The first race of the 2016 road season takes place on Ayrshire roads next Sunday - a two-up team time trial. Fullarton Wheelers have promoted the “icebreaker” for many years and as always the Irvine club are sure to put on a good event.
Ayr Roads/Harry Fairbairn Cycling Club has fielded the most teams in the event. Out of sixty teams, the Ayr Club has entered seven, including their ladies team of Toni McIntosh and Janet Erskine, both Scottish Gold medallists. In addition the Ayr club has two riders in composite teams. Scottish Circuit Road Race gold medallist Simon Woodliff of Ayr is paired with Chris McConnell of Loudoun RC and Michael Robb is paired with Mark Skilling of Icarus CC.
The event has attracted a full field of one hundred and twenty riders from all over Scotland.
It will be run over the Irvine By-Pass course on the A78, with the start and finish at Eglinton Park.
All leading Ayrshire Cycling Clubs will be represented with, Fullarton Wheelers, Velo Club Vitesse, Walkers CC and Loudoun Roads clubs representing the north of the county and Ayr Roads and Ayrodynamic Triathlon club representing South Ayrshire. As always there will be some friendly rivalry amongst the finest cyclists in Ayrshire.
Based on best performances, Ayrshire clubs are expected to do well, with the Loudoun pairing of Tony Scott and Marc Anderson hopefully among the top finishers. Likewise, Ayr Roads pairing of Kev Brown and Michael Curran should be equally as good, as should the Walkers CC pairing of Ian Anderson and David Baird. The outcome will be a benchmark for the early season events.
The overall winning team may however come from the composite pairing of Mark Skilling and Michael Robb of Ayr Roads. Both are Ayr Roads club record holders. While Mark, had an exceptionally good year last year, where he took a bronze medal in the Scottish BAR Competition, Michael had a quiet year, due to work commitments. On paper they have the fastest ‘10’ Mile times and are amongst the elite riders in the event. Both have been seeded accordingly and are the last team off.
In the ladies section Toni and Janet should do well, but they will be up against the Fullarton pairing of Aileen Clyde and Catherine Logan. It should be an interesting head to head amongst the Ayrshire ladies.
The other local composite pairs are the mixed team of Lorna Sloan and Andy Clapperton of Ayrodynamic Triathlon Club and husband and wife pairing of Brian and Jennifer Nicol of the Fullarton.
The Ayrshire clubs will nevertheless be up against strong teams from the Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow.
While some consider the icebreaker as a fun event, it also acts as a benchmark for riders to assess their performances against their winter gym and road sessions.
Provided Ayr Roads riders can refrain from too much celebration at their annual dinner and presentation the night before, they should do well in the overall placings.
On that note, the club’s annual dinner and presentation will be held on Saturday 20 February at the Savoy Park Hotel at 7 pm prompt.
Meanwhile on the same day, Ayr Roads will be represented in the fourth and final round of the Scottish Cyclo Cross Super Quaich series at West Lothian, where Brian Yates will be doing his best to enhance his placings in the overall standing of the series. Currently lying 11th out of 230 competitors in the series and the leading Ayrshire rider, Brian will be hoping to get within the top ten of the elite Scottish riders. He will be accompanied by Fraser Tait and Paul Gibson, both of whom will be hoping to improve their overall standing in the series.
Ayr Roads pair of Fraser Tait and Janet Erskine made the trip to Dunfermline on Sunday, where they competed in the St. Valentine’s Day MasCXacre cyclo cross, promoted by the Dunfermline CC. Janet finished 1st in her age group category and Fraser was 4th in his.
The club’s winter gym sessions have now stopped and club coach Scott Maclean is to be congratulated for organising these highly successful training programmes. Under his guidance club members of the racing fraternity are now focusing on criterium speed work. This involves twenty five mile of a three mile circuit at high speed. The programme is well supported with over twenty club members participating weekly, including the juniors, who are coming on exceptionally well.
Meanwhile, club members continue to enjoy the mid week and Sunday runs at a much leisurely pace. The mid week run took to customary south Carrick roads, by the valleys of the Girvan and Assel Waters to Pinmore, returning by Girvan and Kilkerran.
On Sunday, with glorious weather two groups headed southwards. One rode the Turnberry Circuit and the other headed to Girvan