Ayr Burners Cycling

Sportive, Cyclocross, Youth, Adventure

Home Advantage – National Trophy Round 3 Irvine

Thanks to Harry McGarvie for the following blog-post on the recent National Trophy round. You can read this and follow Harry’s other exploits at https://theholeshotblog.wordpress.com/

Last year Scotland hosted its first ever round of the National Trophy cyclocross series, held at Irvine Beachpark in North Ayrshire and organised by Walkers Cycling Club. The event was an overwhelming success, with the fast sandy course and spectacular scenery catching the UK cross scenes’ attention, and unsurprisingly the series returned again this year. 

The Irvine National is the perfect race for me, as I live around 10 minutes away from the course and train there most weekends. For several months the team have been making adjustments to the course, building on everything they learned following last years’ event in order to make the race even more successful than before.

One of the main criticisms of the original course centred around it being too fast and not quite technical enough. This was taken onboard, leading to many course changes which looked to add another layer of difficulty to the race.

The main changes over the 2018 course included the addition of two significantly more difficult sandpits, a lot more climbing, a brand new super steep run-up and a very Scottish stair-set. There was also a couple of fast single-track sections added alongside more technical downhills. Torrential rain on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon helped to make the course a lot more challenging, as the off-camber sections and descents cut up a lot and became treacherously slippy.

Unfortunately I was gridded really poorly, and had a back row start to contest with. However the starting straight was long and wide so I knew I was capable of making up a lot of ground from the get-go.

The whistle blew and we were off. I was able to avoid any issues at the start despite there very nearly being a huge pile up, and made up a lot of ground by the time we reached the first sandpit. At the this point there was a huge bottleneck which I fought  my way through before heading towards the first huge banking. Throughout the first lap I made up a lot of ground, and by lap two I was sitting around 30th. I ended up in a small group including my coach Davie Lines, who I ended up riding with all race.

It’s really fun racing with Davie as we are very different riders. Being a successful road racer he’s super strong on the straights, where as I’m more suited to the hills, but we ended up matching each other all race. We made it over 3/4 of the race before being pulled and Davie rolled me at the line.

I finished 34th out of 65 riders after being gridded 65th, a result which I’m really happy with. My results at the National Trophies have improved hugely since round one at Derby, and I’m starting to feel stronger and push for the crucial top 30 placings. I felt like I rode a strong race both technically and physically at Irvine and am feeling good as I continue with my season.

Being my local race Irvine has been a major goal for my season so I’m super pleased to pull off a good result there in front of a home crowd. I want to say a huge thank you to Scott, Brian and JP for organising such a classy event, my sponsors for their continued support and to everyone who showed up to cheer us on.

Donald Laurie • November 16, 2019

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