A bit of a diversion from the normal content, but I had a very smooth journey back from Hamilton racecourse on Thursday June 4th in time to catch the Women's and Men's races around the Dunfermline circuit.
The exacting circuit started in Pittencrieff Park with the start/fiinsh straight being one of the few level parts of the track. The riders then went up through the park past the Glen Pavilion, turned right up to Dufnermlnie Abbey then down the paved section to St Margaret Street and up the steep climb. There was then a left turn onto the cobbled Abbey Street, Maygate and Kirkgate, left turn into Bridge Street before a very swift section down through the park, then the haul uphill to the finishing straight. The course took about 4 and a half minutes for the quickest men and 5 and a quarter minutes for the faster women racers.
This was a showdown between two talented cyclists hailing from Fife, Charline Joiner and Eileen Roe. Joiner came hot from a win in the Tour Series and Roe has also been in good form.
A group of seven riders quickly broke clear in the 40 minutes plus two laps contest and stayed together for around 6 laps before Joiner and Roe made the break. It was nip and tuck from then on with Joiner proving stronger in a sprint finish.
The rump of the leading group fought out third place with promising youngster Erika Allen recording the fastest lap of the race to burst clear in the closing stages.
This turned into a one man race with Scottish Road Race, Hill Climb and Criterium champion Steven Lawley attacking on the first lap and then pulling steadily away throughout the race to win by over three minutes, lapping all bar seven of his opponents. I walked round the course during the first laps and Lawley came tanking past me on both laps and kept up the pressure throughout.
Lawley has had a cracking season, showing up well in the An Post Ras stage race in Ireland where he finished 21st in the overall classification.
Moda Anon rider Phil Trodden called out vainly to the other riders "Come on, help me!" as the chasers came up St Margaret Street on the second lap, but nobody amongst the chasers was strong enough. Trodden faded in the latter stages to finish seventh.
The original chasing group of eight was whittled down to three with Fraser Martin of Spokes, the Scottish yopungsters project, taking second from Lawley's Neon Velo team mate Peter Murdoch and another Spokes rider Ruari Yeoman in fourth.
Kinross Cycling Club's Calum Sharpe put in a fine ride to take the Cat3 prize, matching better rated riders throughout the race.
A very entertaining event, but just a pity that there wasn't better publicity as I am quite sure there would be bigger crowds. I am told that the local tourist office knew very little about the event. Keep an eye out for this event next year!