Oh! I I thought Evan Oliphant was talking about his teammate James McCallum congratulating him with a sloppy kiss on the cheek at the Scottish Cycling Super 6!
“That was horrid”, said the winner Evan, as I asked him moments after he crossed the line how he enjoyed it. “It was just like being back at the Rás, what with the rain – and those roads!”.
Professional Evan (Plowman Craven) had just outsprinted consistent Ross Creber (SIS— Trek) on the quiet country lane towards Cupar which rose slightly up over the last 300 metres to the finish line from Lundin Links.
The two of them had escaped the field on the 3rd – and last – ascent of the difficult, draggy Prime Hill towards Largo Ward, when the rain that had been threatening to spoil the ice-cream vans’ afternoon finally appeared.
The result was fair compensation for Evan’s misfortune in the first edition of the Duncan MacGregor Memorial event last year.
Together they chased down, caught and passed young Callum Wilkinson (thebicycleworks.com) who had lead on his own, after getting clear on the same hill on the 2nd of the 3 laps.
Gordon Murdoch (Pedal Power and winner of the previous race at Greenacres) grabbed third spot just ahead of teammate Gary Hand and Tom Anderson (Falkirk BC), these 3 arriving some 40 seconds after Evan and Ross, but well clear of the rest.
The day had started promisingly for us several hours ealirer, as we set off from Peebles with the sun trying it’s hardest to make an appearance. We wondered whether we should bring shorts “just in case”, however by the time we reached the race HQ at the Jax Health Club in Methil, Fife, it had clouded over quite a bit, and fleeces and hats were the order of the day.
Running two races on the same day is always going to be a challenge, and today the two races were being run simultaneously (the previous editions of the Super 6 ran the support race in the morning and the main event in the afternoon) which made the task even greater. The ‘B’ race set off 10 minutes after the ‘A’ race, which at least made the marshalling significantly more manageable.
Last year the event attracted 28 starters, but this time, thanks to James McCallum’s brainchild that is the Super 6 Series (only 1 big race being run on a particular day in Scotland, once a month), both the main event and the supporting ‘B Race’ were fully subscribed.
It’s a tribute to the organiser, Callum McGregor, and his team, that the races went ahead at all, as pleas for helpers and marshalls solicited almost no volunteers. Several of the marshalls were on double-duty, scooting across the parcours to make their other corner in time, and other positions were filled by Callum’s relatives and even his work-mates.
We helped out as well, with Gillian driving one of the service vehicles and leaving me to my own devices out on the course.
It was a hard race to cover, as the course consisted of 3 large circuits with a small, extra loop to be tackled halfway around the third lap.
As last year, the race really took shape over this extra loop section. Evan and Ross caught and dropped solo-escapee Callum, who was scooped up by the fragmented bunch shortly afterwards, as they worked together well to distance themselves from the chasers.
On the run-in to the finish, Gordon, Gary and Tom eased themselves away from the bunch, which subsequently split into 3 or 4 smaller groups over the final miles and very wet and undulating roads through Craigrothie and Montrave.
The photo-finish equipment operated by Bill Dunscombe that has been a feature of the series so far wasn’t really required, as Evan and Ross conducted a slow motion wind-up sprint that Chris Hoy and Craig MacLean would be proud of, with Evan raising an arm in victory 20 feet from the line.
What they said
Winner – Evan Oliphant
“That was just like being back at the Rás, what with the rain – and those roads – really horrid. I’ve had heavy legs since coming back from Ireland (Evan did a lot of work in the Rás for his teammate Simon Richardson, who held the Yellow Jersey for a few days, as well as getting two second places on stages and lying 2nd overall at one point) but despite that, I felt really good today right from the start.
“It took a while for the race to kick into life, and when Wilkinson went way on his own on the second lap, I kept trying to get across to him. The Pedal Power guys were closing things down but not really chasing themselves.
“I decided to attack the last time up the hill to Largo Ward, and told Ross what I was going to do: he looked to be going pretty well, and I wanted some company! We worked really well together and caught Wilkinson on the loop and dropped him fairly soon afterwards. I expected Ross to attack me on the run-in but he didn’t, but I was ok with that, I reckoned I could beat him in the uphill sprint.”
Asked what’s next on the agenda, Ev told us:
“I’ve got the Smithfield Nocturn next Saturday evening, James won that last year, and then the Brentwood Crit on the Sunday. After my win in the Sea Otter Classic, the team has been invited back to the States to do some more races before the season ends, so that should be good.”
As Gary Hand said as he freewheeled past us on his way back to the changing rooms: “Well done Evan Oliphant“.
SC Performance Programme – James McCallum
James has been out of action for the last 5 weeks, following an operation on his left shoulder.
“I’m very disappointed not to be doing the Smithfield next week – that’s great fun, racing under the lights, and it’s a superb race. It was great last year winning it in my new British Champs jersey.
“It certainly beats what I’ve been doing over the last few weeks – turbo sessions, 1 hour long. These really burst your head!. Still, I’ll be at the Smithfield and the Brentwood Crit with Evan next week – I’m doing ‘punditry’!”.
The ‘B’ Race
Organiser Callum McGregor was amazed to see the support race end in a large bunch sprint, with over 20 riders battling up the hill to the finish line. It would have been a more but for a crash which took down quite a few riders with several miles to go – 2 of whom couldn’t continue and piled into the HoneyStinger race support van, to be shipped back to the strip.
Niall Aitken (Pedal Power) took the victory with a powerful burst up the middle of the road, taking a length out of 2nd place James McPake (Falkirk BC), with Eddie Addis (Stirling BC) in 3rd.
The ‘B’ race completed 2 laps of the main circuit, and didn’t have to do the extra loop.
: The race seemed to be more a war of attrition, with riders slipping off the back of the bunch, rather than an attacking race where riders were able to get clear.
: With the climb and Hill Prime to Largo Ward coming so soon after the start, the pace and gradient proved too much of a shock to the system for around 25 riders, who reached the Sprint Prime at Ceres halfway around the first lap in several groups, up to 3 minutes behind the leaders.
Certainly, those riders that we spotted warming up before the race on their rollers had done their homework regarding the course profile.
1 Evan Oliphant Plowman Craven E 03:14:41
2 Ross Creber Science in Sport / Trek U23 / 1 same time
3 Gordon Murdoch Pedal Power RT E @ 37
4 Gary Hand pedalpower.org.uk/Endura RT E same time
5 Tom Anderson Falkirk BC V3 same time
6 Tim Allan GS Metro 2 @ 01:15
7 Stephen Russell EK Road Club 3 @01:19
8 Graham McGarrity Dooleys RT V1 @01:40
9 Alister Watt Granite City RT 1 same time
10 Stuart McManus Glasgow Wheelers U23 / 2 same time
11 Ross Crook Edinburgh RC 2 same time
12 Gary McCrae Pedal Power.org.uk/Endura RT 3 same time
13 Paul Rennie Dooleys RT 1 same time
14 Chris Thomson VC Astar/Anderside V2 same time
15 Neil Cameron Falkirk BC 2 same time
16 Aidan McIlroy Edinburgh RC same time
17 Callum Wilkinson Bicycleworks.com 2 same time
18 Barry Crumlish Glasgow Couriers/D.B. Develop 2 same time
19 John Kermode Dundee Thistle RC V2 same time
20 Keith Smith Glasgow Wheelers 3 same time
21 Scott Macrae Pedalpower.org.uk/Endura RT 2 same time
22 Velli-Matti Raikkonen Granite City RT 3 same time
23 Philip Brown Velo Ecosse 1 @01:46
24 Craig Hardie Hardie-Bikes.com 3 same time
25 Robert Hassan Rockhard Racing J3same time
26 Michael Nicolson Glasgow Wheelers 3 @01:48
27 Kenneth Armstrong Ayr Roads CC 3 @01:50
28 Jim Cusick Glasgow Couriers V2 @04:49
29 Steve McIntosh Granite City RT V2 same time
30 Steven Dunn Falkirk BC 2 same time
31 Micky Mallen GS Metro 2 @07:21
32 Paul McInally East Kilbride RC 2 @07:23
33 Callum Gough Onimpex RT -Bioracer Museeuw V3 @07:35
34 Andrew Matheson Musselburgh RCC V3 @10:14
35 Lewis Oliphant Equipé Velo Ecosse 2 same time
36 Derek Walker East Kilbride RC 3 same time
37 Arthur Doyle Dooleys RT 2 @13:31
38 Ben Abrahams Velo Ecosse 3 @15:29
39 Magnus Davidson Square Wheels Cycles J @20:24
40 James Fraser-Moodie Pedal Power RT 1 @21:27
41 Hamish Creber Sandy Wallace Cycles J2 @21:28
1 Niall Aitken Pedal Power/ Endura RT 3 01:57:49
2 James McPake Falkirk BC 3 same time
3 Eddie Addis Stirling Bike Club 4 same time
4 Robert Kennedy Glasgow Nightingale CC V40+ 4 same time
5 Graeme Cockburn V4 same time
6 Steven Robertson East Kilbride RC same time
7 Robert Cowie Aberdeen Wheelers V same time
8 Alastair McNicol Velo Ecosse J same time
9 Colin May Edinburgh RC – The Bicycleworks 4 same time
10 Paul French unattached 4 same time
11 Tim Blathwayt Edinburgh RC 4 same time
12 Douglas Young Stirling Bike Club/ Wheels of C same time
13 Graham Barclay Team Leslie Bikshop – Right Mov V3 same time
14 Liam Cowie Aberdeen Wheelers J same time
15 Bob Soutter Peebles CC V50+ 4 same time
16 Patrick Jean-Pierre Roux Edinburgh RC 4 same time
17 Ian Willcox Unattached V40+ 4 same time
18 George Findlater Elgin Cycling Club 3 same time
19 David Muir Fife Cycling 2000 4 same time
20 Guto Williams East Kilbride RC @4
21 Scott Bullivant unattached 4 same time
22 Barry Cranstoun East Kilbride RC 4 same time
23 Ollie Fox PedalPower.org.uk / Endura RT 4 @6
24 Niall Johnstone Stirling Bike Club J @12
25 Jed Martens Dunfermline CC 4 @51
26 Claire Thomas Edinburgh RC – The Bicycleworks W2 same time
27 Georges Avraam Edinburgh RC – The Bicycleworks V40+ 4 @55
28 Graeme Small East Kilbride RC V4 @02:36
29 Stevie Crowther Team Leslie Bikeshop – Right Mov 3 @05:42
30 Jeremy Greengrass Glasgow Nightingale CC 4 @06:30
31 Mark Jones Discovery Junior CC J same time
32 Chris Brown Dunfermline CC V40+ 4 @06:32
33 Paul Mcskimming Dooleys Cycles RT V4 same time
34 Bill Wilkie ERC 4 same time
35 Andrew Underwood Glasgow Wheelers 4 same time
36 Karl Mott Thebicycleworks.com 4 same time
37 Alex McAllister Ayr Roads / Harry Fairbairn CC V50+ same time
38 Lee Anderson East Kilbride RC 4 same time
39 Mark Finlay Edinburgh RC V4 same time
40 Terence McMahon Ivy CC 4 @06:36
41 Neil Crawford Dundee Thistle RC 4 same time
42 David Lamb Glasgow Wheelers V50+ 3 same time
43 Ken Jones Onimpex Bioracer RT V50+ 3 same time
44 Andrew Kilpatrick Fife cycling 2000 4 same time
45 Neil Pearson Dumfries CC @06:39
46 Keiran McCluskey Team Icarus 4 @06:46
47 Dougal Allan Edinburgh RC 4 @06:51
48 Andy Douglas Pedalpower.org.uk/Endura RT V4 same time
49 Tom McInnes Fife Cycling 2000 @16:44