48th David Bell Memorial Race – Results

Oliphant wins his 3rd edition!

When Team Raleigh’s Evan Oliphant signed on in Girvan this morning, few would have bet against him to take the win.  However, who would have predicted it would be after a 14 man sprint up South Park Avenue after 81miles of racing including six categorised climbs?

Riders sign on at Girvan HQ

Riders sign on at Girvan HQ

Oliphant was as pleased as he was relieved after just pipping Herbalife – LeisureLakesBikes .com’s Andrew Hawdon, with Scott McCrossan in third.  Ironically, despite the reputation of the event for its tough parcours, Oliphant cited his experience of racing crits as the factor behind the win.  “I knew from racing the evening criterium in the Girvan 3 Day that whoever led round the last corner would not win – it is too far out.  I held on as late as possible.”

Not until Hawdow congratulated Oliphant were we able to confirm who the winner was

Not until Hawdow congratulated Oliphant were we able to confirm who the winner was

The 48th edition of the David Bell Memorial kicked off at 11am with a ceremonial lap of Victory Park before the peloton rolled out of Girvan onto the main coast road and the racing commenced.  The event was the climax of the Ayrshire Alps Cycling Festival, promoted by Ayr Roads CC and supported by South Ayrshire Council.DSC_0226

A number of riders tried to get clear on the run down to Lendalfoot, including Mark Stewart of ASL360.  All were shut down by Oliphant who explained he didn’t want a break to get away before the climb of Carleton in case it led to a long chase.  Coming at just 7 miles, the steep opening pitches of Carleton forced a split in the group as 15 riders lost contact.  Oliphant and Team IG Sigma Sport’s Ben Greenwood summited first, but with over 70 miles to race decided not to press the advantage.

The second prime of the day at the Screws saw Oliphant take maximum points again ahead of Hawdon and Greenwood.  Under a deluge of rain, David Lines made a daring solo bid, gaining more than 30 seconds on the bunch when the race passed through Girvan for the first of four laps of a touch fourteen mile circuit around the Byne and Tormitchel.  Oliphant secured his victory in the King of the Mountains with a top three finish on the first passage of the Byne.

Oliphant consolidates his lead in the DigitalMyWay.com KOM competition on the Screws.

Oliphant consolidates his lead in the DigitalMyWay.com KOM competition on the Screws.

A lap later and Lines advantage had been cut to less that 15 seconds.  A block headwind climbing the Byne neutralised attacks from the pack behind, but also made for a lonely race for out front.  Paisley Velo’s Peter Murdoch bridged over to Lines on the third run through Girvan, and the two managed to extend their lead to maximum 58 seconds.

But come the bell lap it was all back together, with everyone expecting fireworks on the last lap.  Realising their best chance lay in a setting up a sprint finish for Hawdon, Herbalife – Leisure Lakes Bikes.com neutralised the digs on the final passage of the Byne and it was a group of 14 that entered Girvan for the finishing circuit of Victory Park.  A late move by two riders caused some brief nerves in the group, but on the final bend it was grouppo compacto and the assembled crowd were treated to a nail-biting sprint finish.

Crosswinds on the Byne led to mini echelons

Crosswinds on the Byne led to mini echelons

Twenty-eight riders in total completed the 48th edition of the race run under ever-changing weather conditions and over the challenging hill roads of the Ayrshire Alps cycle park area.

Andrew Sinclair of South Carrick Community Leisure was on-hand to present the winners with their trophies, and gifts from event sponsors William Grant’s & Sons.

The podium

The podium

Race winner Evan Oliphant thanked the organisers and community for another great race, and remarked ‘just one more’, referring to the wins he needs in the event to match David Millar’s record of four.

“It was a hard race.  I average 275 watts over the event, which is higher than I have been doing in the Premier Calendars, but at the same time the course clearly wasn’t as hard as everyone was suggesting as that was a straight sprint at the end.  I can’t remember the last time I contested a sprint like that to settle a Scottish race.”

When asked about his three victories, Oliphant joked “I shouldn’t have let (then teammate) Ross Creber win in 2009 or i’d have done it already!”  Oliphant lines up for the Tour of Britain next month, and will be targetting stage wins.

Runner up Andrew Hawdon explained there was some confusion in his team as to the finishing position, catching up lead out man Martin Ford.  “This was definitely one of the races I was targeting this season.  Its been a successful day for the team, but i’m obviously disappointed to have been beaten by such a small margin”.

The race was the climax of the Ayrshire Alps Cycling Festival, a weekend of cycling promoted by Ayr Roads Cycling Club.  As well as the Davie Bell the club promoted the Highwayman Audax over 200km and 100km, and the SCCL Youth Criteriums.

1 Evan Oliphant Team Raleigh 03:27:51
2 Andrew Hawdon Herbalife-Leisure Lakes Bikes .com same time
3 Scott McCrossan Rock to Roll Cycles Ltd same time
4 Ben Greenwood Team IG Sigma Sport same time
5 Martin Ford Herbalife-Leisure Lakes Bikes .com same time
6 Alastair McCauley Phoenix CC same time
7 Andrew Whitehall Equipe Velo Ecosse/ Montpelliers same time
8 Bradley Stokes Pedal Power RT same time
9 Stuart McCluskey www. Dooleys-Cycles.co.uk same time
10 Steven Lawley TheBicycleWorks .com same time
11 Collin Humphrey Achieve – Skinnergate Racing same time
12 Jamie Kennedy Paisley Velo Race Team same time
13 Mark Stewart Team ASL360 same time
14 Alex Coutts Herbalife-Leisure Lakes Bikes .com same time
15 Gary Jeffers East Tyrone Cycling Club at 6:17
16 Peter Murdoch Paisley Velo Race Team at 7:08
17 Richard McDonald Equipe Velo Ecosse/ Montpelliers at 7:45
18 Greig Brown www. Dooleys-Cycles.co.uk same time
19 Robert Friel Private same time
20 David Lines MG Maxifuel Pro Cycling at 7:53
21 Ian Taylor Ciclocostablanca .com at 9:23
22 Sean Gordon Team Thomsons Cycles at 11:07
23 John Brown Private at 11:18
24 Daniel McShane Glasgow Road Club at 11:21
25 Stephen Russell East Kilbride Road Club at 11:27
26 Gary Hand Herbalife-Leisure Lakes Bikes .com same time
27 Keith Laird Team Thomsons Cycles at 15:55
28 Chris Smart Paisley Velo Race Team at 18:37
Savoy Park Under 23
Scott McCrossan Rock to Roll Cycles Ltd
Digital My Way King of the Mountains
Evan Oliphant Team Raleigh
First 3rd Cat
Sean Gordon Team Thomsons Cycles
Oliphant addresses the crowd beside organiser Chris Johnson

Oliphant addresses the crowd beside organiser Chris Johnson


Supporting Grant’s ride for the Ayrshire Hospice

A great many friends and families of Ayr Roads CC have benefited from the services of the Ayrshire Hospice, which is why we are announcing our support for Grant Young as he raises money by cycling the length of the Rhine and Danube Rivers as he pedals from Scotland to Romania.

Grant YoungWe’ll be collecting money over the Ayrshire Alps weekend for Grant’s challenge, with profits from the catering going to the hospice.

Grant tells us more:

I will leave to begin my journey on August 27th sailing from Newcastle to Ijmuiden in the Netherlands, so the very first leg of my trip will be from my daughter’s flat beside the “squinty bridge” to the ferry terminal, making the whole thing I suppose “Tyne, Rhine, Danube” which has a ring about it.
The bit of the whole trip I am most concerned about at present is the very first part, ie finding the bike trail in Rotterdam, and getting out of the urban area, as the river seems to split and change its name several times.
I reckon to clear Holland in a couple of days or so at roughly 80 miles a day, my target pace.  We have german friends in Emmerich on the Rhine just into Germany and I hope to stay there overnight.  Then it is on down the Rhine through Germany, towards the Rhinefalls at Shaffhausen in the Black Forest.  Thats the first 800 plus miles accounted for…
Donnaueschingen is about 35 kms from Shaffhausen and that is where I head to the source of the River Danube next.  From here there is, I understand a fairly well marked bike trail of different surfaces, all the way through Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Moldova and Romania to the Danube Delta on the Black Sea. I hope my tyre choice of Schwalbe Marathon Plus 28 s can cope with all the variations of surface.
I am looking forward to seeing Vienna, Budapest, Bratislava and Belgrade, and many other cultural and historical centres on the way.
I plan only to take two 28 .litre panniers on the back and a bike bag on the front.  I have no back up team, so I need to travel light.  With the tourist season beginning to drop away, I hope to be pretty much able to stop wherever I want and find B&B or similar.  It worked well when I cycled Barcelona to Paris a year or two back.
Overall, and all going well I hope to take about 40 days with 35 of these cycling days and 5 rest days built in.
Once I complete the trip at the Danube Delta, I need to extract myself from Romania, and all going well I have a further day’s cycle to Constanta on the Black Sea, where I will have booked a Turkish Airlines flight to Istanbul then Manchester.  Getting the timing of this right will be interesting!
Following the trip, I plan to put an illustrated presentation together and offer it to a wide variety of clubs and organisations who need speakers during the winter.  I will come and perform, sharing my experiences in return for donations to the Hospice, which should keep things going.
Good luck to Grant on his voyage, and more importantly, good luck to Grant in reaching his target fundraising amount of £2,000.  You can pledge your support now on Grant’s just giving page – don’t forget to mention the Ayrshire Alps or Highwayman Challenge when you donate!
If you are on facebook you can follow Grant on his challenge here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/493320867414431/

An appeal from an organiser

Scottish cycling, we have a problem. Just one calendar month to go, and we have just 20 entries for this year’s David Bell Memorial. The 48th edition of a Scottish Classic. Am I really going to be the organiser that has to end another historic race?

Last year Scotland lost the Tour Doonhame. We’ve already lost Glasgow-Dunoon and countless other classics. We saw the Drummond Trophy have to run as a TLI recently. I scratch my head trying to understand what is happening? Why, when we are constantly told cycling is on the increase, am I sitting fretting about what to tell the many fantastic sponsors we have about our queen event?

I’ve some suspicions, but nothing concrete.

  • Timing: Usually we host the race in June. But selfishly, due to the arrival of my baby boy this spring I requested to run the event in August. Perhaps the holiday season is affecting entries? Or perhaps all the racers who wanted to pedal hard in February are now suffering racing fatigue? No point guessing.
  • Course: With four ascents of the Byne this is not an easy course. True. However, only three years ago the race was sent around the Nic and Tairlaw twice. We have been conscious of trying to reduce the steep climbs in favour of a testing circuit where strong riders can keep up with climbers, meanwhile taking the race to a town and community. The Davie Bell has always been a hard classic and it is hard to make apologies for that, or to find flat roads in our area!
  • Reputation: Last year we ran as a National A event, the year before over gravel roads. As a National A event Scottish riders got a chance to race with bigger teams including Rapha, and it also secured 184 licence points for the 9 Scottish riders in the top 20. No apologies. The gravel roads of 2011 generated a lot of good debate pre-race, but interestingly for all those who decided not to enter, it was the first over-subscribed edition of the race in the last 20 years!

We have secured fantastic backing for the race from South Ayrshire Council, the South Carrick Community, local businesses including the Savoy Park Hotel, DigitalMyWay and Wm Grants & Sons. We’ve worked with Police Scotland to ensure police presence on the route. More than 80 volunteers will work on this event over the weekend. We’re going ahead with our closed-road youth races around Victory Park, and our 200km and 100km audaxes. But without entries, there will be no David Bell Memorial. That will be a great personal disappointment for me, but also I believe for Scottish racing cycling.

Entries are scheduled to close on the 4th August. If you hold an Elite, 1st, 2nd or 3rd Cat Licence you can enter now by going here: https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/events/details/84280/The-Ayrshire-Alps-Classic—48th-David-Bell-Memorial

Route announcement: 48th Davie Bell

The 48th edition of the David Bell Memorial Race (The Ayrshire Alps Classic) will be run over an 81 mile course featuring the ascents of Carleton, the Screws and the Byne.  Based in and around Girvan, the race concludes with four laps of a circuit featuring the Byne and Assel Valley.

2013 route

Known for being a hardman’s race, the 48th edition of the Davie Bell will not buck the trend with over 1000m of ascent.  However, gone are the steep pitches of the Nic O Balloch that favour the pure climbers so well.  Instead the steady gradients of the Byne will suit powerful riders who can handle the relentless pressure.

With the riders passing by Victory Park in Girvan six times this should make for a great spectator friendly race.  Add to that the beautiful opening gallop to Lendalfoot along the gorgeous South Carrick Coastline…  Look forward to the photos!

DATE: 18th August 2013

VENUE: Girvan, South Ayrshire


2012 Artwork

A reminder to all school children in the South Carrick area – you have just two weeks to submit your design for our School Poster Competition!  Your design will be used on all our artwork, including giant banner installations on the Stumpy Tower in Girvan.

Meanwhile, we are pleased to show off our current design:

New sponsors, and a new design from last year:

We know there are some budding artists in the South Carrick area – we look forward to seeing your event poster 🙂