GREAT SCOTS - THREE OF THEM!
Laidlaw Wins His First Stage Race, Scotland's 360-mile 3-day, from Rae and McPherson
JUST eight days after smashing the Scottish 100-mile record, Ken Laidlaw, of Hawick, riding for Edinburgh " B " team, won the most colourful international stage race ever held in Scotland, the Scottish Daily Express three-day, which ended on Monday.
It was a great race for home riders who, in a field of 60, including French, English, Welsh, Scottish, Irish, Army and R.A.F. teams, and Scottish regional teams, were also second and third. J. Rae, the runner-up, actually rode in the official Army team that also won the team race; A. McPherson, third, was first of the Scottish national team in this 360-mile race. He is serving in the R.A.F. - and Laidlaw was on Army leave!
It was Laidlaw's first stage race and he did not win a stage. He came nearest to a win on the second day, from Troon to Dunnfries, where he finished third to J. Pound (England) Laidlaw came into the picture on stage 1 when he won the prime on the 500-ft. climb, after Largs, over the Hailey Brae. This was after 35 miles of flat riding.
The start from Paisley was uneventful until Bishopston, where McPherson (Scotland) led a break of five. They had opened up a 20-yard gap at the top of Langbank, but were drawn back on the downgrade. After Laidlaw won the prime at Hailey Brae the field closed up.
Not until Harlsford, on the outskirts of Kilmarnock, did the real move start. Gil Taylor got away and with him Perks, Frenchmen Camille Le-Menn (Isle of Man winner) and Viot, and Hughes (Wales), and Laidlaw.
It was helter-skelter through busy Kilmarnock and down towards the revised finish at Troon (instead of Ayr), with Ray Booty (Army) chasing. In a close finish the group had the same time of 4 hr: 26 min. 5 sec., and the placings were : Taylor, 1 ; Perks, 2; Le-Menn, 3; Viot, 4; Hughes, 5; Laidlaw, 6.
Booty finished seventh at 24 sec.; England had a team lead for Pound was in a bunch of seven that finished 6 sec. behind Booty and received an equal eighth placing.
The second stage started with a fast run down the coast to Ballantrae. Pound won the prime and a big bunch of 20 went ahead.
Le-Menn was among them, and with very forceful gesticulations he showed that he wanted more action. He got it from Taylor, who attacked relentlessly.
Then it was Rae and Laidlaw, with Booty backing up. On through Gatehouse of Fleet, and Pound began to dominate as Dumfries drew near. He fought it out with Rae and Laidlaw to win by a second.
Owen Blower (England) led in Booty and Hughes (Wales) at 8 sec., and just behind them, equal 7, at 9 sec., came Marr (Scotland) and Scally (Glasgow), followed by McPherson (Scotland) and Hargreaves (R.A.F.) at 10. sec. Plaudet (France) was at 2-12; Le-Menn, equal 15 with Perks, Taylor and Wiltcher (Army), was at 2-40.
Army Team Lead
The team position had changed and the Army led England. England had a 2-min. penalty for infringement but even without that were still in arrears.
Shock at the start of the final stage from Dumfries to Edinburgh was a 5-min. penalty on Le-Menn for his conduct.
Le-Menn rode the last day, but had trouble with his gears. He was never with the field, but rode over the whole course alone and flatly refused to retire and travel in the following car.
Laidlaw was in fine fettle for this last stage over his home ground. Derek Rowland. winner of last year's race, started the first move 5 miles out. He got away with Irishman McGuire, Molloy and Taylor. The English and French teams chased. Rowland went ahead on his own and promptly went off course! Wiltcher, Laidlaw, a Frenchman, and a group including Perks and Scally went up.
Laidlaw punctured near Hawick and Gordon Davidson, Dundee, went back to help him. Perks won the prime on Soutra with Rae close behind. The bunch toiled in spite of efforts by Perks, Rae and McPherson to get away. Laidlaw and Davidson rejoined the bunch. A following wind meant fast descents, but every move to break away was countered. Perks and Laidlaw attacked again and again, but there was rever a break.
Within sight of the finish at Woolmet Colliery, Laidlaw punctured again. Perks won the sprint followed by Viot, Scally, Addie (Glasgow "A") and Davidson in a bunch of 12. Laidlaw struggled in on a flat tyre 12 sec. down, just 9 sec. too soon for Rae!
Dumfries-Edinburgh stage: Perks, 5-27-25, 1 ; Viot, France, the same time, 2; E. Scally, at I sec., 3; D. Addie, Glasgow " A,' 4; G. Davidson, Dundee, and A. McPherson, at 2 sec., equal 5.
Final result - K. Laidlaw, Edinburgh " B," 16-9-17, 1; J. Rae, Army, at 9 sec., 2; A. McPherson, Scotland, at 15 sec., 3. J. Perks at 2-13, 4; E. Scally, Glasgow " A," at 4-13, 5; J. Christison, Scotland, at 5-13, 6: J. Pound, England, at 5-52, 7; R. Booty, Army, at 5-52, 8; G. Taylor. England, at 7-2, 9; B. Wiltcher, Army, at 8-35, 10.
Team - Army (Rae, Booty, Wiltcher), 48-42-29, 1 ; Scotland (McPherson, Christison, Marr), at 56 see., 2; England (Pound, Perks, Taylor), at 57 sec., 3.