Davie Lines – The (fire)man who would be king

Orinally published in the Dig In At The Dock 2014 programme in January, this piece, by David Hamill, looks back on Davie Lines’ 2013 cyclocross season and celebrates his choice as honorary reigning Scottish series champion.

Bike racing is a cruel sport. Most people who race bikes never win and those who do win will more often lose. Losing (or not winning) is something even the best bike racers need to get used to. It’s part of the sport. The history books don’t provide a great deal of discussion about who came second, third or fourth. If they did Davie Lines might be a bit of a legend.

Davie Lines works as a firefighter in Edinburgh and also races bikes for Starley Primal. If you were to assign Davie a specialism in bike racing it would probably be criterium road racing. As a past Scottish champ he’s got plenty of results to back this up. But to badge Davie a crit rider is to do him a disservice. He competes on the road, on the track and in cyclocross and he does this all at a very high level. 

Davie Lines Strathclyde 2013 CX by Martin Young640

I remember Davie telling me how, as soon as he arrived back from the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, he put his cross bike together in order to ride the next day at Strathclyde Park. Unsurprisingly he didn’t win.

This attitude might go someway to explain why in cyclocross he has so often been looking up at the winner from the 2nd or 3rd step of the podium (except of course when wee Craig Hardie was standing on the top step, which he often was). If he did a bit less of everything then he might win more races. But Davie just loves racing his bike and it’s an endearing attitude to have.

In the last few seasons numerous people have won series races, but Davie was never really one of them as far as I remember. Even when he looked to be a winning race he’d end up rolling a tub or riding into a member of the public (sorry Davie) and yet again he would have to concede defeat. This season however has been very different.

Davie missed the first round of the series while on holiday. His 11th place finish in the following round gave an insight into just how good a time he’d had while he was away. In the next round at Knockburn Loch he found his form and blew the field apart.

Being lapped by Davie isn’t a novel occurrence for me. It happens a lot. I often have a laugh with Davie, calling him The Bridesmaid, but not after that day. As he passed he said to me “It’s now or never mate”. In unison perhaps, we both thought to ourselves “Shut up ya f@nny, you’ll jinx it”.

Luckily though Davie didn’t have any mechanicals and he took the win with ease. To me he hadn’t looked like he was riding #fullgas. Instead he was simply going fast enough to win. He’d finally broken his duck and it seemed clear to me that it wouldn’t be his only win of the season. He won again in the next round of the series at Strathclyde Park. On this occasion the beating of his rivals wasn’t anywhere near as dominant. Colin May was with Davie every bit of the way on his singlespeed.

Each year the races get more competitive and the fields more rich with talented riders. However there has been a notable absence of some of the very top riders of last year, namely Gareth Montgomerie, Rob Friel and Rab Wardell. So when Wardell appeared at Irvine Beach for the next round, many felt that Davie’s winning streak was about to come to an abrupt end. But it didn’t.

Davie+Lines+image+by+Anth+Robson 640

It was a toughly fought battle in which Davie once again came out the victor, thanks to him impressively riding a section where others could only run. This was soon followed up by a brutal demolition of the field at the non-series Lochore Meadows race in Fife.

Davie had now won four in a row, three of the races having been series events. But due to his holidaying abroad he still wasn’t leading the series. Instead that honour was being enjoyed by Colin May.

Each year the final series race takes place on the Isle of Mull. Davie was on rota to work and Colin May had decided to sit the out the rest of the season. All Davie had to do was finish that race and he would take the series title.

He decided to go for it and managed to get the day off work. Driving to Oban on the morning of the race he was gutted to discover the ferry had been cancelled due to harsh weather conditions. The only thing sailing away that day was any hope of him winning the series title.

And so, in years to come, the history books might quote Colin May as the series winner of 2013. But what they won’t quote is Colin’s sentiment on the matter “(Davie) You’re clearly the deserved winner in my book. You lit it up this season”. Indeed he did.