Record entries reinforce Ken Laidlaw Sportive’s popularity

HAWICK,  UNITED KINGDOM - 21 Aug 2011: 'Ken Laidlaw Sportive'''(Photo by Alistair Graham / Freelance)
HAWICK, UNITED KINGDOM - 21 Aug 2011: 'Ken Laidlaw Sportive'''(Photo by Alistair Graham / Freelance)

PLANS are already in place for the fifth Ken Laidlaw Scottish Borders Sportive after a record 470 riders took part in this year’s event.

Starter numbers, up by 112 from 2010’s then record-breaking entry, enjoyed good weather conditions on Sunday as they chose to tackle three different routes, all starting in Hawick, birthplace of Tour de France cyclist Laidlaw.

HAWICK,  UNITED KINGDOM - 21 Aug 2011: 'Ken Laidlaw Sportive'''(Photo by Alistair Graham / Freelance)

HAWICK, UNITED KINGDOM - 21 Aug 2011: 'Ken Laidlaw Sportive'''(Photo by Alistair Graham / Freelance)

Co-organiser Hamish Smith described the day as “fantastic” and said the taking part, not the fastest times, were the most important aspect of the sportive.

He told TheSouthern: “I think the first rider made it back in five hours and 10 minutes, but it is not a race, more a personal challenge. We had two riders who came in an hour behind the rest in around eight hours, but they said they enjoyed the scenery and stopped for cups of tea along the way.

“It must have been some sight at Roberton – it must have seemed like there were cyclists for miles and miles. We received compliments from every rider who crossed the finish line and I really think that is because of the magic and beauty of the Borderland.”

Hamish thanked 20 volunteers in cars and motorbikes who allowed the event to run smoothly.

“They are such a help because they allow Hawick Cycling Club members – of which there were 25 this year – to take part in the sportive,” he said, adding: “I think it is so popular because it is organised by cyclists for cyclists. A lot of other events have become commercialised.”

Among those groups to benefit financially from the sportive was the Katie McKerracher Trust, which had 15 cyclists taking part in specially-designed pink shirts – the colour of the charity named after the Ettrickbridge girl who died in 2009 after being diagnosed with a brain tumour. The McKerracher team had the honour of leading the riders from the start line at Hawick Rugby Club through the town centre.

Others to receive cash from the thousands of pounds raised include Macmillan Cancer Support, Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue, Hawick RFC and a local pony club.

A full list of finish times are available at www.hamishdsmith.co.uk.co.uk/cycling