Thursday, July 18, 2024

The VeloVeritas Years – 2014: Trackside at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games


HomeOtherThe VeloVeritas YearsThe VeloVeritas Years - 2014: Trackside at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games

VeloVeritas were there with our cameras to cover the largest multi-sport event ever held in the country; the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

We were roadside for the Time Trials for men and women which reached out into the countryside around the city, along with thousands of other cycling fans we enjoyed the fabulous men‘s and women‘s MTB racing in the Cathkin Braes parklands.

We grab a moment with old pals and teammates Chris, Craig and Pete (taking the shot).

It’s almost time for the Commonwealth Games again, this time around they’re being held in Australia’s Gold Coast, on the eastern edge of the country and this edition will be the first time the men and women compete in the same number of events. In 2014 though, all the excitement was around the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, the third time Scotland had played host to the huge number of athletes from around the world.

We spent four days working hard trackside at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome with particular highlights for us being two Gold medals for our friend Craig Maclean and his stoker Neil Fachie in the tandem events and the continuing progression of Dundee’s Mark Stewart (taking everything New Zealand’s Tom Skully could throw at him in the Points Race), and an absolutely fascinating slow-boil, thoroughly drenching, city-centre based Road Race which saw Geraint Thomas prevail.

A special moment was catching up with old pals Craig and Chris (being rushed around the velodrome which bears his name, with minders and hosts, as a guest VIP). Together with Pete Jacques being there in a track-maintenance capacity, it was like a City of Edinburgh Racing Club ‘class of ’96’ reunion.

* * *

This article first ran on 26th July, 2014

Commonwealth Games Glasgow

Australia had another great day at the Sir Chris Hoy velodrome for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, collecting another five medals to add to the previous two days haul of ten, putting them top of the cycling table with six more than any other country.

For the second day in a row, the Men’s Para Tandem provided one of the most memorable moments.

This time it was the Sprint competition and again it was the Scottish pair of Neil Fachie and Craig MacLean, winning the final two-matches-to-one and celebrating with their families whilst the crowd joined in singing to them, who brought the proceedings to a halt.

There was controversy in the Men’s Points race as riders showed the event is in fact a contact-sport, colluded and were disqualified.

There were some spills too; Scottish sprinter Jenny Davis showed real guts, crashing then minutes later remounting and contesting the minor final as if nothing had happened.

Craig MacLean and Neil Fachie (Scotland) with their second golds in two events. Photo©Martin Williamson
Jenny Davis joins the others at the start of the Women’s Sprint Minor Final. Photo©Martin Williamson
Moments later Jenny is on the floor, having crashed hard in the early laps. Photo©Martin Williamson
Chatting after the event, Jenny plucks out a sizeable splinter from her leg. Photo©Martin Williamson
Pete Jacques (r), Track Maintenance and Commissaire David Menzies (c) check for damage (that, or else they’re competing in the final of the Moonwalking event). Photo©Martin Williamson

* * *

Men’s Para-Sport Sprint B2 Tandem

Neil Fachie piloted by Craig MacLean (Scotland) took their second gold medal in two days by winning the Para Sport Tandem Sprint in a thrilling three-race final against Kieran Modra and Jason Niblett (Australia).

The Aussies surprised the Scots in the first ride by accelerating early and forcing a lengthy chase, the Scottish pair having to go the long way round and running out of track before the line.

Modra and Niblett tried the same tactic in ride two but MacLean was ready for it and leapt onto their rear wheel, following it with only a few inches to spare – not easy on a tandem, let alone on a track and at race speed.

With a couple of laps to go the Scots pushed on and over the Australians, showing their superior power and making it one-all, meaning the third ride was necessary to decide the winner.

Ride three saw a similar race, the Scots taking the sprint to a huge roar from the crowd who were on their feet urging the two teams on.

Fachie and MacLean took a few laps to wave the Saltire flag, soak up the applause and shared the celebrations with their families up in the stands while the crowds joined in an impromptu rendition of the Proclaimers hit song ‘500 miles’.

Scotland throw to victory. Photo©Martin Williamson
Commonwealth Games 2014 - Track
Flying the Flag at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games; Craig MacLean and Neil Fachie (Scotland). Photo©Martin Williamson
Commonwealth Games 2014 - Track
Craig MacLean and Neil Fachie (Scotland) with their gold medals. Photo©Martin Williamson

Podium presentation for the Tandem medals and the photographers compete for the athlete’s attention. “Over here guys!”, “Neil – look at me!”, “Hey lads, to us!“, and all of that.

The guy next to me shouts “Kiss the medals!” and Craig looks at him, smiles and shakes his head, ‘Not gonna do that…‘. “Well, give us a roar then!“, and so he did.

I knew it would appear in a newspaper somewhere.

Commonwealth Games 2014 - Track
Craig MacLean guides partner Neil Fachie to his family in the stand. Photo©Martin Williamson
Commonwealth Games 2014 - Track
Wales and Australia head to head for the bronze. Photo©Martin Williamson