Cycling: new road race series off to flyer

Carl Donaldson of GS Metro wins a frantic sprint finish involving six riders to take the first event of the East of Scotland Road Race series, hosted by Berwick Wheelers.
Carl Donaldson of GS Metro wins a frantic sprint finish involving six riders to take the first event of the East of Scotland Road Race series, hosted by Berwick Wheelers.

Carl Donaldson of GS Metro edged a frantic sprint finish involving six riders to win 
the first event of the East of Scotland Road Race series.

Hosted by Berwick Wheelers, the 56km race took place over a new circuit based around Etal, Barmoor, Ancroft and Allerdene.

The sun shone and the wind blew as 60 third and fourth category riders from across over southern Scotland and north east England battled it out in a thrilling start to the inaugural series.

Donaldson said: “That was a great race in a stunning location, possibly the best scenery I’ve ever raced through and really well organised by Berwick Wheelers. I can’t wait to come back next year.”

The action started soon after the race was de-neutralised just outside Etal with riders from GS Metro, Edinburgh RC, Cestria Cycles RT and Berwick Wheelers leading the bunch up Ford Bank.

An acceleration from Donaldson blew the field apart and nine riders started to pull away over the top of the climb. Others tried to cling on to the bunch behind, but many found themselves losing contact. With a tailwind pushing riders over to Barmoor, the front group quickly established a 30-second lead, often travelling at close to 40mph.

The chasing pack tried in vain to organise a response over the rest of the lap, but by the time the leaders approached Ford for the second time the damage was done as the main bunch was a minute down.

The lead group continued to work well, and although a number of riders had a go from the main bunch no-one had the power to close the widening gap to the leaders.

With the lead approaching two minutes at Allerdene, the front group of nine started to look at each other, making plans for the finale.

GS Metro, who had three riders in the group, effectively closed down a number of moves in the closing miles. Coming to Heatherslaw the speed was close to 30mph going up the bank, despite a strong headwind.

Into the finish on the narrow road above Hay Farm, a final selection took six riders away and in a frantic, close to 35mph, uphill finish Donaldson won the sprint by three bike lengths from Colin Ash and David Hopper, both of Cestria Cycles RT.

Further back down the road the second group approached the finish with 15 riders looking for 10th place and the final points on offer. Andrew Scorey from the host club led out very early and held on for what was an excellent 10th place and 2nd fourth category rider over the line, in only his second road race. Other Wheelers riders Will Scorey and Andrew Beeke came in 30th and 45th positions.