Tag Archives: grass track

Grass track cycling keeps you young

Grass track season starts in May, which reminded me of Hugh Johnstone, who took part in the retro exhibition race, a few days shy of his 80th birthday, at the Scottish circuit  championships held in Stirling last August.

Hugh Johnstone

His frame was built in the 1953 by George Elrick, a frame builder who was based in Lower Bridge Street in Stirling up until the 70s –  a steel single speed frame with extra tyre clearance and a higher bottom bracket. Continue reading

Craig Hardie: Hanging up the racing hoops

Earlier in February, cyclocross, MTB and grass track racer Craig Hardie announced on facebook that he had taken the decision to give up racing. Despite his humble comment that he didn’t want to seem big headed by making a big announcement, he has nonetheless had a long amateur racing career and been an integral part of the competitive scene for many years. Craig’s enthusiasm for cyclocross and biking in general gave me encouragement personally, so I thought I’d find out more.

> You said that you needed a better work/life balance – that’s something that I and, I’m sure, a lot of other amateur racers (and their partners) can sympathise with.

Yep it has come to the time to the feeling I have done all I can in Scotland Cyclocross, the last Cross season kind of sealed the idea of giving up the endurance based racing (will still maybe compete in a few Highland Games this season depending on time and how I feel) The time to train as much as I would like is just not there now but I feel very satisfied I have achieved more than I could have imagined.

Craig Hardie bunnyhopping the boards at the Scottish Cyclocross Championships (pic David Hamill)
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Craig Hardie, grass track master

Evan Oliphant won the British 8km Grass Track championship at Richmond– but the king of the grass track in Scotland this summer has been Craig Hardie, having taken the Scottish 2000m title at Halkirk as well as numerous other titles.

This photo shows Craig of Hardie Bikes with the hammer champion and the winner of the 28lb weight throw. Image by James Gunn, who has a professional photography business in Caithness, as well as a good blog with lots of sports photography. Click the pic below to see James’ blog entry for the Halkirk games (available for 2 months).

Next pic was scanned from the Stirling news and is of the Airth Highland Games.

Next two pics taken by me, at Bridge of Allan Highland Games- a massive event with around 10,000 spectators. Craig took three of the races and Stirling Tri rider Andy Turnbull got one. The race pictured is the Dei’l Tak the Hindmost: riders complete several laps (with Hardie handicapped half a lap or so down) until one (the hindmost) is eliminated until only three remain, who sprint out one more lap for the win.

Evan Oliphant: British Grass Track Champion

Endura’s Evan Oliphant won the 8000m British Grass Track championship at the weekend. A good interview by Ed Hood can be found on Veloresults, with some interesting comments on things other than the grass track too.

Evan had raced a crit in Dumfries on the Friday before the Premier Calendar race, and according to a post on the Richmond Cycling Club website he had had a dope test after the Premier Calendar race on Sunday, which meant lots of water and no food after the race. This then meant a non-stop drive to Richmond, not ideal preparation. Nutrition is alleged to have consisted of kebab, pizza and curry, followed by a night sleeping on the benches in the Richmond Cricket Pavilion. The glamour of pro bike racing eh!

Some intersting info on the history of the track from Richmond Cycling Club website:
Perhaps the most novel of the Richmond Cyclists’ Meet events is the Grass Track Meeting on the town’s cycling track. The grass track on the cricket field in Richmond is one of only three* banked cycling-specific tracks in the country and is arguably the best! Racing on the track dates back to the late 1800s, when local bookies would take bets on the riders, who gave their bikes names – much like horse racing. Richmond’s population would treble in size with spectators coming to witness the spectacle of the racing and the morning carnival parade through the historic marketplace.

*I’d quibble with this: there’s Manchester, Newport, Meadowbank and Dundee, in addition to Richmond, so that makes five. Any more? With London and Glasgow to come for 2012 and 2014 respectively.

image of a grass track meet in the borders by Let's Bike It on flickr