ERC 2021 Midweek TT Series - Week 8 - Breaking the Race Numbers Code

22 July 2021

It was the return of the 10M TT last night, with absolute bumper numbers. We had 49 people sign up on online, a few DNS' and a tandem left us with 45 riders competing last night. 45. A brimful of Asha. I should, by this point, not be surprised by the numbers we're getting. Yet whenever I recollect to 2019, where getting to 45 would have happened over 2-3 weeks, getting it one night is a joyous surprise.

It was a glorious evening after a week of continual scorchio weather. Well, I assume it has been lovely up here in Scotland, it certainly was in Cumbria, Newcastle, York and Chesterfield (what a grand tour ey!). We certainly felt the heat in York last week - we didn’t have air con in our room. Which meant at 2am, after struggling to sleep, I resorted to chucking a handful of ice in a bathroom towel and wrapping it around my neck. Hannah was a little surprised when she woke to me with a damp, warm towel around my head.

The scorchio weather last night meant that marshals could top up their tans – I see now why Lewis arrived wearing Lucie’s kit (shorter arms and legs = better tan opportunities). It also meant once under TT helmets, we were going to sweat like lil’ suckling piggies. I had to resort to a headband under my helmet, which made me look like a knock off Andre Agassi (when he had hair). I mention Andre Agassi because my hairline will soon go the way of Andre’s. I still have the 80s curls but soon the inevitable 90s Agassi baldness will arrive. Sigh.

Another consequence of the weather and subsequent sweating would be cramp. Raise your hand if you got cramp last night. I sure did. Inner quad/adductor cramp about 3am which caused me to leap out of bed and hobble around the bedroom, trying to both stretch it out and keep my wounded puppy whimpers to a minimum - so not to wake Hannah. I think Hannah is so used to me getting inconveniently timed nocturnal cramp that she is cold to it. It’s a bit like ‘the Boy who cried Wolf’. But in this instance, it’s ‘the Man who cried cramp’. I think the moral of the story is the same.

#Compulsoryweddingchat actually got requested, don’t blame me, blame Emma Borthwick. She also commented that the reports are essentially ‘Dan’s life blog.’ Too right. If you give me an online platform - expect me to talk about myself! Attending the wedding last week gave Hannah and I a few hints and tips, a few do’s and don’ts. Also, that if you have your wedding at a hotel – if you order two G&Ts, don’t expect much change from a £20 note! If it wasn’t for the fact they made too much food - which meant I got two main courses and two sticky toffee puddings, I’d have lost it.

Returning to last night, the main drama surrounded DNS’, late arrivals, assigning and swapping race numbers. So here goes. Pierpaolo & Kasey thought they had entered last night but had entered for the 28th and they got in touch after I published the startsheet to query. I therefore created a ‘0’ rider for Pierpaolo and set Kasey off last, as rider 46. However, we then had 2 DNS', Chris Allen and Beth Harley-Jepson let me know mid-afternoon they couldn’t make it, so I moved Kasey to rider 19 and Pierpaolo to rider 16. They still signed on as rider 0 and 46 however. Still with me so far?

That was Part I of the number saga, Part II involved Chris Borthwick and Tom Priestner. This may take a while. Right, so, Chris was assigned number 5 but missed his start time. At this point Tom hadn’t arrived either, Chris was therefore given number 47 but told to set off at 19:34. So to recap, Chris WAS rider 5 given number 47 riding as number 34. Got it? Tom then arrives at about 19:35, thus missing his start time. We told Tom to race at 19:47 but to wear and sign on as number 34.

Just so you’re all with me:

Pierpaolo Sidoti was rider 0, signed on as rider 0 but raced as number 16

Kasey Park was number 46, signed on as 46 but raced as number 19

Chris Borthwick was number 5, missed his start time, was given the physical number 47 and raced as number 34


Tom Priestner was number 34, missed his start time, was given the physical number 34 and raced as number 47.

Clear as mud?

Well done and apologies to Emma and Oliver, our timekeepers last night, for dealing with the number saga.

So, to the racing. It was a quick night, if I remembered this correctly Steve Canney confirmed that you want low barometric pressure, high humidity and preferably a warm temperature.

We had 5 ladies race last night, Sarah Scott was the fastest on the night in a time of 25:01. 2nd fastest was Sarah Emslie 26:51, 3rd was Yolanda Solans finishing in 26:55 and 4th was Fiona McDonnell of Ronde CC who finished in 27:27. 12-year-old Kasey Park, one of the three under 18s that raced last night, finished in 31:12.

Talking of youngsters, Xander Graham was out again trying to out-do his Dad, Martin. Xander finished in 26:29, the same time as last week. Xander is an artist in consistency. His 10M TT times this year have been 27:27, 27:27, 26:29 & 26:29! Alasdair Easton was our other under 18 racing yesterday, the 13-year-old Alasdair finished in 27:45.

Of the road bikers last night, the fastest was James Feeney who finished in 22:46. 2nd was Tom Priestner, remember him, rider 34/47, Tom finished 18th overall and in a time of 23:10. 3rd was Martin Graham who completed the course in 23:47.

As you may have also noticed we had a tandem racing last night. It was piloted by Warren Crombie and Mark Anderson of Musselburgh Roads CC. Mark and Warren completed the course in 21:35 but I added an arbitrary 90 seconds to that time to account for the tandem – this also put it more or less bang on to the average time of Mark & Warren’s last 10M time. But that’s not the whole story. When I set off on my effort, I thought I saw someone in a MRCC kit walking back to the start area. I was right. Apparently, Mark and Warren had a mechanical issue on their warmup. Which meant one of them had to walk back to fix it, it turns out they actually got a lift back to the start, by whom we don’t know. Warren is not a stranger to mechanical tandem issues, back in 2019 he raced on a tandem, it started with 2 people but by the finish only Warren appeared! This time however Warren didn’t ditch his compatriot and they both finished together. Their adjusted time of 23:05 put them 16th overall.

We also had 6 2021 first timers last night. Bruce Kidd either suffered an unfortunate puncture or ended up in North Berwick and returned to Tranent in 51:23. Gearoid Reidy 28:47. Matthew Handy 25:18. Sarah Scott 25:01. James Addie 23:04 and Ken Russell, finding time in his busy schedule directing controversial stylised independent British movies, finished in 11th overall in 22:32.

As we enter the top 10 – Les Evans of Muckles CC was 10th in 22:28, Steve Canney 9th in 22:24, Joe Agnew 8th in 21:52, 7th was Ian Dobbie 21:49 and 6th, yes you read that right, 6th Alan Dean 21:42.

The top 5 was made up of, myself in 5th – I only usually enter the top 5 if we have a field of 5! I finished in my course PB of 21:39, clearly buying speed and being coached by Rory works. Since my prior best to this year was 22:58! 4th was Leahn Perry in 21:35. 3rd Paul Davis of MRCC in 21:29. 2nd was Sandy Waller sneaking under the 21-minute mark in 20:59. And 1st. 1st you’ll be surprised to hear, in a storming time of 19:51, was Rory Downie! Bear in mind last weekend, Rory, who had never ridden a TT distance of 25M or above until a month ago, finished 5th at the Scottish National 50M Champs – as I’ve said before, I really like Rory but sometimes I do hate him a little bit.

Many many thanks again to our volunteers, special guest Emma Borthwick for timekeeping alongside Oliver Teenan. Alan Burke for signs & marshalling. Lewis Hutchison for Macmerry marshalling and Paul Rayner for start area duties.

Full Results here - Week 8 Results

Hope to see you all next week. Please keep putting your name down to volunteer.

Go well