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2018 Reivers Road Race

Saturday 24th March

Race report from Andrew Leigh

Pedal power all the way for riders in Reivers Road Race.

The collective colour chart of the peloton lit up local roads last weekend as Berwick Wheelers once again played host to their annual Reivers Road Race. Contrary to recent prevailing weather patterns, it was clear blue skies and pleasant temperatures that greeted the competitors as they amassed in the pretty Northumberland village of Etal, a welcome relief to those in the field who had battled dismal conditions in East Lothian just a fortnight previously. For its fifth incarnation the race maintained much of the format that has made it such a popular event with riders and spectators alike.


Added to the route last year, Allerdean Hill retained its place as a mid- lap leg tester, but the biggest change centred around Ford Bank; so long the race’s defining challenge it would now also provide its final act, with the finish line moved from Hay Farm to the lower steep slopes of the intimidating climb. Furthermore, the addition of a King of The Mountains and Prime Sprint prize meant that for those signing on the start sheet there was more to play for than just their finish position. With a total field of 120 riders across the day, containing representatives from many of Scotland and the North East’s strongest cycling clubs, the competition promised to be fierce and intriguing and it did not disappoint.


The category 3 and 4 riders were first to do battle, all eager to bag points towards advancing their British Cycling race licenses. Having been so successful in recent editions, including a clean sweep of one of the podium last year, keen eyes were focussed on the representatives from GS Metro and they once again proved to be prominent in the outcome. Over the course of 40 miles, an attacking race saw a whittled down group of around 20 riders arrive at the foot of Ford Bank for the final lung busting uphill burst. Emerging at the head of affairs was Roddy Weir of Muckle CC, another of the North East’s most active racing squad’s, gapping his pursuers in the closing meters and holding on to roll over the line victorious. Teenager Thomas Prentice took second place for the aforementioned GS Metro, with teammate Ellis McCoy in fourth, sandwiching Matthew Warhust of High Peak Cycles RT in third. The top five was rounded out by local rider Hamish Carrick, who not content with one high octane race, quickly refastened his shoe straps and lined up again for the second act of the day, the category 2/3/4 contest.


With an additional 20 miles to be negotiated, and the higher calibre of the field, this race was to initially be a more cagey and circumspect affair, though this did little to reduce the ferocious pace of the bunch. Ultimately, when the decisive break came, the strength of the riders involved meant that they were not to be seen by the main field again, and the finishing positions became a whittling down process as all round power told. Three riders were to stamp their authority on proceedings in the final lap, with the Oxford farm road, and its accompanying headwind, ending any cohesion between a further trio of pursuers. Always to the fore in this event, including tasting victory in 2016, Veloclub Edinburgh’s Scott Wardlaw was again successful in animating the race and arrived at the finale in the heat of the battle for the win. For him, however, it was not to be, as Calum Gray of Dundee University Cycling Club (DUMRCC) powered away up the finishing slope, cresting the toughest part of the rise with enough time to sit up and savour his triumph. For Wardlaw there was consolation in a well-earned second place, whilst a successful day for Muckle CC was rounded of by Sam Davies, crossing the line in third to complete the podium.

Original race details

Berwick Wheelers CC will hold its 5th consecutive annual road race based at the Etal Village Hall in Northumberland.

Continuing with the format established in 2017, Berwick Wheelers are proud to host a category 3/4 race just tipping the scales at 40 miles and a 2/3/4 category race of just over 60 miles. This has been approved by British Cycling and is a fully supported event including first-aid and on-route mechanic. The field is open to 60 riders in each race, utilises some of the Tour of Britain route for 2015, and takes on the challenging Ford Bank KOM climb.

The Reivers Road Race starts at the village hall and is neutralised up Ford Bank (for both races) before the flag is dropped and the race is started. The category 3/4 race will tackle the 19.70 mile circuit of the Reivers Road Race loop twice in total with an uphill finish on the main road. Please note that this is a change to the finish for 2018 - instead of turning left and heading up Hay Farm hill, the race will continue on and finish on Ford Bank. Also new for this year (2018) we have a Prime award - this will be for the first rider over the finish line on the first lap for the cat 3/4 race and the first rider over the finish line on the second lap for the Cat 2/3/4 race.

The 2/3/4 race will tackle the same loop three times in total before the same uphill finish on the main road.