Scottish Road Champs, and the last Davie Bell

I heard on the Cycling Podcast  this week that this weekend’s road champs will also be the final edition of the Davie Bell road race.

Pocast host Richard Moore has been invited in a VIP capacity as a former winner. It’s a monument of Scottish cycling with a roll call of greats including Robert Millar, David Millar (no not that one), Jason McIntyre and pretty much everyone else who has had any success professionally or at the top of the amateur ranks.

“How come I didn’t know about this?!” I wailed. Chris Johnson did great publicity for the race in previous years, especially when the gravel sectors were included and when there was an appetite to step up to National A or even Premier status.

Cycling fans (and indeed bloggers) often have a sense of entitlement towards the sport (the phrase “our sport” doesn’t sit well with me, perhaps as I still see myself as a latecomer) and I was tempted to moan about poor publicity. 

Live tweeting is common, timing chips enable results to be out quickly, photo sharing is easy and surely we’ll see live video soon with the arrival of Periscope. The coverage has improved but so the expectations have been raised. From club hill climbs to national events, if information isn’t published quickly, grumbling can be heard.

This trend is partly why I stopped doing race previews and results on this very blog (that and the tiny feet that now stampede, rather than patter, through my house these days). The need to be immediate meant that if a report was a day or too latre it didnt feel worth doing.

However, I am not on social media or surfing the internet as much as I used to, so in fairness to the information has been out since January.

Ayr Roads struggled to fill the start sheet in recent years and although its a shame to lose a historic race, it doesn’t make sense for volunteers to bust a gut if they aren’t rewarded with a buzzing event. It feels like track, crits and cyclocross are the future, and indeed Ayr Roads recently launched their own Doonbank Trofee cross race last year. There seem to be more of these events and fewer and fewer big classic road races. I never got around to writing a “what are the Scottish monuments?” post but another example is the Sam Robinson, a well-loved, historic, tough hilly race that has also struggled for entries in recent years and even been bumped by a sportive, much to the purists’ anguish.

Back to the publicity – Scottish Cycling have increased their PR in recent times and despite cringing at the first line (“Nearly 100 of Scotland’s best cyclist’s riders” – who wrote this?) I downloaded the race pack which turned out to be comprehensively packed with information ranging from the history of the race to the details of the day’s racing schedule.

If I was free and single, I would head on down to Alloway take in the 50th and final Davie Bell memorial road race – maybe you should too?

My picks:

Men: Craig Wallace

Women: Jane Barr

Good luck to all riders!

2015 Davie Bell