The first edition of Raiders Gravel presented by Canyon finished on a high with a flatter, faster stage around the Galloway Forest Park and some huge smiling faces.
After an uphill neutral roll out, the third day was downhill for much of the middle of the route before ramping up towards the end.
And, like the two previous days Mikey Mottram went hard from the start, getting a gap and holding it to the finish to take the stage and overall win. Not far behind, his Team Spectra-Wiggle team mate Maddie Nutt capped a similar performance to take a dominant win in the women’s race.
“I’ve had a really good weekend,”Maddie said. “The courses have been pretty awesome, There was some pretty tough gravel today, but on the whole it’s been such smooth gravel, and the atmosphere is really good.
“It’s something that’s unique to gravel, the people are really friendly in a way you don’t really get in other kinds of racing.”
Mikey agreed with his team mate.
“It’s a lovely race, and really unique to have such constant and varying gravel. There’s plenty of space to ride tactically and work, so I really enjoyed it. I didn’t quite know who would be here, but I figured I’d start quite hard and see where we went from that kind of attack.”
But Raiders is not all about those racing for the win.
Wilfie Lundy came to Gatehouse of Fleet having never raced on gravel before and was pleased with what he found.
“To say it was fantastic would be selling it short. “The first stage was me learning and stage two getting to the climbs was fantastic, then getting to do a wee bit of speed and overtaking people was amazing.
“There was no [single] highlight, it was [all] absolutely brilliant.”
Lorna MacArthur rode in a mixed team with her husband, John, coming to the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere from their home in Glasgow.
“I fell in love with gravel over lockdown, getting out of the house and exploring, I always did quite a lot of cyclocross but not so much gravel, I discovered it and loved it, and this was a really good atmosphere, a really good set up.”
We’ll leave the last word to racer Maddie.
“I think the infrastructure of the event would allow for having people racing at one end, but also people just going to get round, there was a broom wagon and obviously we have all day. The gravel in general there was nothing too difficult or technical for people who were just going for fun, but it allowed for the race at the faster end.
“Having both kinds of riders is what brings the atmosphere and makes it more friendly.”
We’ll see you next year!