickly before you were into one of the main obstacles of the weekend- the mud! Use your speed to batter through the gloop before the first main technical left-hander down a large rock drop. Cut inside and exit the corner in the muck or take a slow-in/fast-out outside-to-inside line and miss the sticky stuff? This lead you into the second rock drop where there were a few line options as well- how many people pinned the tight inside/inside line to shave a few seconds? Next up the muddy straight with the missing bus stop and into the next right hander. Lose time here and you made it hard for yourself as it was imperative to keep your speed through the river of flowing mud! A tight left hander took you into the hardest bit of the track.
Very steep, over drops and no chance to brake or scrub speed without landing on your arse further down the hill! Then brake heavily and over or around the big rock- which was faster? With times being tight many opted for the more difficult rock drop option even though the line was trickier into the next off-camber. This saw a few casualties over the weekend with marshalls constantly repairing the tapes and medics constantly repairing the riders. From here on it was a series of grassy turns, a small jump and more grassy turns into the finish line. All over quicker than a job at The News of the World, the fast boys had it licked in about 1 ? minutes. Was this the shortest SDA ever?
How about the winners and whiners then?- Being the Championships, foreign racers (i.e. non Scottish!) were limited to collecting points and weren’t eligible for the trophies.
Juveniles started us off with a win from Frazer McCubbing (Ae7 Bikes) who managed to put together two runs within 0.3s of each other. In second was Neil Stewart ahead of Rowan Carpenter in third, but with the “Scottish” bronze going to Adam Hughes.
Youth was a wholly Wilcox affair, with Stuart pipping Ross to the win with a blinding 1.30 second run, the i-Cycles pair just ahead of Morgan Gulland in third.
Women was won by Rachel Walker from Clitheroe, but Bex Reilly walked away with the Gold medal as the fastest Scottish lass. In Silver and Bronze positions were Rebecca Kennedy and Lottie Mallin-Martin respectively.
Vets now, and with Euro-champ Alastair MacLennan missing-in-action and Paul French injured, it was left to the others to fight it out. Pete Hoggan took the win from Neil Wilson, who admitted to “not feeling it” today. Third step on the podium was taken by Alan Turnbull.
Masters were next off with Jed Whitfield taking third(although being English meant that I got the bronze!) Second place was John Young who, with his knackered knee, was having a harder time pushing up than riding down, but in First Place with a storming 1.35 first run time was the Monster Bikes main-man and SDA stalwart Mark McIver on his new Lapierre.
The Junior category almost caused an upset when favourite and current man-on-fire Joe Connell (Montgenevre/Sunn) was deemed to have accidently cut the tape in his first run, leaving it all to do in his second run. He managed this, posting a 1.31- a couple of seconds up on second-place man Craig Shaw with Michael Turnbull rounding off the podium in third.
With the Senior Men , Expert and Elite all rolled into one class, it was all up for grabs, especially as some of the top names (Cathro,Barnes, Cunningham, Buchannan, Lamb et al.) were away at theWindham WC or Mega. Bronze medal went to Ben Cortis and in second place was The Cycle Jersey/Orange rider Chris Hutchens who couldn’t quite hold off charging Expert Devinci rider Dave Duggan (100% Scottish, honestly!!!) who is your 2011 Scottish Men’s Downhill Champion. Well done Dave.
Mention must go, however, to Stuart Jenkinson who posted the fastest time of the day with a blistering 1.26 but didn’t get a jersey/title on account of being born on the wrong (!) side of the border.
Well done to the SDA for putting on another good show (and for re-homing some lost ravers on Saturday night!) Are venues like this the future (or the past)?- Privately owned land, push up races? Have your say on the DWR forum.
Over and out (and as the french may say- “ ’mon le vibe! ”)
P.S.- cheers to my “Sherpa” Ben!
You can see loads more photos and get the results over at Roots and Rain