Wednesday, 28 August 2013

SXC 5 / Scottish Championships Preview - Kirroughtree 1/9/13

The SXC and series sponsors Thomsons Cycles are excitedly looking forward to the series finale combining the 5th and final round of the 2013 Thomsons Cycles SXC Series and the 2013 Scottish Cross Country Championships. The event will be held on Sunday the 1st of September at the fantastic Kirroughtree 7stanes track including brand new trails for the 2013 race, lovingly crafted by Sam.

As this event is a combination event, the rules are essentially the same, however there are certain specifics which should be noted for the prize giving and results system which can be found here...

However, don't let the title of the Scottish Championships put you off! We still have all the usual categories and are not expecting you all to go at supersonic speed just because its the Champs! There will be the normal Open and Beginner categories and all people who are not eligible for the Scottish will still be able to enter their usual categories. 

It's shaping up to be a great event as the top Scottish riders compete, not only to secure their series position but also to have the honour of calling themselves Scottish Champion. 

One thing that has been shown time and time again is that you can take nothing for granted at this crucial stage of the Series.

Granted, some categories have already been settled for the winners. But most are still up for grabs and podium kudos for second and thirds will be hard fought at the new course at Kirroughtree. Full series standings leading up to the event can be found here...

Female Youth has been decided - congratulations to Elena Melton - Thomsons Cycles. And also to Gillian Pratt - Leslie Bikeshop (Female Master), Lisa Kamphausen - Ben Wyvis (Female Sport), Gregor Grant (Moray Firth CC)  (Male Grand Vet), Dave Mclean - Hetton Hawks (Male Super Vet) and Michael Dunabie - Pedal Power (Male Sport) who have all secured their Series titles.

In the Female Juv, Katie Allen (Thomsons Cycles) would seem to have it all wrapped up with 130 points, but there could still be a fly in the ointment from Ellie Park (Glasgow Riderz) sitting on 95, and with a round in hand.

In Female Junior, a finish from Yuka Gallagher (Ben Wyvis) would claim her title, but she will be hard pushed by Isla Short (WXC) following her outstanding success at Hadleigh Farm who needs a second to steal it.

10 points separate Anne Murray (Team Jewson) and Miranda Balfour (Peebles CC) in the Female Vet class. And with each having the same number of rounds – all to play for.
And will Fiona Paton (Ben Wyvis CC) be on the top step of the podium in Female Grand Vet? She needs a finish to secure and Fiona has never let us down in the past.

Female Elite should produce one of the most exciting finishes of the day. Morven Brown (Dales Cycles), sitting top, is challenged by Lee Craigie (Cannondale)– hot off her fantastic performance at Hadleigh. A win by Lee means that Morven needs a second place to secure her title – but will Kerry Macphee (Rock & Road Cycles) throw a spanner in the works? This will be one race to watch!

Five points separate Stephen Dent (Nevis Cycles) and Finn Crocket (Ben Wyvis) in the Male Juv so it looks like this class will be decided on the day – who’s it to be, boys?

And Mark McGuire (Team Bicycles) looks safe in Male Youth – but with a race in hand Calum Magowan (Peebles/Alpine Bikes) could still steal it. A win from Calum means Mark needs at top ten finish to head the podium.

It looks like a Club outing for Ben Wyvis in the Male Juniors, all three top places held by Callum Russell, Iain Paton and Ryan Ferne. With just 26 points separating them, any one of them could grab the title in this final race – have you been training together, guys?

Team Leslie are in a similar position in the Male Vets, occupying three of the top four places. With just 10 points and three races each, Damien Slorach and John McCaffery are the main contenders for gold and silver, but Kenny Kentley (Velo Ecosse) and Gary Macrae (Leslie Bikeshop) could still pull a late one. Definite podium positions hang on this race.

With just three races each, top three riders in the Male Master will be battling it out for podium places. Ewan Gronkowski(Leslie Bikeshop) , Paul Carmichael (Squadra Porcini) and Roger Campbell-Crawford (Thomsons Cycles) will all be vying for top place – this is where punctures, mechanicals, offs and dnf’s can make all the difference!

In the Elite men's race, Rob Friel (Santa Cruz) leads by 33 points, however with 35 points for the win, nearest rival Dougie Shearer (Innerleithen MTB) will be ready to pounce if Friel has any risk of a dnf!

So, it seems incredible that with four gruelling races under our belts, so much hangs on the final round in Dumfries-shire. Can this new course throw up a few surprises?

Will Judgement, Hissing Sid and Stairway to Heaven call the tune? Or will pre-ride, determination, experience, stamina and luck reign supreme?

They think its all over?.................not by a long chalk!

In the series standings for the Teams competition, our Highland contingent, Ben Wyvis CC have blown all the other teams out the water and have long since tied up the teams series! The rest of the podium spots will come right down to the wire at Kirroughtree with Team Leslie Bikeshop and Mukyriderz battling with Team Thomsons Cycles for the remaining two steps on the teams podium. We'll no doubt be seeing large entries from these three teams as they try to gain the competitive advantage over their rivals. Check out the full team series standings following round 4 here...

So, we hope to see you all there and on fine racing form! For spectators, as you can see, there's going to be a lot of excitement and it will be a fantastic day out with our regular caterers, the Grange Kitchen providing delicious food. Make sure you head down and enjoy the racing and enjoy being part of this excellent event.

Good luck and race fast!

Friday, 9 August 2013

Scottish Championships Rules & Regulations

Below is listed some very important information regarding the final round of the 2013 SXC Series at Kirroughtree on the 1st of September, which incorporates the Scottish XC Championships. For new and old competitors alike, it's worth having a wee read and making sure that you are totally clear with how the event works and the specifics of the rules.

1. It is timed and staged as a usual SXC race would be. All categories will start at their usual times and there will be no segregation on the start line for 'champs entrants' and 'non-champs entrants'. EVERYONE who races will be given a SXC placing, both individually for Kirroughtree as an event in it's own right, for their series position and for the team scores, as would be the usual situation.

2. Scottish Championships eligibility. The following is an excerpt from the Scottish Cycling rules regarding the Championships;

"18.1.2 All SCU Championships shall be open
to: -
(a) SCU/BCF members (members of clubs affiliated to the SCU)
(b) Scottish Nationals (persons born in Scotland)
(c) Scottish Residents (persons who have lived in Scotland for three of the last five years)
(d) Persons who have at least one parent who was born in Scotland.

Persons in sections (b), (c) and (d) must be members of the UCI recognised Cycling Federation of their country of residence.

18.1.3 Competitors in all Scottish Cycling
Championships other than Time Trials and
Team Time Trials are required to have a
full BC/SC or UCI racing licence."

In short, you must have a FULL British Cycling race licence (thus requiring the Silver or Gold level of membership). From the (a)-(d) section, at least one of these criteria MUST apply to you, and you MUST have a race licence as stated in section 18.1.3

3. Your race licence (if you are competing in the Championships) WILL be checked at sign-on. If you are unable to bring it, please try and remedy this before the Champs, and failing that, contact us on the usual email address ( so that we are aware of the situation.

4. Regular series/Championships placings will be carried out on two podiums, though sometimes we don't need to do totally separate ones if the top-3 all have licences and are Championship eligible. So, for arguments sake, say that the Masters category result is as follows;
1. Robert Robertson (BC licence no. 123456)
2. Jimmy Jimmerson (no race licence)
3. Donald MacDonald (BC licence no. 123457)
That will be the SXC series event result for Kirroughtree. Those three riders will also receive the usual series points awarded to their positions. However, for the Scottish Championships, poor old Jimmy is not eligible, so we look to 4th place. Your Scottish Championship result would therefore be;
1. Robert Robertson (BC licence no. 123456)
2. Donald MacDonald (BC licence no. 123457)
3. Magnus Magnuson (BC licence no. 123458)

5. If you wish to be eligible for the Championship race, you MUST race in the category shown on your British Cycling race licence. 

6. You must have a great time on the fantastic Kirroughtree course and cross the finish line with a smile on your face ;)

Hopefully this has cleared up some of the questions, and you all know what you need to do to be ready for the Championships. We will have copies of this at sign-on so you need not worry about confusion on race day. We're looking forward to the event and can't wait to see you all down there super fit after a summer of training!

Friday, 26 July 2013

British Championships at Cathkin - A Scottish Perspective

The British Championships is the one day of the year in the cycling calendar that every racer looks towards. It's the one event that they will always target, that everyone would love the honour of wearing that red, white and blue hooped jersey. Even for non-podium hopefuls hopes are high and the pressure is on. For all us Scots, these expectations multiplied ten-fold as the Championships had once again returned north of the border. On Saturday the 20th and Sunday the 21st July, the top cross-country mountain bikers in Britain headed to Cathkin Braes, the 2014 Commonwealth Games course to battle it out over multiple laps in scorching conditions. Swathes of Scottish riders took part, showing strength and depth in every field and fully taking advantage of the home crowds, with many spectators creating a world-class atmosphere. The course was deceptively tough, with an apparent lack of 'techinical' features or big climbs, however come race day, Cathkin was a true leg and lung tester, and praised for having a little bit of everything that made for exciting racing. To name absolutely every Scottish rider who took part here would create a report which would be pages and pages long - podium'ers will be mentioned here - follow the link to the full results to check out how everyone else got on too.

The first set of Championship races came on the Saturday when the Under-12's took to a shortened version of the main course - it was still a very long loop! First Champion was young Eilidh Gronkowski, aged only 3years old who took the win in the Under 8's category. Eilidh was soon followed in by older brother Gavin, also riding for Mukyriderz, who equalled her result in the Under 8 boys field. Next up were the Under 10s where Iona Aldridge took the win for Streathdearn MBC in the girls class. In the boys, Finton Price and Gregor Robb took 2nd and 3rd place, respectively, giving their all on a tough course in the midday sunshine. In the Under 12 girls race, it was total Scottish domination on the podium with Anna Flynn from Edinburgh road club taking the top spot ahead of Niamh Doherty and Anna Shackley, both from Glasgow Riderz. Jamie Johnston from Thomsons Cycles continued his winning form by winning the Under 12 boys race, followed in by Charlie Aldridge. These young ones were all so inspiring to watch the joy they took, not only from winning, but from being out on their bikes and taking part in such a big event.

It was an early start for the Juvenile and Youth riders who were off on the 9.30am gun. Large crowds of parents gathered around the start finish area to cheer on the riders and provide encouragement. A fantastic race, moving consistently clear to build a very comfortable advantage, brought Erika Allen (Thomsons Cycles) home to take a well-deserved victory in the Youth category. For a long time after the finish Erika could be seen with an expression of total shock and tears of joy in her eyes, a Champions jersey means so much to these young racers. The Youth boys category was not so clean-cut however with an epic battle between early leader, Harry Johnston (Thomsons Cycles) and Calum MaGowan (Peebles CC). These two boys battled back and forth over three laps, barely separated by more than a tyre length. On the finish straight Calum broke clear to take the win by only 4seconds to claim the champions jersey. A fantastic morning of racing and a great start for Scottish riders with our two Champions being backed up by many other strong performances throughout the youth and juvenile fields.

Next off were those at the other end of the age spectrum. The male categories for Master and older headed out on course just as the sun was breaking through the early morning grey sky. Again, there were large numbers of Scottish riders in these categories with fantastic performances from all these racers. In the Veteran 45 category, Team Leslie Bikeshop showed their strength with 2nd place going to Damien Slorach and John McCaffery taking 3rd. Gregor Grant (Moray Firth CC), a previous British Champion, replicated the feat and will be wearing the Grand Veteran Champions jersey for this coming year. There was yet another Scottish Champion in the Super Veteran category with John Shirley (West Highland Wheelers) coming in less than 20 seconds ahead of the next finisher in a hard fought race.

At the back of midday, it was time for the Womens 17+ categories to set off, with many different fields taking to the course in the hot sun. And, yet again, Scotland brought back another British Champion with world-class racer Lee Craigie (Cannondale) putting in an excellent performance to take the victory in the Senior category. In an strong field, it was an excellent result for Lee who will have the honour of wearing the British Champions jersey at all XC events she takes part in for the next year. With all her family and friends watching and cheering her on, it was a fitting result for this girl from Glasgow who is building her performances to qualify for the 2014 Commonwealth Games. After that, there were three excellent 2nd places for Scottish riders in tough categories. Firstly, Isla Short (WXC) had a great race in the junior category to finish 2nd with an extremely comfortable margin over 3rd place. Gillian Pratt (Team Leslie Bikeshop) led for the majority of her 4 lap race but was just pipped at the post by less than a minute to take a well-deserved 2nd, ahead of fellow Scot, Katie Carmichael (Hervelo). Finally, the ever-smiling Anne Murray (Team Jewson/Thule/Kinesis/CNP/MI Racing-Ride - longest team name ever?!) came in 2nd Veteran female with another strong result following a great season so far. 

Last up were the Male 17+ categories of the Seniors, Under 23s and Juniors. In the Senior field, young Grant Ferguson (Superior Brentjens), took the victory in a race filled with Olympians, and men with many more years and experience than him. As part of a season involving much international travel, the home crowd including family and friends supported Grant all the way to the finish, and just as impressively, he was the only rider to do a sub-14minute lap of the course. Grant rode a cool and consistent race to finish almost half a minute ahead of nearest rival Oli Beckingsdale in what was a good tester for next year's Commonwealth Games. In the junior category, which is filled with promising young riders, there were Scots in 2nd and 3rd place with fantastic finishes from Iain Paton (Ben Wyvis CC) and Stuart Wilcox (Team Scott UK).

Overall, it was a fantastic showing by all the Scottish riders who took on - or as it turned out, were - the best cross country mountain bikers in Britain. Well done to everyone who took to the Cathkin course over the weekend, regardless if you were on the podium or in last place, just taking part in such a big event on home soil is an experience to cherish. 

We'll see you all again on the 1st of September at Kirroughtree for the Scottish Championships - keep those fast legs 'till then!

Follow this link to the British Cycling website to see the full results;

And scroll down for the podium shots....

The young Gronkowski's celebrate
Eilidh - Under 8 Champion
Gavin - Under 8 boys Champion

Iona on the top spot in the Under 10s

Scottish girls lock out the Under 12 podium - Anna, Niamh and Anna 
Finton (2nd) and Gregor (3rd) in the Under 10s
Jamie celebrates victory in the under 12s ahead of Charlie

Erika on the top spot - Champion!!

Calum in 1st just ahead of Harry

The Scottish riders who came out on top in the Youth races with those special stripy jerseys
Erika - the joy of winning

Junior boys with Iain and Stuart on the podium

Gillian in 2nd and Katie in 3rd 
Junior girls featuring Isla
Anne in 2nd in the Vet women

Lee celebrates the Senior women's win
Grant on the top spot in the Senior race

Champagne victory for Grant

Your Champions in the Senior categories - and both Scottish! Well done Grant & 

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Getting Organised for 2014

The SXC committee and Scottish Cycling are committed to continue the success of the 2013 series into 2014 and create a great series to develop our riders.

The series has a 7% growth on last year and feedback hasindicated that riders are enjoying the courses however we can always look to improve.

Following on from our successful ‘Looking Forward to 2014’ meeting we would like to take this opportunity to outline the ideas put forward at that meeting, from facebook and individual emails to create a ‘wishlist’ for the 2014 series.

We would then like clubs to give their ideas into how they can deliver their round to fit, as best as possible, to our ideas.

We also have a list of dates which we would like clubs to give an indication into what would suit them best.

For more information download the 'SXC Getting Organised for 2014' full document, following the 'Looking Forward to 2014' link from the SXC website downloads section 

Please share this information with your club-mates and anyone who you think may be interested. We look forward to working with you to bring you the best series yet in 2014!

Saturday, 20 July 2013

British Champs Rider Bio - Morven Brown

Well, here's one for myself! I'm seriously looking forward to the Champs, especially as they're in Glasgow. This season has been a bit of a slow developer on the British level for me, so hopefully the results will keep going upwards at the Champs this weekend. I set off with the Senior women, in my first year in this category, at 12.30pm on the Sunday, so if you see me, give me a wee shout on or say hi.

Thank you in advance of all your support of all the riders at this event. Good luck to absolutely everyone who is racing, Scottish or not, the crowds will get behind you all! And hope that all the spectators enjoy the weekend of bike racing and sunshine.

Name : Morven Brown

Race category : Senior Women

Club/Team : Dales Cycles

Bike : Specialized Fate 29'er

Aim for the Cathkin National Champs : To do my absolute best, and hopefully get top-15

Best result of 2013 so far : 12th place at the British Series race at Margam Park

Where/when was your first ever race : Alvie Forest at Aviemore in 2003

Favourite Scottish MTB trail : Old-skool Learnie, Golspie or Innerleithen.

Best things about being a MTB'er : Being able to eat all the food I want after training!! I really enjoy the social side to riding and racing too, getting to see my friends at races is good.

Little known fact about yourself : I can solve a Rubik's cube in under 3 minutes!

British Champs Rider Bio - Dave Henderson

Dave is one half of the due of Scots, who along with others, ride for the extremely distinctive GT Muc-Off Racing. You will most definitely recognise his kit when you see it - it's the black and bright yellow and pink one! Dave is a great racer, and despite a tough season this year, he's been travelling over to Europe to compete against the world's best. Here's hoping that he can pick up a great, well-deserved, high placing this weekend on the cracking Cathkin course. He'll set off on the first gun at 3pm on Sunday.

Good luck Dave!!

Name: Dave Henderson

Race category: Elite

Club/team: GT Muc-Off Racing

Aim for Cathkin National Champs: To be happy with my ride 

Best result of 2013 so far: This has not been the best season for me so far. I hoping to turn it around this weekend

Favourite Scottish MTB trail: Tweed Valley, Kirroughtree, Badaguish - so many to choose from! 

Best thing about being a MTBer: Having fun. Also, the places you go and people you meet 

Where and when did you start racing: first race was SXC series at Laggan in 2007 

British Champs Rider Bio - Stuart Wilcox

Meet Stuart Wilcox, yet another one of this batch of extremely fast Juniors that we've got here at the SXC. He's a friendly guy, who is always up for racing well and having some fun on his bike. He's been having a good, steady season this year in a very strong British field. Make sure you give him all the support you can, he is the one in theWhite, black and yellow of Team Scott - just look out for the blonde hair under the helmet to tell his apart from his teammate Nick Craig!. He'll be setting off at 3pm on the Sunday at Cathkin, giving him the chance to test his skills against the senior riders too.

Good luck Stuart!!

Name: Stuart Wilcox
Race category: Junior
Club/Team: Scott UK
Bike: Scott Scale 900 RC
Aim for the Cathkin National Champs: A place on the podium would be nice!
Best result of 2013 so far: British XC Sherwood Pines - 6th
Where/when was your first ever race: Glentress, back in 2007
Favourite Scottish MTB trail: Hard to choose, but the xc loop at Innerleithen never fails to put a smile on my face.
Best things about being a MTB'er: Being able to see amazing places from a different perspective, and realising that with the right company, bikes can be pretty fun!

Little known fact about yourself: I chose to study English at university... A choice that not many seem to empathise with!