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Wild in a class of his own in Caithness Festival of Cycling


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Adam Wild led the way in all three events, setting course records for the 25-mile and 10-mile time trials. Picture: James Gunn
Adam Wild led the way in all three events, setting course records for the 25-mile and 10-mile time trials. Picture: James Gunn

Caithness Cycling Club promoted its annual Festival of Cycling, supported by Sinclair Bay Subsea, at the weekend.

Overall winner Adam Wild (GS Metro) was in a class of his own, winning all three events in convincing fashion and setting course records for the 25-mile and 10-mile time trials at average speeds of around 30 mph.

Martha Gates (Moray Firth) led the ladies in the “25” and “10” and set a new record in the former. Leading north riders were Danny Miller (Wick Wheelers) and Neil Moss (Orkney CC).

Event one was the Mack Mowat Memorial 25-mile time trial. Mack was Caithness track champion in the 1920s and won 41 of 100 races, despite being gassed at Ypres in World War I.

Later he ran his gas-lit cycle shop in Thurso’s Olrig Street until his death in 1980, aged 85. Today there is a commemorative plaque above his old shop.

Some of the cyclists after the hill climb on Sunday, the final event of the weekend festival held by Caithness Cycling Club. Picture: Malcolm Gray
Some of the cyclists after the hill climb on Sunday, the final event of the weekend festival held by Caithness Cycling Club. Picture: Malcolm Gray

Conditions were far from ideal at just 12C and a tough west wind but Wild clocked a superb 50 min 2 sec to take 77 seconds off the record, while second-placed Jamie Riddoch (Elgin CC) recorded an impressive 56.38 on his road bike, a category that excludes aerodynamic aids such as tri-bars and disc wheels. Last year’s winner Scott Davidson (Moray Firth) took third place.

First lady Martha Gates clocked 63 min 24 sec for a new course record by 23 seconds. Breagha Beaton (Moray Firth) and Thurso’s Lorna Stanger were second and third, both on road bikes.

First veteran (on age standard) was Michael Morris (Cairngorm CC), followed by team-mate Paul Parrish.

Unluckiest riders were Alasdair Washington (Caithness CC) and Alan McCaffrey (Moray Firth), who both fell foul of potholes west of Watten and had to retire.

Conditions for event two on Sunday morning were again just 12C with a westerly wind, but again Adam Wild stormed round at an average speed of 30.6 mph to record 19 min 37 sec and another course record, by 24 seconds, followed again by Riddoch and Davidson.

Similarly Martha Gates took the ladies’ prize with a time of 25.11, from Beaton and Stanger.

Washington was relieved to have a trouble-free ride and took the veteran prize with a time of 29.11, a new Scottish record for an 87-year-old. Second veteran was fellow “25” puncture victim Alan McCaffrey.

Martha Gates (Moray Firth) led the ladies in the '25' and '10', setting a new record in the former. Picture: James Gunn
Martha Gates (Moray Firth) led the ladies in the '25' and '10', setting a new record in the former. Picture: James Gunn

The final event was the 1.9-mile Scrabster hill climb. With a strong headwind the records of 4 min 42 sec (Andrew MacLeod, 2022) and 5 min 59 sec (Martha Gates, 2022), both in a strong tailwind, were never in danger.

Wild was again fastest with a time of 5 min 52 sec, Davidson was second and, in an event which favours younger riders, 53-year-old Alan McCaffrey took an excellent third place. Breagha Beaton (8.48) took the ladies’ prize with Lorna Stanger (9.34) in second place.

Over the three events Adam Wild was overall winner with an aggregate time of 1 hr 15 min 31 sec, followed by Scott Davidson (1.26.09) and Neil Moss (1.34.03).

Breagha Beaton led the ladies with 1hr 46 min 37 sec, with Lorna Stanger (1hr 54.32) in second place.

Stuart Swanson took the road bike category (1hr 38.50) from Breagha Beaton (1.46.37).

The veterans’ weekend prizes were based on “25” and “10” times only, as it is not possible to obtain age standard allowances. Cairngorm riders Michael Morris and Paul Parrish took first and second places, with Neil Moss third.

Results – Mack Mowat 25-mile: 1 Adam Wild (GS Metro), 50 min 02 sec; 2 Jamie Riddoch (Elgin CC), 56.38; 3 Scott Davidson (Moray Firth), 57.16; 4 Brian MacPhee (Moray Firth), 1.1.33; 5 Danny Miller (Wick Wh), 1.1.45; 6 Neil Moss (Orkney CC), 1.2.28; 7 Michael Morris (Cairngorm CC), 1.2.54; 8 Martha Gates (Moray Firth), 1.3.24; 9 Paul Parrish (Cairngorm CC), 1.3.53; 10 Stuart Swanson (Wick Wh), 1.5.04; 11 Breagha Beaton (Moray Firth), 1.10.30; 12 Iain Miller (Caithness CC), 1.11.51; 13 Andrew Wilson, (St Christopher’s CC), 1.16.53; 14 Lorna Stanger (Caithness CC), 1.16.55; 15, Hector Nicholson (Moray Firth), 1.18.22.

Caithness 10-mile: 1 Adam Wild, 19 min 37 sec; 2 Jamie Riddoch, 21.54; 3 Scott Davidson, 22.04; 4 Alan McCaffrey, 22.46; 5 Neil Moss, 23.48; 6 Danny Miller, 23.59; 7 Paul Parish, 24.51; 8 Martha Gates, 25.11; 9eq Hamish McAllan and Michael Morris, 25.16; 11 Stuart Swanson, 25.31; 12 Iain Miller, 27.17; 13 Breagha Beaton, 27.19; 14 Lorna Stanger, 28.03; 15 Alasdair Washington, 29.11; 16 Andrew Wilson, 30.26.

Scrabster Hill, 1.9-mile. 1 Adam Wild, 5 min 52 sec; 2 Scott Davidson, 6.49; 3 Alan McCaffrey, 7.24; 4 Neil Moss, 7.47; 5 Michael Morris, 8.08; 6 Stuart Swanson, 8.15; 7 Paul Parrish, 8.43; 8 Breagha Beaton, 8.48; 9 Lorna Stanger, 9.34.

Alasdair Washington (Caithness Cycling Club) set a new Scottish record for an 87-year-old. Picture: James Gunn
Alasdair Washington (Caithness Cycling Club) set a new Scottish record for an 87-year-old. Picture: James Gunn

Conditions were a little better than the previous week for last Thursday’s time trial held by Wick Wheelers, with a light southerly wind. This led to five riders recording their best time of the season.

Caithness CC rider Debs Larnach made her first appearance on the Wick course and clearly enjoyed the experience, recording the second fastest time ever by a lady.

The three-way battle between the veteran trio of George Ewing, James Munro and Charlie Mackay continued with 21 seconds separating them.

Once again Danny Miller was well clear in first place.

Times: 1 Danny Miller, 23 min 26 sec (SB); 2 Debs Larnach, 26.15; 3 Derek Fraser, 26.56; 4 George Ewing, 28.44 (SB); 5 James Munro, 29.00 (SB); 6 Charlie Mackay, 29.05 (SB); 7 Lisa Coghill, 31.36 (SB).

Danny Miller of Wick Wheelers was among the leading north riders. Picture: James Gunn
Danny Miller of Wick Wheelers was among the leading north riders. Picture: James Gunn
Caithness Cycling Club's Lorna Stanger was among the leading ladies over the weekend. Picture: James Gunn
Caithness Cycling Club's Lorna Stanger was among the leading ladies over the weekend. Picture: James Gunn
Hamish McAllan of Caithness Cycling Club. Picture: James Gunn
Hamish McAllan of Caithness Cycling Club. Picture: James Gunn

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