Tuesday, May 28, 2024

The David Bell Memorial Road Race 2010 goes to Evan Oliphant

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HomeRaceRace ReviewsThe David Bell Memorial Road Race 2010 goes to Evan Oliphant

Another race, another Endura clean sweep on a glorious day for the David Bell Memorial Road Race at picturesque Straiton; Evan Oliphant winning solo from team mates Ross Creber and Gary Hand; these two crossing the line hand in hand to remind us of their team’s spirit – as if we’d forget?

Evan Oliphant
Evan is deservedly happy with this win.

At the start there was a bit of fat to chew unbeknownst to us, Stuart McGregor (Dooleys) had punctured on lap one of the Nationals, which makes his seventh place all the more solid…

Evan Oliphant
The lovely church at Straiton.
Evan Oliphant
The first dram was poured at the Black Bull in 1766.

McGregor’s team-mate Paul Rennie ‘had a bad week at work‘ to blame for chucking the National Road Race…

Evan Oliphant
Comeback man John ‘Shorty’ Young.

John Young (Velo Ecosse) was second in his first race for 18 years yesterday and Davie Lines (Endura) was fresh off the plane from London and the Smithfield Nocturne where MotorPoint’s Ian Bibby won despite Jack Bauer (Endura) being on Incredible Hulk form.

Evan Oliphant
Our first sight of the race, and Evan is stirring it up already, with Wilkins and Hand.

Our first sight of the race came just shy of Daily, the sun was hot but there was a stiff head breeze – Oliphant, Gary Hand (Endura) and the green spotty jersey of best climber on the back of Stirling BC’s Robin Wilkins with aforementioned ‘Stuarty’ McGregor in hot pursuit and the bunch’s tyres swishing not too far behind.

Evan Oliphant
Wilkins leads the two Endura Pros.

We took the short cut over the Hay Yards climb, emerging on the wee road to the foot of the Nick – where a stray herd of cows was enjoying the roadside grass.

We tried to do our bit by getting hold of the farmer but there must have been an alien abduction, the farm was as quiet as the grave.

Not much else for us do except hope the farmer appears, and press on to the Nick – but I’m sure there must be a BC rule which covers; ‘bovine issues rogue; dealing with (refer to sub section 7 for methane risk assessment code).

Evan Oliphant
Ed does love his signposts.

It was blowy at the top of the Nick with a screaming tail wind for the riders.

Rab Wardell (Glasgow Wheelers), was denied a ride in the race but was grinding up the climb in a big gear, doing ‘hill repeats’ – good time trial training, Rab.

Evan Oliphant
Rab trains on the climb.

First up were Oliphant and Wilkinson; ‘no bottle this lap, I’m fine,’ said Evan to Martin, which would indicate that he wasn’t going that deep.

Paul Rennie lead the chasers at 10, maybe 15 seconds with Robbie Hassan (Glasgow Wheelers) there too.

The two leaders’ team-mates, Lines and Creber were well back and from first to last rider there were more than ten minutes – a Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow job.

Evan Oliphant
Davie Lines pulls his group up the Nick.

Albeit Lines worked his way back up through to do sterling work for Oliphant on lap two.

Evan Oliphant
Nearly at the top of the Nick.
Evan Oliphant
Andy Mathieson.
Evan Oliphant
Andrew Davies.

Perhaps there was a chance of regroupment off the descent; but Tairlaw comes along all to quickly off the base of the Davie Bell memorial.

“Plan A” for us had been to chase the race over Tairlaw and take pictures at the top; that almighty pothole we whacked with the Fiesta on the climb of the Nick saw to that idea – we had a wheel to change.

Evan Oliphant
Our plans, like our wheel rim, take a knock.
Evan Oliphant
Veteran track stalwart, Vic Possee guided us to the Davie Bell Memorial cairn.

If you’ve read our Davie Bell pieces before then you’ll know that he was a cyclo-tourist who loved this corner of Scotland with a passion and wrote about it as ‘The Highwayman’ in the Ayrshire Post.

His columns were so popular that they were compiled into book form, and you can read a biography of the man on the Ayr Roads CC site.

The memorial cairn has a relief in bronze of the ‘hills he knew so well’ – the view across the gentle folds of green is special and the sound of the stream which gurgles down the side of the cairn to accompany the bird song all contribute to making this an idyllic spot.

Evan Oliphant
The Davie Bell Memorial – a lovely spot.

“Plan B” then – catch the B Race and drive carefully back ‘against’ the race to the Nick.

First down was Keith Laird (Glasgow Couriers), clear and looking strong with one chaser then a wee group just behind, with 52 year-old Stevie Hazlett in there.

Evan Oliphant
Keith Laird, B Race leader, then winner.

Then that it was ones and twos; after a fair wait we decided to head on up the hill…

But there were still riders on the road – we had the headlights on, kept tight to the left and gave wee warning ‘peeps’ as we saw riders coming down the hill.

Our technique must have been OK; most riders gave us a nod or a wave.

We were just remarking on what a polite lot those B Race riders were when a gentleman from the Glasgow Wheelers hove into view – many, many minutes down; ‘get tae f**k off the road! For f**k’s sake! ‘ he bellowed through our open window.

Nice one, that kind of stuff is guaranteed to endear our sport to the general public.

We didn’t have to wait too long on the Nick – a lone rider ahead.

No prizes for guessing – Evan.

Evan Oliphant
Evan climbs the Nick for the second time, in solitude.

He took a bottle from Martin and gave me a shout; ‘time trial, today!