Recently Craig Hardie, top cyclocrosser and grass track racer, and owner of Hardie Bikes shop in Cairneyhill, posted some old pics on facebook that piqued my interest- I rode mountain bikes in Edinburgh’s Pentland Hills in the early 90s and even raced a couple of times.
Craig has kindly pulled out some of his old diaries from the 1994 era and reminisced for a bit for me:
I started to get into XC when I got injured in my first sport of Moto-X which I had been competing in for about seven years, after my shoulder injury I was using Mountain Biking to get fit and started enjoying it more and more. I then looked at trying a race in 91 where I took part in the fun Cat at a race in Peebles and went on to win, the rest as they say is history.
At this same venue on the day I watched a certain James Ouchterlony (newly up from the juniors) leading a certain Sandy Gilchrist in the senior race, James then went on to snap his left crank arm off and get passed by Sandy only to claw his way back and win!! That was an inspiring day for sure and little did I know in a few years I would be beating these two riders I had watched in the top Cat 🙂
In 1994 the top bods making the podiums were myself, Andrew Wright, Dan Whitehead, Steven Deas, Alistair Martin, Andrew Davies, Martin Magrath, Evan Hawkins and Chris Young.
The scene was great in the mid 90’s as Mountain Biking had really taken off and was buzzing, prominent race teams of the time were Pentland RT, Paisley RT, Penicuik RT and 232 RT. Courses sometimes consisted of one lap of 20 miles, the races usually were up to three hours long with mostly natural terrain of singletrack, fire breaks and farm tracks.
There were races all over Scotland and up and down the country. I competed in Nemba’s, BMBF’s, Norba’s and of course the SCU series, all which were very well attended and I was competing against people like David Baker, Adrian Timmis, Nick Craig, Gary Coltman, Richard Thackray and Martin Earley in the south.
The Scottish scene was getting great reviews and you were getting over the border invaders at a few of the races, in the Scottish Champs at Hawick 94 Paul Hinton of Team Raleigh Turned up and this in turn gave me extra motivation to win as I could not have an English Pro coming up to win our Champs!