BICRL Round 5 - ITT

Tonight's Individual Time Trial saw conditions a little grim, bur certainly bearable as 53 riders lined out to represent their clubs. 15.5 miles of undulating wet roads formed tonight's test, with the event full aero. There was a mix of both Road Bike and TT Bike amongst the starters. Evidently TTs will always favour the specialist machinery, that said, there's a saying "You cant keep a good man down" and there were those there tonight to prove it, with a number of those on Road Bikes highly placed. Individually the night belonged to Mark Johnston VCI who run out the winner, making this 2 out of 2. Mark posted the fastest time at 36.49 and was just over 30 secs faster than second placed John Buller BCC. John takes the prize for first Road Bike home, with Emily Roberts TVR first female home. Random placing prize was drawn prior to the event starting (22) John Ervine CCC.

BCC took the club points with a combined score of 60, VCI keeping the pressure on were 2nd on 100 points with TVR and CCC split by just 3 points on 222 and 225 respectively. Half way in now, VCI hold a 2 point lead on BCC with TVR 3rd and CCC 4th. Next event is new to the series and is a Road Race on the Tandragee Road Race Circuit, but unlike the motorcycles, we will rotate in the opposite direction.

As ever a big thanks to all those who marshalled and administrated the event. Its a particularly unsavoury task on a cold damp night. Also thanks to Karl and his very professional IT set Up, outstanding at both start and finish and to Colin Finley CCC, always there in the background sorting marshals and, setting out/ lifting signage before and after we all leave. 

Well done all, both event support and competitor.

BICRL Round 4 - Banbridge Criterium

4 Events in and VCI continue to hold the early lead, though with 6 events to go, including an Individual TT, a Hill Climb, 4 man TTT and several Road Races, its way too early to total up the hens. 

Event 4 was a particularly tricky and ambitious project, which had many complications. Each club fielded 8 riders to make a field of 32. As ever, racing was hard fought right from the start, in this opportunity to compete in the closed circuit scenario widely known as a Criterium.

Conditions on the night were damp which caused several to hold back a little. Combining the elements of both a criterium and a track styled elimination race was an audacious concept and one that proved a real test to manage on the night, given the mix of rider adrenaline, noise levels etc. This said, the race was well received by spectators and with a huge entertainment factor, all participants seemed to enjoy the race buzz.  The goal for us was to eliminate the last 2 riders in the field pretty much each lap until only 4 remained to fight it out. After the allotted time of 30 minutes or so a winner emerged as Johnny Kyle of VCI.

For many support race to a Cycling Ulster Criterium Championship race was a huge honour. Our thanks to BCC and all those who were involved in any way. Such a project cannot come off without huge background work and vision. Thank you Aaron Wallace and Team.

BICRL Round 3 - 2Up TTT (22nd May 2019).

Event 3 on the planned Loughbrickland to Banbridge  venue via the Lissize Rd was a full on affair with another great turn out of 61 riders. Originally planned as a 17 mile mid distance test, the event was shortened by the series committee to 12 miles and a finish in Annaclone This was due to community respect a safety concern further along the route.

On the night weather conditions were great for racing, 16c a cool breeze and nice dry roads. The event starts beside the lake at Loughbrickland heads along the rolling hills on its way towards Rathfriland before turning on the Lissize Rd to head back towards Banbridge via Annaclone. Plenty of little kicker hills and a fast finish running down from Mays Corner gave all a sturdy test.

For 2 weeks now "the Bear" as BCC has novely become known, has been poked and prodded by VCI taking the first 2 event wins. Event 3 saw the Bear back from its slumber. 

With the best 4 pairs to count for each club it was going to be tight with little likely or expected to separate the top honours. With the chips down and all in, it was VCI whom took top pairing with yet another strong performance from rising talent John Davidson (A3), whom powered his way to the top with William Strain (A4), whom admitted it was a bit of a white knuckle ride for him. Just 22 seconds covered the top 7 teams which shows just how close and how little can make the difference. Just a few poor gear changes, or changeovers within the pairs could have made the difference. Only 8 seconds back were second on the night Peter McBride and James McMahon of BCC, they had 2 seconds over Stevie Fitzsimmons and Mark Stewart BCC and they had just 3 seconds over Mark Johnston and Neil Seffen of VCI. Incredibly tight..

There were great performances right across the timing boards, Emily Roberts TVR was first lady home and young Frank Finley of CCC last weeks race winner coming home within the CCC top 4. There were stories too of punctures and riding flat to the finish and of touched wheels and sadly a crash involving BCC rider Brian Hannon. Both examples of just how committed our riders are and the narrow edge we all ride on. Brian is doing well by the way, nursing some cuts and grazes.

I guess we are all nursing some cuts having been clawed by the bear in this event. BCC took the honours with a combined team score of 19, VCI second on 25, TVR third on 55 and CCC just pipped to fourth on a team score of 56.

Our thanks to all our marshals and support staff including vehicles, whom once again keep us in business. Weve now a one week break before being back Wed 6th June with a Crit event in Banbridge Town Centre. Please note this event will have a reduced field, we would ask that if not racing, you come along to support  your riders and the event which includes an Ulster Crit Championship race.

BICRL Round 2 - Update

It would be inaccurate to suggest that most are unaware of the phrase "Don't poke the Bear" but that is exactly what VCI did in Event 1, when taking a lead in this years race series.. BCC in fairness have been busy with a number of major projects taking focus, not least of which includes hosting The Tour of Ulster over the May Day weekend.

In Event 2, they went one stage further to give the Bear a bloody nose.

With the continuing good weather and favourable conditions, 73 riders started Event 2 on the familiarly testing Annaclone Race Circuit. 4 Laps of just over 31 miles total, awaited the field split into 6 groups. 21 minutes was the spread of handicaps, with all clubs well represented and spread fairly evenly amongst the groups. Group 1 left at 7.00pm with 7 minutes on Group 2, who had 6 mins on Group 3, with Groups 4, 5 and 6 at +4mins, + 4mins.

As always frantic pace and tempo was driven by adrenalin and a hard desire to perform for your club. The first laps saw some shake out although for 3 laps positions largely held station,,with only those dropping from their respective groups being caught, Lap 4 brought several groups together (group 2 and 3) to contest the higher placings. Ahead 3 riders from group 1 stayed away with young Frank Finley of CCC displaying a strong performance underscored by some climbing prowess, when on the final pass at Mays Corner breaking off the front with still around 4 miles from home. A plucky move! . Jeremy Lyness and Johnathon Dundas of VCI, both in their first RR in VCI colours gave chase but had to settle with 2nd and 3rd respectfully.

With the points all tallied up it was VCI who took the club points punctuating they're threat signalled in Event 1. TVR further adding to BCC's misery, with a very creditable 2nd placed club, David White, Aiden McGinley and Mark Williamson leading home. Looking at the positions, it appears that a strong mid section paid off for both clubs. VCI now leads the competition going into Event 3 which is a Team Time Trial, starting near Loughbrickland on Wednesday 22nd.

Great racing and greic was the spirit in which all took part. Of the 73 starters 62 finished and we thank each and everyone for their efforts and support. Our appreciation always to our static marshals, lead car drivers and all the admin support and time keepers.

6 Days and we go again.

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BICRL Round 1 - Update

Event 1 in the 2019 BICRL saw a cold damp start to the 10 round series, with an unseasonably cool temp of just 6c, drizzle and damp air with a northerly head wind of around 12mph. Just over 9 miles awaited the competitors as they gathered shivering and although the conditions wernt great, a very creditable 50 competitors still turned out in support.

Round 1 and the first event was an Individual Time Trial, commonly referred too as a race of truth. The start was fast, dropping down out of Rathfriland on Dromore St and on to the undulating 9 mile run to Banbridge via Annaclonne. Seen by some as a wicked test of nerve, 50mph plus, was hit by the bravest on the testy and immediate decent. One by one and shivering, riders started with one minute intervals. As a sporting event, this had the appearance of a staged and well managed withdrawal to a hopefully dryer and warmer Banbridge.

Plenty of support from each of the 4 involved clubs under the stewardship of hosts VCI and head marshal Colin Finley CCC, saw the series off to a solid and safe start.

Without handicap meant the event would be man o man with the measurements of performance in this event on actual or if you prefer real times. To balance the event a little and cater for those with or without the advantages of a discipline specific aero Time Trial bike, the event was split into 2 distinctions, Aero and non Aero. The best 8 finishing positions for each club across both disciplines or distinctions would then count towards the clubs total and thus club finishing position.

Positions and thereby associated scores checked it was the start that VCI had been aiming for. A win and a slight tilt to the BCC crown with first blood to VCI. This will no doubt tease out greater focus and firepower from BC, whilst serving as a reminder that this series could prove to be a serious test and far from a fore gone conclusion.

Thanks and acknowledgment to all whom endured the cold damp conditions both competitor and staff alike.

Our individual winners were, first and fastest on the night Mark Johnston of VCI in the aero section. First in the non aero was Aaron Parkes BCC, with fastest female Emily Robert's Of TVR.

So here it is folks, after event one, we have some winners. Please note prizes will not be handed out until the end of season.

First place Aero Mark Johnston VCI

First Place Non Aero Aaron Parkes BCC

First Female Emily Robert's TVR

The Series starts with a bold lead from VCI, with defending champs BCC second, CCC third and TVR fourth. Placements and scores are attached.

Massive well done to all and to VCI for a well run event and becoming the early leader. Event 2 RR coming soon.

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