On a typical Scottish spring afternoon of ‘Four Seasons in One Day’ Herbalife/Leisure Lakes’ talented 18 year-old English rider, Harry Tanfield fully justified the ‘Elite’ stamp on his license to win Kennoway Road Club’s David Campbell Memorial Race over 80 tough Fife miles around the Cults Hills.
Second was country man, team mate and fellow Elite rider, Tommy Bustard – the two having ridden clear of the survivors of the near day long break which proved to be the winning move, on the last of two finishing laps.
The last podium spot went to Dillon Byrne of Champion System/Maxgear who the two men in green shed on that final lap of the finishing circuit.
With 2013 results which include, 10th Heist Op Den Berg; 2nd Evergem Belzele and 8th Tourinne-Saint-Lambert Kermises in Belgium, Tanfield’s win would have come as no surprise if we’d done our homework.
The race goes back a long way, I hope Glasgow Wheelers don’t mind us borrowing from their website to explain the race’s early history:
“The race was first run more than 40 years ago and became the David Campbell Memorial in 1969, the talented, young Glasgow Wheeler having tragically died in a collision with a car in the 1968 edition of the event.
“The next four years saw the Wheelers make the race their own.
“In 1969 a rampant Billy Bilsland was laying the foundations for a five year pro career with Peugeot and Raleigh as well as honouring his club mate.
“In his last Scottish race before heading for France, he won all the primes, the king of the mountains and soloed to the victory.
“With versatile Sandy Gordon in second and Bilsland’s brother Ian in third it was a Wheelers whitewash.
“In 1970 it was Highlander moved south, Sandy Crawford who kept the trophy for the Glasgow men.
“The talented Crawford would subsequently race in France but never really lived up to his early promise.
“The following year saw Crawford second with Sandy Gordon taking the win on a very hard day.
“It was Gordon again in 1972 underlining the talent that saw him win Scottish titles in road, time trial and track events.”
VeloVeritas’s first sight of the race on its first lap was in glorious sunshine at the top of Cadgers Brae – scene of many a hill climb in the ‘good old days’ when you had five sprockets to choose from at the back, not an 11 speed cassette.
Six or seven were clear; we had Tanfield plus Veli-Matti Raikkonen (Granite City), Craig Adams (GSJ Cruise Racing), Callum Wilkinson (The Bicycle Works) and Andrew Whitehall (Velo Ecosse) in the lead group.
And already we were saying to each other; ‘that looks like that!’
Behind were another six or seven with Bustard leading the chase; we were a tad puzzled as to why he was chasing his team mate – but he obviously had the strength and confidence to get up to Tanfield and provide support.
There didn’t seem to be commitment or cooperation within the peloton – and sure enough, the two groups up front would never be seen again.
Cadgers Brae comes late on the lap, followed soon after by the ramp of Porters Brae, then the plunge down Langside Brae to Kennoway.
The lap starts in Kennoway with a long, long, heavy drag up to the old curling pond at Montrave before dropping off the Cults Ridge down to what used to the Fife ‘10’ course – the Kingskettle to Cupar Road.
A left hander announces the approach to Cadgers; but at least there was a tailwind – which also had the effect of making the ‘10’ course a killer.
For lap two we headed down Cadgers so we could see the race approach along the main road from Kingskettle; the two front groups had merged to give around 15 riders up front with the gap back to the peloton around 1′ 10″ – our initial impression had been proved correct.
You ignore the early break in Scotland at your peril.
One brave soul attacked out of the break – maybe it was the sight of Martin’s mega Nikon lens? – but a Glaswegian voice was on hand to offer immediate tactical guidance; ‘thurz anither two laps tae go, there’s nae pint in attackin!’
Shane Sutton couldn’t have put it better.
Messrs Ross Crook (Edinburgh RC) and Stuart Munro (East Kilbride) were trying to break the elastic out of the bunch; but two against 15 weren’t good odds – especially in that wind.
There was an air of Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow creeping in, with men all over the hill in ones and twos – and it was only going to get worse.
A stop for baguettes at the excellent ‘Fast n’ Fresh’ compromised our next sighting of the race on lap three, at Springfield Crossroads.
As Martin de-beetrooted his salad roll and I attacked my tuna baguette, the break whistled past.
Three stalwarts were in ‘No Man’s Land;’ we made them Kenny Riddle (Moray Firth), Scott McRae (Extreme Nutrition) and number 78 – the start sheet only went to 77, so more apologies.
The drive back to the foot of Cadgers saw us pass a lot of tired riders – the drag up from Kingskettle before the wee drop to the foot of Cadgers looks innocuous but into a strong westerly, it’s a sore one.
The top of Cadgers affords great views north to the snow topped Grampian foothills – and to the rain clouds swirling round the Lomond Hills.
We made eight survivors, with two Herbals and two Champions – after that it got messy, three, two, two then a much-reduced bunch of around a dozen.
On the final big lap the race hangs right between Cadgers and Porters to head through Star Village and then back to Kennoway before climbing the long drag of Langside Brae – the hill which has been descended three times in the opposite direction, on the main circuit.
Two laps are ridden, with the first ascent seeing a freezing squall sweep in just to make it all the more tempting to skip the second lap and head for the showers if you were out of the placings.
The hill is the scene of personal success for your scribe – not wishing to blow my own trumpet, but I won the Kirkcaldy and District Cycling Club Junior Road race Championship here in the Kennoway APR back in 1972; out foxing roadman/chancer Rab Speirs – but that’s another story. [There’s more about Rab in this article where he attempts to – shocker!- alter the outcome of a race. Editor.]
We made it seven over the top on the first wee lap with young Whitehall stretching his legs – a lap too soon, we thought; but you have to go with your instincts.