Bute feels force of pedal power

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CYCLISTS from all over Scotland converged on Bute at the weekend for the annual festival of cycling organised by the Bute Wheelers - and the quality on show demonstrated that the event is still a firm favourite with the country’s cycle-racing fraternity.

Top billing in the 2011 festival programme was the Drummond Trophy, being staged on Bute for the first time, which attracted a field of more than 30 of the country’s very best road cyclists.

The winner this year was George Atkins from Leicestershire, winner of the 2009 British national junior road race championship and a 2010 Commonwealth Games silver medallist, who overhauled long-time leader and favourite Evan Oliphant with only a few miles of the race - comprising three laps of the island loop - remaining.

The trophy was presented by Norrie Drummond, whose father instituted the Drummond Trophy race more than half a century ago, and Dot Smith, whose son Brian commentates on cycling for the Eurosport TV channel and is a former professional cyclist and past Drummond Trophy winner.

The weekend’s other winners included Grant Ferguson, who triumphed in the adult Serpentine hillclimb on Saturday morning and was the only entrant to break the two-minute barrier, and Chris Smart, who completed the ten-mile Ettrickdale time trial course on Sunday morning in a time of 21 minutes and 53 seconds.

Both winners received prizes from the local firms who sponsored the two events - The Bike Shed and Bute Backpackers respectively.

There were good showings, too, from the junior entrants throughout the weekend, with Lewis Blair winning the Ettrickdale time trial and Cameron Greatorex the junior hillclimb event.

All the participants were full of praise for the efforts of the festival’s organisers in putting together a programme which should ensure the Bute weekend continues to be a favourite in Scotland’s cycling fixture list.