À bientôt to the Strada Grigio

The organisers of the South Carrick David Bell Memorial cycle race have announced an exciting alteration: the 47th edition of the classic event will be held entirely on road.  The race was expected to feature two passages of the Carrick Forest Drive, an unsealed forest road by Loch Doon, as it had in 2011.  However, due to ongoing maintenance on the approaching roads the organising team has made the decision to unveil ‘Route B’.

Race organiser Christopher Johnson added, “Last year, our plan to use the Carrick Forest Drive seemed hugely ambitious, but resulted in a superb day’s racing warmly received by riders and fans alike.  We are of course super keen to get back to using the Forest Drive, but recognise that the ongoing upgrades to the approaching roads will benefit our event in the long run and ensure our return to the ‘Strada Grigio’ in future years”.

There is no doubt the star of 2011 was the Carrick Forest Drive. Our winner James McCallum was simply the hero

The event promoters, Ayr Roads Cycling Club, are keen to stress that the new route is no reserve, and has been under review for over six months and designed to ensure great aggressive racing, with ample opportunities for spectators.  The event will now feature four of the ascents in the area commonly referred to as the Ayrshire Alps, including Nic O Balloch, Glenalla, the Screws and Byne.  The climbers will be contesting the William Grant & Sons King of the Mountains over these.

Two sprints, one in Dailly and one in Barrhill will keep the action lively for spectators who will have multiple opportunities to see the race unfold with a route that loops around the beautiful villages of the area.The route will also take in some of the best scenery on offer in South Carrick, including views of Merrick and the Ailsa Craig – both essential parts of the David Bell story.  Under his penname ‘The Highwayman’, Bell brought alive his pioneering exploits by bike to the summits of both in his regular Ayrshire Post column.

Riders will have little chance to enjoy the splendid views as the hurtle past the Bell Memorial at Rowantree Toll

At 100 miles long, and with nearly 7,000ft of climbing the South Carrick David Bell race is no picnic, but organisers have ensured there is ample opportunities for the pack to reel in the breakaways with long flats between the climbs.  Many of the best teams from the UK, including Rapha Condor Sharp and Vanilla Bikes, are due to line up in Girvan on June 10th to take on the challenge and add their name to the David Bell winners list.

While the main race has been rerouted, the supporting Audax, the Highwayman Challenge, will still cross the ‘Strada Grigio’.  “We’ve had great support from the Forestry Commission in ensuring the surface is in excellent condition for the event, and we are delighted to offer the chance to ride the Carrick Forest Drive to audax riders” said Chris Johnson.  Without the huge race convoy or high speeds of the elite racers, the approach roads over to Dalmellington and alongside Loch Doon are easily navigable by bike.

Despite being the first edition of the Highwayman Challenge, the event is already proving extremely popular with more than half the spaces gone already!  Participants are being asked to use the challenge to raise funds for the MS Society Scotland and local Ayrshire Branch.  At just £8 an entry, organisers hope to attract lots of local cyclists to get behind a great cause.

Race schedule:

Distance (Miles)

Distance (KM)

Average 40kph

0

Girvan Depart

0km

11:00

2.7

End Neutral Zone

4.4km

11:06

7.9

Dailly (Woodside Road)

12.7km

11:19

16.3

Straiton (B741/B7045)

26.2km

11:39

21.7

Crosshill

34.9km

11:52

27.6

Glenalla Summit – 1105ft

44.4km

12:06

30.4

North Balloch

48.9km

12:13

32.7

Nic O Balloch Summit – 1284 ft

52km

12:18

34.2

Rowntree Toll Bell Memorial

55km

12:22

43.6

Bargrennan

70km

12:45

52.2

Barrhill

84km

13:06

56.5

Pinwherry

90.9km

13:16

64.2

Barr Village

103.3km

13:36

66.3

Screws Summit (682ft)

106.7km

13:40

69.6

Old Dailly

112km

13:48

72.1

Girvan

116km

13:54

75.7

Byne Summit – 485ft

121.8km

14:03

76.8

Pinmore

123.6km

14:06

83.2

Old Dailly

133.9km

14:21

85.9

Girvan

138.2km

14:27

89.5

Byne Summit – 485ft

144km

14:36

90.1

Pinmore

145km

14:37

96.7

Old Dailly

155.6km

14:54

100.2

Finish – Victory Park

161.2km

15:01


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