SHANE FENTON reports fron THE WILDERNESS
The 144th Airth Highland Games began in glorious sunshine but unfortunately ended in a prolonged deluge of rain which resulted in the last few track events having to take place on a water-logged track. Even the ambulance which was in attendance at the games had to be pulled out of the mud by a tractor.
The extensive covering of the highland dancing stages proved to be worth every penny, not only did it allow the contest to continue but it became a refuge for nearly every athlete,cyclist and official when the heavens opened.
Before all that the sizeable crowd were treated to some fine competition, the £200 top prize in the 90 metres handicap was won by Callum MacWilliams,East Kilbride AC who breasted the tape a metre clear of Jordan Charters, Dolphinton with Calum Field, East Kilbride AC close up in third. Geoff Keen, Selkirk, Martin Barr, East Kilbride AC and Cameron Smith, Central AC made up the six runner line up for the final.
The 200 metres was won by Geoff Keen who earlier in the week had won the 90m at the Burntisland Games, the Selkirk runner continued his fine vein of form by stopping the clock at 19.88 seconds ahead of Ewan McCombie, Edinburgh who stayed on determindley for second with Jordan Charters in third,
The 400 metres was one of the races which took place in sodden conditions, it didn't deter a big field of 12 runners toeing the start line. It resulted in an East Kilbide 1 - 2 with Calum Field holding off Callum McWilliams and the fast finishing Ewan Dyer, Pitreavie AC. Earlier in the day, Dyer, one of a number of athletes who had been competing all week finished runner up in the 800 metres handicap behind Willie Bates, Tullibody, Matthew Turner, Shettleston, running from the backmark finished third.
The 1600 metres handicap produced an exciting finish between Dean Whiteford Innerleithen and Rory Anderson, Hawick with the former's customary burst of speed in the closing stages winning him the day, Turner was again third with Jordan Taylor 4th. Matthew Turner another athlete who has had an exhausting week finally bagged a win with victory in the 3200 metres, splashing through from the backmark to out-stay Rory Anderson and Dean Whiteford.
There was a close finish to the final of the Youth's 90 metres with Ewan Smith, Central AC taking the tape ahead of newcomer Andrew Young, Larkhall AC with Sean Bates, Tullibody edging home ahead of backmarker Keiran Halliday Central AC for 3rd. Bates who is having a good season turned in another fine run to win the Youth's 1600 metres, twins Lewis and Lauren Blair, Pitreavie AC filled the minor berths.
Due to holidays and clashing with Halkirk Games only four bikes contested the Open races with three in the youth's. Ryan Keir, Newburgh won his first ever race on the circuit with victory in the 1600m, Davy Mathieson also from Newburgh claimed the 3200 metres before Steve Jackson, Glasgow landed the 4800 metres and Deil double. The three aforementioned riders along with Ian Hepburn deserve a special mention for seeing out the 4800 metres which took place in monsoon like conditions for the entiriety of the race.
11 year old Ross Birrell, Carnegie CC will remember his first ever race on the games circuit as he raced to victory in the Youth's 800 metres from Alistair Helmsley, West Lothian Clarion and Marco Caira Markinch. Helmsley went on to win the 1600 metres from Caira and Birrell.
Again due to a number of other games taking place there was only four competitors in the heavy events including Bruce Robb and Neil Elliot, results to follow.
Published: 2015-07-25 23:08:59