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Gravel glory for Galloway

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By Christie Breen
Sport
Gravel glory for Galloway

SOME of the world’s top gravel bike racers were in Galloway last week for the UK’s only UCI qualifier event in the discipline.

The Gralloch race was held at Gatehouse of Fleet with multiple races over the four days.

It was the second year that the gravel race had been staged in Dumfries and Galloway and the trails of the Galloway Forest Park provided a stern test for the competitors once again. Riders took on a 113 kilometre course, tackling a 90 per cent off-road course set over more than 1800 metres of climbing.

Gravel racing has enjoyed a boom in popularity recently and fills a gap between road, cyclocross and mountain bike racing.

It is held on gravel tracks but often with stretches of paved road to link to off-road sections. The bikes have wider tyres in order to help cope better with the tricky terrain.

Almost 1100 riders signed up for the 2024 event, of which 861 started and 779 finished. Riders attended from all over the world, representing 32 nationalities.

Spectators lined the barriers many rows deep along the start and finish straight in Gatehouse of Fleet, and local businesses reported higher than average footfall for a Saturday.

Woman’s race winner Geerike Schreurs

Riders Matthew Holmes and Geerike Schreurs were the winners of the men’s and women’s races in ‘ideal racing conditions’.

Maximilian Wussler, co-founder of organisers Red On Sports, said the area had proved ideal for the race, he said: “The Galloway Forest Park has once again proved itself as the perfect stage for what is quickly becoming Europe’s premier gravel race,” he said.

“With stunning weather and great racing conditions riders got to experience the very best of the south west of Scotland.

“The support from local businesses, community organisation and residents has been phenomenal and builds a strong foundation for the event in this region.

“We look forward to continue working with them all going forward.”

  • Photos by Sportograph

 

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