HT550 – The First Finisher is In!

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The Highland Trail 550, 550 miles in length with over 16000m of climbing, started on Saturday morning, 22nd May, and the first finisher is already in. With some diversions in place this year, it’s not clear that this will stand as an official record time, but it is Very Fast. More impressive still, winner Liam Glen is on a singlespeed Stooge Scrambler.

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Liam crossed the line in 3 days, 10 hours and 55 minutes, having led the race from the outset. Second, third and fourth place riders are much closer, though fourth-placed Josh Ibbett may just have lost touch with Andrew Hutcheson and James Hayden. Annie Le is leading the way for the women, though Emma Holgate isn’t far behind.

On hearing the news, Stooge Bikes owner, Andy Stevenson said, “Does this mean the Scrambler is now a pedigree race bike? But seriously, I’m in absolute bloody awe of Liam’s achievement, he’s a single-speed God and should be carried aloft. The fact he’s on the bike I designed for this kind of stuff is an unexpected delight. Or in proper English, I’m over the effin moon. But this is definitely about the athlete and not the bike. What an achievement!”

Of the over 60s in the race, Ian McNab is leading the way, Mike Sheldrake has scratched, but oldest rider Chris Johnstone is still going.

Joining Mike on the scratch list are 14 other riders, including organiser Alan Goldsmith. The first couple of days were pretty cold and wet, and if you weren’t feeling it or had an unlucky run on mechanicals it was tough going. For the remaining riders out there, the forecast is improving, though there’s enough water sloshing around on the ground that it’ll certainly not be ‘dry’ for some time yet.

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