By Alan Woodison

Pictures: Fiona Wallace

CYCLISTS from all over the UK saw Irvine at its best and brightest over a sunny weekend of racing at the Beach Park.

It was the first time the UK National Cyclocross Trophy had come to Scotland. A cyclocross or CX race lasts for about an hour and consists of short laps on surfaces comprising an assortment of grass, mud, gravel or tarmac … and, in Irvine’s case, sand. Obstacles are sometimes thrown in to make the effort harder!

Six-hundred riders brought their race-ready bikes for two days of racing organised by Walkers Cycling Club, which has members based around Irvine and Kilmarnock. This was the second of six rounds – the others were all held down south.

The Irvine circuit was first used as a base for cyclocross racing 11 years ago and quickly won over riders because of its challenging terrain and open seaside environment.

The sport’s governing bodies, the UCI and British Cycling, are likely to at least consider the Beach Park as a possible World Cup venue.

Scott Kerr, the Walkers Cycling Club member who headed up the bid to bring the national to Scotland, was delighted with the outcome.

“We couldn’t have had better weather,” he said. “The course was in great shape and the competitors loved it. The views out to Arran also took a trick with visitors.”

Scott, from Irvine, praised the sponsors who came forward with support – including North Ayrshire Council, Malcolm Group, Stagecoach Buses, Hillhouse Quarry, James Frew Ltd, Billy Bowie Tanker Services and Big Bobble Hats.