CHARLESTOWN cyclist Joe Nally just missed out on first place in the Jack Murray Junior Trophy on Saturday.

The 16-year-old was on familiar turf with the race for youngsters incorporated into the Dunfermline Road Race.

Nally was competing in the 50 mile event on roads around Lathalmond – it’s taken place there every year since 2002 – which is 10 laps of a 7.71km course.

The hilly route also adds up to a total ascent of more than 100 metres and the Hardie Bikes cyclist, who races for Great Britain, finished second.

There were 68 riders in total and the event was open to third and fourth category riders, all juniors and all women.

Dunfermline Cycling Club chairman Tom Bishop said: “We had riders from all over Scotland and a record entry of 28 juniors, who dominated the race and took most of the top 15 places.

“It was a windy day and quite wintry at times, it’s quite a challenge and there’s a steep incline but it’s a good event and one we enjoy.

“Logistically it’s a big effort. It’s not a closed road race, that’s why we had officials standing out there for two hours, and we had 35 volunteers and support vehicles.”

The Jack Murray Junior Trophy was won by Alexander Macrae, of Speedflex Race Team, with Nally just behind.

Top in the Dunfermline Road Race, for category three and four riders, was Sean Stead of Glasgow Nightingale CC. Bishop said: “To have so many juniors doing this event was a great delight.

“Jack Murray gave the trophy originally to encourage young people to race and we’ve got a local rider in Joe Nally who’s doing very well.

“He just missed out on first place on Saturday.”

The sport has experienced a real surge in popularity and Bishop, a volunteer with Scottish Cycling, added: “Cycling has become very popular.

“Dunfermline Cycling Club now has 140 members and the junior section, the Carnegie Cyclones, has about 40.

“Across the UK they reckon there’s about two million people cycling. “There are also a lot of people who don’t compete but just want to do the activity as it’s so healthy.

“They want to lose weight, keep fit and enjoy themselves.”