MORE than 500 riders enjoyed a mud-splattered day of racing as cyclocross came to Dunfermline on Sunday.

The event, which was hosted by Dunfermline Cycling Club, was round four of the Raleigh Scottish Cyclocross series and attracted 530 competitors – including 120 youngsters aged 12 and under – to take part at the city’s Fife College campus.

The sport consists of timed races of up to an hour long over an enclosed course, featuring a variety of terrain including grass, obstacles, steep hills, wooded trails and pavement, and a number of West Fife riders took their place on the start line and enjoyed success.

In the under-8s race held over half a kilometre, Crossford youngster Finn Crowther took top honours by finishing 28 seconds ahead of second-placed Harris Holmes, while at the opposite end of the age scale, Brendan Roe finished on top in the Veterans 50 category.

Gary McCrae came home first in the V40 age group while other local winners included junior boys’ Conner Johnstone and under-16 rider Rory McGuire.

Dunfermline Cycling Club’s Andrew Bell said: “The event was round four in the Scottish Cyclocross Series and is leading up to the Scottish Championships at the Meedies (Lochore Meadows) in three weeks.

“We had all ages from under-eights to V50s, both sexes and had 530 people there.

“Up to under-12s, there were 120 kids and then from under-14 to under-16 there were another 70, which was great.

“The rise in popularity of cyclocross has gone through the roof in the last two or three years; it is inclusive, run under Scottish Cycling rules and is held in a safe, enclosed environment.

“What we’ve found is that as kids compete, parents start to see how much fun it is – or vice versa – and join in.

“It brings a good health benefit and to see so many kids competing was heart-warming.

“We had a few local winners too which was nice because it is a national thing. It is the largest growing section of the sport in Scotland and is about people having fun and going home with a smile on their face.

“I’d like to say thanks to Fife College for accommodating us and allowing us to put the event on, to the volunteers who helped the event go ahead and the competitors for coming along.”