Published: 11th Sep 2023 Images: Scottish Cycling

It’s a Shaw Thing

Eilidh and Struan Shaw were both victorious at the Scottish National Circuit Champs.
Pictures: Ben FitzHugh

The Shaw family left Fife Cycle Park a happy bunch and with a pair of Scottish Cycling Criterium titles after brilliant rides from Eilidh Shaw and Struan Shaw to take victory in the Senior Women’s and Youth A Boy’s races respectively.

In her first race back after a long injury lay-off, Eilidh Shaw (Alba Road Team) surpassed her expectations to lift the Senior Women’s title on a brilliant day of action at Fife Cycle Park. The sun shone down all day, however the wind picked up for the afternoon races, making them largely tactical affairs.

In the Women’s showpiece, Morven Yeoman and Beth Morrow (DAS-Handsling) did their fair share of the work, with Shaw always keeping close order, but despite the lead group whittling down, nobody was allowed to escape from the bunch, meaning it would come down to a bunch sprint.

Utilising her track speed and skill, Shaw pounced at the right moment, punching the air in delight as she took a victory that signified far more than just crossing the line first. Silver went to the fast-finishing Anna Murgatroyd (Vanelli-Project Go) with Morrow bagging bronze – another talented young rider on the comeback trail.

On her win, Shaw said:

“I’ve been out for quite a while with injury this season, and this is my first race back, so to come up and win is pretty amazing! I’ve been working with Scottish Cycling and had the support of family and friends, which has helped so much to get me back to this point.

“The wind played a massive part, as every time someone tried to get away it would just get brought back because it was too windy. It ended up coming down to the final sprint and that’s where I came through. When people were trying to attack I was staying close on the wheels, so I thought we could maybe leave it to the sprint, and it worked out in the end.”

The Junior Women’s race also came down to the last lap, but rather than a sprint Millie Thomson (Deeside Thistle) attacked her counterparts with two minutes of racing to go, streaking clear to take the title. The minor medals went the way of JRC-Interflon’s pair of Isla’s, Easto taking silver and McCutheon the bronze.

The Senior Men’s race, despite coming down to a reduced sprint in the end, flipped the script on the style of racing, with attacks going up the road from the get go, Wheelbase Cabtech Castelli using their numerical advantage well, but these were all snuffed out, Ciaran McSherry (The Cycling Academy) doing a lot of the chasing.

Eventually though it was a surprise move from Kevin Barclay (Dooleys Cycles) that drew out Aaron King (Wheelbase) and Murray Souter (Torvelo), before Tim Shoreman (Wheelbase) and Lewis Martin (Studio Velo) dragged a handful of riders across the gap to form a lead group of 10 that would go the distance.

Much as before, any attacks from this group were quickly neutralised, either by Wheelbase or by the other riders trying to stop there three-man advantage counting, until William Taylor stole a march with five laps to go and nobody responded. It took until three laps to go, with the gap now out at 20 seconds, for Wheelbase to get organised and start to reel him in, but the Borders man was holding strong, and it was going to be oh so tight.

In the end he was agonisingly caught on the final bend, allowing King to lead out Shoreman for the win, albeit McSherry coming within a wheel for silver, Souter bagging bronze.

Describing the race, champion Shoreman said:

“It was a good race – quite hard – but I think we used our team really well to control it. It was Wheelbase against everyone else, but we used our numbers pretty well. I wasn’t sure we’d bring him back, but we rallied the troops and we got him back eventually – it was pretty close in the end!

“I was fairly confident in my sprint, but I haven’t raced in the last month, so you can never be sure. Now it’s on to the Road Race tomorrow.”

The final race of the day was the Junior Men’s and it couldn’t have been any different – pedestrian lap times as everyone played cat and mouse. Into the second half of proceedings the touch paper was finally lit, and after a few failed moves, Ahron Dick (The Cycling Academy) and Lewis Dey (RT23) attacked through the finish line going clear.

A trio including eventual bronze medallist Benjamin Kennedy (Spokes RT) tried to bridge the gap, but the duo out front, working together seamlessly, proved too strong. Slowing up in the last half a lap, the remaining crowds were treated to a drag race to the line, Dick taking the title on the throw.

The first part of the Shaw story came in the Youth A Boy’s, as Struan led an Edinburgh AC one-two, forging clear of his breakaway companions to take a convincing victory. In an exciting, attacking race, no moves would stick until West Lothian Clarion’s Vyaan Dhokia escaped and would be the lone leader for some five lap before being reeled in. There were more attacks, but the next to stick would be the decisive one, Shaw joined by Elliot Speedie and Evan Marsh of Johnstone Wheelers.

It was only a couple of laps later that Shaw would attack again, forging clear and going all the way to the line, with Speedie winning the two-way sprint for silver, Marsh having to settle for bronze. The championships also acted as the final round of the Scottish National Youth Circuit Series, however an absent Jamie Sweeney had already sown up the crown, but Shaw dragged himself into second, and Speedie third, for an Edinburgh clean sweep of the podium standings.

The Youth B Boys race was a more sedate affair, the field riding a cagey race that would eventually come down to a bunch sprint, in which another Edinburgh boy would take the spoils, gold going to Andrew Levinson. Deeside Thistle’s Innes Long would take silver with Xander Graham getting up for bronze. In the Circuit Series, the top two would be the same as the finale today, Reuben McLardie of Johnstone Jets taking the final podium spot, one better than his fourth place finish on the day

Getting proceedings underway at the start of the day were the Youth D and Youth E boys and girls, and they had great fun blasting round the circuit as the sun burnt off the early morning fog – well done to all those who took part.

The Youth A & B Girls were next on track, with a huge contingent of Deeside Thistle riders making up large parts of the two main packs, with the Youth B’s starting some 30 seconds after their elders.

With the Youth B’s halving the gap within a few laps, Kayla Dinnin of Dumfries CC decided to forge on solo to try and preserve the gap, which she did for a good 20 of the 30 minute race. Resplendent in her British Champion’s jersey, Melanie Rowe broke clear of her counterparts, and with five laps to go it was the Rowe and Dinnin at the head of affairs, and it looked as if the two titles would be going their way.

That proved to be the case, Rowe attacking just after the finish line with a lap to go, driving on to cross the line arm in the air, Dinnin coming across a few seconds later to take the Youth A title. Harriert Hendry would finish second to take silver, her Deeside Thistle teammates sprinting for bronze, Thea Aitken coming out on top. In the Youth Circuit Series, Kayla wrapped up victory, with the absent Erin Boothman second and Eva Murphy third.

In the Youth B race, Rowe’s Deeside teammate Ava Luce would take a clear silver, with another sprint for the final medal going the way of Glasgow Riderz Millie Boothman. In the series Luce would take top spot and Boothman third, with Eve Fairburn of Discovery Juniors securing second place after fourth on the day.

Last, but by no means least, the Youth Cs enjoyed their moment in the sun, with Josh Stewart (SteppingStanes) putting in a brilliant ride over 15 laps to win the boys race by a full minute, whilst in the girls it was a sprint to the line, Emma Nicholson (East Kilbride RC) edging out Lucy Leslie (Salt Ayre Cog Set) and Eilidh Scally (Johnstone Jets).

Full results can be found here