Bank holiday Sunday attracted 60 racing cyclists to South Ayrshire, where Ayr Roads/Harry Fairbairn Cycling Club hosted the Straiton Struggle Road Race.
This event is part of the South West of Scotland Road Series Championships and is open to category 2, 3 and 4 roadmen and women.
The field also included the best road racing juniors in the country and one lady rider. This year’s race covered five circuits of a 9 mile loop around the outskirts of the picturesque villages of Straiton and Kirkmichael and through the centre of the ancient village of Crosshill.
With over 2,400 feet of elevation taking in the Blairquhan Summit riders faced a fast race with the energy sapping climb from Crosshill to Blairquhan.
In perfect weather the race got off to a flying start. After the first lap a group of 11 broke from the main field, achieving a gap of 30 seconds. Over the next three laps, which were averaging 19 minutes per lap, the gap extended to 1 minute 40 seconds, with the group reduced to 7.
On the last lap all seven were in contention, but up and coming junior Stephen Dent of Spokes Racing Team showed extraordinary strength for a junior to pull a bike length clear of Richard MacDonald (Pro Vision) to take the sprint finish. Walter Hamilton (Veloclub) was third.
Ayr Roads riders Calum MacDonald and Greg Templeton finished in the main pack, with Calum winning the bunch sprint. Unfortunately, Simon Woodliff of the promoting club punctured.
Shani Bloch-Davidov, the only lady rider finished in the main pack. Shani from Israel now rides for Pedal Power RT. The event was hailed as a huge success by the competitors and the large turnout of spectators and supporters alike. A member of Straiton Community volunteers also offered her congratulations to organiser Scott Maclean for bringing the event to Straiton and the surrounding villages and welcomed a return for Ayr Roads next year.
Thursday evening saw six club members compete in the 10 mile Time Trial on the Loans course. Not an evening for fast times, which was made worse by delays at the turn roundabout.
Michael Curran was the fastest of the evening in a time of 23 minutes 13 seconds, followed by Alastair McGibbon in a time of 23:17. Other times were: Jody Gerrard 24:18; Calum MacDonald 24:23; Toni McIntosh 25:16; Duncan McArthur 25:31
Two young Ayr riders deserve special mention this week. Young Miren Basabe Kerr riding her first ever open race for the club as a junior held her own in the Muirkirk Criterium series, hosted by East Kilbride CC, but a puncture spoiled her chances.
Alloway school boy Ollie Kelly took his first win of the season in the youth’s criterium at Ingleston.
The senior citizens of the club are a truly amazing bunch. Their midweek run last week held in fine weather saw them leaving Prestwick, taking in the North Ayrshire roads by Dalry, then across to Largs via the Hayley Brae. No stop here - the group took the Brisbane Glen road over to Loch Thom, a distance of 80 miles.
This section of the club carries on a long tradition of Ayr Roads, where tourism still features prominently in the club’s activities. It is not all about racing! These club members are also part of the hard core of volunteers who turn up week after week to assist with time- keeping and marshaling duties. Ayr Roads is indebted to them.
Saturday 4th June will see Ayr Roads CC host the Scottish National 25 Mile Time Trial Championship on the Irvine course. Ayr Roads pin their hopes on Kenny Armstrong and the ladies team of Toni McIntosh, Lynne Wardrop and Janet Erskine.