Published: 25th Mar 2024 Images: Scottish Cycling

21 World Titles for Fantastic Fachie

Neil Fachie claimed his 20th and 21st world titles at the UCI Para Track World Championships in Rio, as the Scots enjoyed a raft of medal success in Brazil.

Para Track Worlds

Action got underway on Wednesday at the Olympic Velodrome in Rio de Janiero with the 750m Tandem Mixed Team Sprint, with the Great Britain squad including Neil Fachie claiming a silver medal.

The medal set the scene for what was to come over the following four days of the championships, with the tandem duo of Sophie Unwin and pilot Jenny Holl claiming second in the Women’s 1km time trial.

It was a fantastic Friday for Neil Fachie, who took an incredible 20th world title alongside pilot Matt Rotherham in the men’s tandem 1km time-trial while Jaco van Gass took the men’s C3 individual pursuit tile for the first time.

It was battle of the Brit tandems again tonight, this time in the men’s 1km time-trial. Newly crowned national champions James Ball and pilot Steffan Lloyd laid the gauntlet down, qualifying fastest with a time of 1:00.469, ahead of defending world champions Neil Fachie and Matt Rotherham who qualified third fastest for the evening’s final.

It was all to play for as Ball and Lloyd backed up their qualifying time with an even faster ride, but Fachie and Rotherham had saved their best for when it really counted and delivered a flawless ride in 1:00.343 to take the title. The result gave Fachie an astounding 20th world championship title.

On winning his 20th title, Fachie said: “Coming in I didn’t feel we were in great form, we were coming in hoping to win but it wasn’t clear cut and I think the result shows that with how close it was, so it was hopeful. We’ve certainly been improving in the past few weeks, so I thought we were in a good position to be challenging for it, but it could’ve gone either way and it nearly did go the other way.”

He wouldn’t have to wait long for title number 21, as Fachie and Rotherham dominated Sunday’s sprint competition to claim another world title.

Fin Graham was too in the hunt for medals, he claimed silver in the C3 individual pursuit, which he followed up with a bronze less than 24 hours later in Saturday’s 1km time trial.

There was a final silver-lining on Sunday for the tandem pair of Jenny Holl and Sophie Unwin with a silver medal in an enthralling Sprint competition; their third medal of the week, after claiming silver in Saturday’s pursuit.

All-in-all an excellent week on the bike for the Scots – with plenty of encouragement to take for this summer’s Paralympics in Paris.

Youth Circuit Series

Fife Cycle Park was the venue for a very busy weekend of youth circuit action. Saturday saw a combined RACE National and Youth Cluster session delivered by coaches before Sunday’s Ben Forsyth CRY Race Day organised by Edinburgh RC and round one of the Youth Circuit Series.

Melanie Rowe (Deeside Thistle) claimed an excellent win in the Youth A female race, after attacking off the front of the field halfway through the 45-minute race, with Eve Fairbairn (Discovery Junior CC) claiming the sprint for second ahead of Ava Luce (Deeside Thistle).

It was a similar story in the Youth B race, with Zara Main winning by over a minute ahead of Millie Boothman, with Izzy Barbour in third.

Elliot Speedie (Edinburgh RC) claimed the Ben Forsyth Cup after winning the Youth A Open race. He was allowed a few bike lengths by the bunch in the opening stages and didn’t look back. Speedie came within sight of the field come the race end, as he claimed the win by nearly two minutes.

A number of attempts to join the breakaway winner were in turn charged down by the bunch, leaving a sprint for second, which Oliver Bain (Deeside Thistle) claimed, with Colin Johnston (Johnstone Wheelers) in third.

Andrew Levinson (Edinburgh RC) claimed the win in the Youth B race, beating Josh Stewart (SteppingStanes) in the sprint for the win with Micah Myles (Edinburgh RC) in third.

Many riders stayed on after the racing for a coaching session and team time trial practice for the Youth Tour of Scotland, with the race just 11 days away, but who’s counting.

A massive thank you to the  coaches, organising team and commissaires for making the weekend possible.

Time Trials underway

The time trial season got underway on the roads around Knockhill in Fife on Sunday, with the Knockhill Mountain Time Trial, organised by Dunfermline CC.

Alistair McNicol (dooley’s cycles) claimed the victory, and the Joe Wilson Cup, with a time of 54:31 ahead of Stewart Burke (Andrew Allan Architecture) 56:28 and Richard Saunderson’s (Kinross CC) time of 57:19 in third.

Claire Weller claimed the female victory with a time of 1:00:52 ahead of Sharon Bird (Vanelli-Project GO) in second with her 1:03:56 and Ashleigh McManus  in third with a time of 1:08:36.

Peaks 2-Day

A curtailed Peaks 2-Day held in was contended by a number of Scots in both open and female fields in the Peak District.

Stage 1 of the female race, a time trial, was cancelled due to snow. Stage 2 was shortened due to the grim conditions that faced the riders, but Morven Yeoman (DAS-Handsling) continued her strong start to the season with a second-place finish. Stage 3 on Sunday saw Yeoman follow up her performance with a fifth-place finish, albeit in the group nearly six minutes down on the two leaders – her consistency saw the Scot claim third in the overall.

The open race was not amended by the weather on Saturday, with Jacob Smith (Wheelbase CabTech Castelli) claiming third on Stage 1 – a 104km rolling course. Sunday’s Stage 2 was a hill climb up Holme Moss – one of Engliand’s toughest climbs – with Smith claiming the victory by 15 seconds. The final 106km stage round Carlecotes saw a 1800m of climbing, which saw the race fall to pieces – with Smith’s 12th place enough to see the Scot claim third in the overall classification.

In France…

Ahron Dick (BCC Race Team) continued his strong start to the season as he claimed fifth place at La Route d’Eole Juniors in France, with a strong ride hampered by being caught behind a crash on the final stage.