Clarion Last Gasp event takes the breath away at Linlithgow!

The 'cinammon swirl' was one of the most notable features of the course at Linlithgow. (pic by Ewan Norton)
The 'cinammon swirl' was one of the most notable features of the course at Linlithgow. (pic by Ewan Norton)

There was plenty of muddy fun at Linlithgow as West Lothian Clarion held its third ‘Last Gasp’ cyclo cross race for women and youth riders.

The event, at the Xcite Leisure Centre, proved a massive succeess with riders aged six to 60 coming from as far as Aberdeen and Ayr.

While many events struggle to get women and teenagers to compete, the club managed to attract big numbers in these categories. In particular, there were a record number of entries for a women’s race in Scotland.

Racing was competitive throughout the field - and riders needed good technique to handle the muddy, slippy course. Feedback from riders was that it was the most technically challenging course in Scotland, but also the most fun - with many mentioning the “cinnamon swirl” in particular.

After the women’s race, 170 youth riders competed in a number of age categories - and the racing was no less competitive or enjoyable there. Local riders were well represented on the podium, with Finn Mason and Chris Hordon from the Clarion winning their races.

Entrants were able to benefit from high-calibre coaching beforehand - from British cyclo-cross champion Isla Rowntree and Olympian Louise Robinson as well as Clarion’s own Scottish Cycling-qualified coaches.

Isla described the day as “inspiring” and commented on riders’ enthusiasm. She also highlighted the importance of events like this given the lack of opportunities for women at all levels.

Coach Diane Clayton Chisholm added: “I was so proud of every female who got out there and rode. They all improved so quickly during their coaching sessions. It shows that there is a real lack of this sort of support to enable women to participate.”

Results -

Senior Women: 1 Louise Borthwick (Edinburgh RC), 2 Jaime Nicholson (Annan Youth CC), 3 Alicia Lawson (Velo Club Moulin).

Veteran Women: 1 Brenda Callander (Stirling Bike Club), 2 Ailsa Curtis (West Lothian Clarion), 3 Katy Carrick-Anderson (Peebles CC).

U16 Female: 1 Anna Shackley (Glasgow Riderz), 2 Alison Bryce (West Lothian Clarion).

U16 Male: 1 Christopher Hordon (West Lothian Clarion), 2 Robbie Hearns (Synergy Cycles), 3 Alex Ball (West Lothian Clarion).

U14 Female: 1 Eva Young (Pedal Power RT), 2 Eilidh Shaw (Stirling Bike Club), 3 Katherine Macleod (Edinburgh RC).

U14 Male: 1 Corran Carrick-Anderson (Peebles CC), 2 Ben McMullen (Pro Vision Cycle Clothing), 3 Andrew Turner (West Lothian Clarion).

U12s Female: 1 Emily Carrick-Anderson (Peebles CC), 2 Katie Galloway (West Lothian Clarion), 3 Millie Thomson (Deeside Thistle CC).

U12s Male: 1 Finn Mason (West Lothian Clarion), 2 Luis Ryder (Edinburgh RC), 3 Alexander Crombie (West Lothian Clarion).

U10 Female: 1 Hope Thomson (Deeside Thistle CC), 2 Niamh Waters (-), 3 Anna Birrell (Carnegie Cyclones).

U10 Male: 1 Innes McDonald (Edinburgh RC), 2 Struan Shaw (Stirling Bike Club), 3 Alasdair Easton (Edinburgh RC).

U8 Female: 1 Isla Cameron (Royal Albert CC), 2 Orla Burn (West Lothian Clarion), 3 Harriet Crombie (West Lothian Clarion).

U8 Male: 1 Finn Crowther (Leslie Bike Shop/Bikers Boutique), 2 Harris Holmes (-), 3 Iain Rae (Royal Albert CC).