Ythan CC rider Russell Craig headed to Ballater at the weekend looking to build on his eighth place the previous week at Monikie Park as he took part in the Falling Leaves Stage Race, writes Malcolm Grant.
The event included a prologue time trial and two road stages with the final road stage featuring the infamous climb of Gairnshiel. The entire weekend was raced off at a high average speed with the peloton splitting apart on both road stages but none more so than on the Gairnshiel itself on Sunday afternoon, when a lead group of riders, including eventual overall winner Fraser Martin (Spokes RT), broke away on the ascent.
Martin went on to claim the stage and the winner’s blue jersey.
Prologue TT winner Craig Wallace (Infisport-Alvanet) had entered the final stage with a nine-second lead over Martin after he had defended his jersey during Saturday’s road stage which was won by Gavin Shuttleworth (Project 51).
Ythan’s Craig couldn’t repeat his performance from Dundee a week earlier but rode well over the weekend to complete the elite level event in 52nd overall.
This weekend will see the 3 Braes TT on Deeside with riders facing a 20-mile loop with three timed climbs including Cairn Mon Earn providing a warm up for the District Hill Climb Championships the following weekend.