Published: 03rd Jan 2024 Images: Scottish Cycling

Festive Round-up

It’s been a busy festive period over in Belgium with several Scots travelling across the Channel to take on the world’s best.

Cameron Mason (Cyclocross Reds) was flying the flag in the kerstperiode with a top ten finish at the World Cup round in Gavere on Boxing Day, the top ten was followed up by a 14th place finish in Loenhout and an 16th place finish in Hulst to round off 2023.

Mason was rewarded with an eighth-place finish at the X2O Trofee in Baal to kick off 2024 strong, at one of the muddiest courses you’ll see all season at the Sven Nys Grand Prix. The Scot rode, or more often than not ran, through the field with the Linlithgow native picking up places and eventually working his way into the top ten.

The result sees the Scot stay in third place in the series standings but importantly gain nearly a minute on Eili Iserbyt and stay in contention for the series with Lars van der Haar leading the way, with the fifth round taking place in Koksijde tomorrow afternoon (so plan your long lunch now).

Isla Short (Ghost FR) made her CX World Cup debut in the Netherlands at Hulst on Saturday with the Peebles rider coming home in the 59th to add to her solid performance in Zolder three days prior.

Beatrix Kiehlmann (Royal Albert CC) made her Belgian CX debut over the festive break with a trio of strong rides in Diegem, Loenhout and Baal, while Ishbel Strathdee (Wheelbase CabTech Castelli) came home in 50th and 59th place in Zoler and Diegem respectively.

As well as the senior riders, it was good to see juniors Innes McDonald (Scotia Off-Road RT), Sam Barbour (Ribble Rechrg) and Ruan Vorster (The Cycling Academy) also travel to the home of cyclocross.

McDonald has been in top form all season domestically and showed that class in the Exact Cross round in Loenhout with a 13th place finish, made all the better after being held up in the chaos of the start. Buoyed by strong rides in Diegem and Zolder shows that the promising Scot is in progressing well heading into 2024.

Vorster too ended his 2023 on a strong footing, after a strong learning experience in Zolder, he backed it up with a solid 37th place finish in Loenhout. While making his debut in Belgium, Sam Barbour had an excellent ride in Beernem managing to move up from the back row of the grid to the mid-pack, before racing against the world’s best juniors in Diegem.

At home, while there was a small respite from racing, Keith Stocker and the Scottish Cycling Performance coaches were putting riders through their paces in the snow at Callendar Park for the RACE National Session previewing the British National Championships, which are just 10 days away!

With over 50 riders taking to the snow-covered course, there’s plenty of enthusiasm from the Scots chomping at the bit to make their first footing into the 2024 racing calendar.

While across the Forth Valley at the West Lothian Cycle Circuit in Linlithgow, young riders from across the East and Central region took part in a winter training camp over three days to make the most of the winter holidays with a massive thanks to the clubs responsible for organising.