On a windswept day for the strong of leg and heart on the Ayrshire coast it was last year’s silver medallist, ‘fresh’ from that toughest of races, the RAS, Peter Murdoch (Neon-Velo Cycling Team) who’s 52:13 was 22 seconds too quick for deposed reigning champion, Iain Grant (Fullarton Wheelers) and 49 seconds faster than bronze medallist and another former ’25’ champion, Arthur Doyle (Dooleys).
VeloVeritas was there from the first youth to Iain Grant as last man…
The A78 Sunday morning; 08:45, it’s grey, cool and breezy as we wait on the youths at the wee bit complicated ‘bottom’ turn.
It’s the classic ‘fit man’s morning’ on the dual carriageways of the Ayrshire coast.
A difficult course to find ‘scenic’ shots on, but that’s the nature of the ‘drag strip’ course so beloved of time triallists – dual carriageway, wide, exposed, rolling gently and fast.
Here’s our first rider, Thomas Deas, (Highland Bikes Racing Team), he get’s round the unmarshalled turn with no fuss and is gone with the tail wind.
Gavin Laffoley (Fife Century) was off #1 but comes through third – we’d learn later from his mum that he’d missed his start.
We’ve all done it !
The ladies – many of whom come into the left hander over-geared and don’t bother to look right – have a cold wind to contend with.
In between pictures our hands are in out pooches – chilly!
Emily Middleton (Deeside) is one of the early starters and gets on the podium with 1:02’10”.
Number 34, Toni McIntosh (Ayr Roads) gets it right though with second place in 1:01’27” and does look for traffic at our junction – she’s not a girl for the high cadences though; rolling a ‘big one’ back to meet the dual carriageway.
Last girl #35 Lynsey Curran (Dooleys) looks good, fast round the bend and immediately back into her stride, not ‘bogged down’ on the gear as many of the girls have been, she wound up the Ladies’ Champion with 59’38”.
The men – Gordon McNeil (Dumfries CC) ‘warms the tar’ on what is now a Baltic morning.
Jocky Johnstone (Icarus), Albert McLennan (Glasgow Couriers) – ‘oldies but goodies’ both.
Time for a move, we’re frozen.
Back up the ’78 to the top turn – you can see your two minute man on these wide tarmac prairies.
The wind is sore but it’s dry and the sun is out.
Round the turn, park up, another photo op for Jocky and Albert.
It’ll be fast here, big tail wind to blow them down to the last dog leg.
At the top end of the course it doesn’t seem as cold; the traffic count is rising – not to English TT course levels but busy enough.
No one’s white-lining that we observe, all keeping well tucked into the kerb for now.
We’ve decided to keep on the move the is morning – at least ’til the late starters go – to mix up the photo composition and find new vantage points; we don’t have a stopwatch on anyone yet so it’s hard to say who’s ‘on it’ but #65 Andrew Underwood (Glasgow Wheelers) looks tidy to us.
And #70 Graeme Cockburn’s (Nightingale) disc is making the right noises (for an eventual 54:55) – he was top six in the ’10’ champs and is smooth over the tar as the sun decides to warm us for five minutes.
Peter Ettles (Sandy Wallace) is off 80 and on top of the job, as usual.
John McCrory #87 (Glasgow United) impresses with his tidy style on that lovely Giant Trinity.
Next seed up is Dooley’s Sean Gray, he passes north-bound but not south-bound – puncture? mechanical? alien abduction?
Alan Mill (Sandy Wallace) is the next ‘ten marker’ and is getting it round nicely with the ‘taily’ which is rising and falling in strength as the morning goes on.
Time to move on to the last dog-leg and the headwind finish.
They’re flying out to the last turn on the other side of the dual carriageway but it’s bitter battle back into a stonewall headwind.
We can get the tailgate up here, a seat and shelter from the wind – this is a better deal !
Alan Mill passes us again; he’s getting the job done, boring a hole in the wind – he’s caught and dropped his seven minute man.
The traffic count is high, here – artics churn up the air and there’s a steady stream of cars.
Tony Scott (Loudon) off #109 looks good to us but there are big gaps in the field – and where are all the roadside spectators?
Tom Gordon (Fullarton) is looking mean into that cool headwind; if we step out of the shelter of the van, it’s chilly.
Gavin Shirley (Dooleys) looked strong on the way out with the tailwind and is holding it well on the way back – but we don’t put Mark Skilling (Icarus) too far away from him.
The ‘Bigs’ start to pass outbound – Jim Cusick (Dooleys) but no Gary Robson.
Alan Thomson (Sandy Wallace Cycles), Stephen Williamson (a3crg) – a new name for us…
Ben Peacock (Billy Bilsland), Arthur Doyle (Dooleys) – flying, no Silas Goldsworthy, last year’s silver medallist Peter Murdoch and he’s looking mean.
Just ‘The Champ’ Iain Grant to come; it seems finely balanced between him and Murdoch just on ‘visual.’