Laidlaw Sportive set to test the best

Legendary Hawick cyclist Ken Laidlaw
Legendary Hawick cyclist Ken Laidlaw

CYCLISTS from across Britain are gearing up to race into Hawick on Sunday to take part in the fourth Ken Laidlaw Scottish Borders Sportive.

A total of 500 enthusiasts, from as far afield as Portsmouth, have already signed up for the popular event, organised by Hawick Cycling Club, which starts from Hawick Rugby Club at 9am. No further entries can be taken.

Piloted in 2008 with great success, the gruelling 160km (100 miles) course takes in Ashkirk, the Ettrick and Yarrow Valleys, Tushielaw, Eskdalemuir, Langholm, Newcastleton and Bonchester Bridge before heading back to the Grey Auld Toon.

It’s a route designed to test even the most seasoned of cyclists, but with a second, shorter course for the less experienced, the event attracts enthusiasts of all abilities.

And co-organiser Hamish Smith hopes it will be another excellent opportunity to showcase what the town has to offer to the cycling world.

He told TheSouthern: “It’s not a race, but more of a personal challenge, and I think some of the top cyclists are going to be daunted by the long course.

“After three years the event is now singing and dancing and rolling along nicely, and we have a great support network, not just from cyclists, but from ordinary folk who just want to help out.”

Each competitor who finishes the course will receive a specially commissioned souvenir medal and a drinking bottle.

Laidlaw, who still cycles in South Carolina, originates from Hawick and was the first Scot to finish the Tour de France back in 1961 – only two other Scots have done it since.

Funds raised from the event will go to The Katie Mackerracher Trust, Macmillan Cancer Support as well as a donation to Tweed Valley Mountain rescue who are essential to the smooth running of the event.