Fierce competition in Straiton struggle road race

Paul Rodwell, centre.
Paul Rodwell, centre.

Since the demise of The Davie Bell Road Race, Ayr Roads/Harry Fairbairn Cycling Club has continued its long tradition of promoting first class events that brings top competitors and visitors to the area.

On Sunday, sixty cyclists took part in The Straiton Struggle Road Race. The event was run over six laps of the nine mile circuit that takes in the picturesque villages of Straiton, Kirkmichael and Crosshill and covers 3,000 feet of climbing. The race catered for category 2,3 and 4 riders and from the start all knew that competition would be fierce. Ayrshire clubs were well represented, with the host club fielded two riders; Paul Rodwell and Fraser Campbell.

Young Martin Lindsay was forced to pull out of the race, due to injury. Paul was in good form from his recent Australian Pursuit placing. Fraser, was riding his first ever road race and was hoping his visit to the English Lakes would help him hold his own in a strong field.

The race got off to a fast start and after two laps, a strong bunch of the elite group of riders had formed a break, comprising of nine riders. Paul Rodwell was very much involved in the closely following main group. This formation continued for the next two laps and by the final lap, eight riders were in contention for podium places. Paul’s bunch were down on the break away and Fraser was behind, but doing well for his first venture into the road racing scene.

The break away group contained four Pro Vision Team riders. The leg sapping rise up past Crosshill Cemetery, saw Jason Roberts, Pro Vision and Scott Wardlaw, Pedal Power RT make a decisive break at Cloyntie Toll to take first and second podium places. They were followed by the rest of the lead group, where Rob Friel of Pro Vision took third place. The main bunch which included Paul Rodwell came in 1 minute 30 seconds down. Fraser rode in, after his baptism of fire and yet delighted with his first ever road race and a hard one at that.

Race Organiser, Michael Curran presented the prizes down to eighth place, as well as first junior and first category 4 rider.

Paul Rodwell was rewarded by having his name put on the coveted Davie Bell Road Race trophy for the first time.

Competitors and visitors alike, praised Michael for his organisation and in turn Michael took the opportunity in thanking the band of volunteers from Ayrshire Cycling Clubs, including Ayr Roads, Fullarton Wheelers, Veloclub Vitesse, Carrick Cycling Club, Walkers CC, Wallacehill CC and Scottish Cycling. Refreshments were served by Michael’s wife Jennifer, with home baking provided by The Buck Tearoom, Straiton, and the behind the scenes ladies of Ayr Roads.

In the club’s evening 10 mile TT on Thursday night, good conditions prevailed with six club members recording Personal Bests.

Calum MacDonald, recorded a pb and was fastest in a time of 22:04. Still riding a conventional road position, Calum will undoubtedly reduce his time significantly by using aero bars.

Other times were:

Craig Allison 22:53 pb

Harry Brawley 22:57 pb

Jody Gerrard 23:09

Toni McIntosh 23:32

Steven Maclean 23:40 pb

Duncan Macarthur 24:53

Ross Milvennan 25:43

John Gemmell 25:29

Jim Smith 25:52

Tony Garnett 26:27

Ayrshire riders also featured in the Scottish CTT 25 mile championships on Saturday. In perfect ‘float’ conditions Fullerton Wheelers ladies team of Aileen Clyde and Catherine Logan took team Gold, in individual times of 1:01:03 and 1:01:16. A truly stunning result for the Irvine Club. Aileen also secured a third podium place.

The best place Ayrshire rider was Kenny Armstrong of Carrick Cycling Club in an excellent time of 52:07 to take bronze medal in the championship. Overall winners were Jon Entwistle of George Town RT with a time of 50:29 and Mireille Captieux of Dooleys RT who took the ladies Gold in a time of 58:52.

Next week all Scottish Clubs will have representatives in the National 25 Mile Championship and Beth Macrae of Ayr Roads will represent Ayrshire in the Women’s National Road Race Championship.