Final BICRL Update after 10 Events...

Keeping the format similar to 2018, this seasons Banbridge Inter Club Race League was closed out, again with a 4 Up Team Time Trial on the Warrenpoint Dual carriageway.

With a lot less promotion the event this season saw 15 teams take part, with guest teams from both Dromore CC and Dromara CC. Conditions were just about near perfect, with bright sunshine, a slight head crosswind on the 5 miles to the Newry Roundabout and a slight cross tailwind for the 5 miles back to the finish. This is a non aero event with riders given only a road bike option. With teams juggling lineups right to the last minute the order was sorted placing some of the expected stronger teams towards the later releases, whilst at the same time trying to vary between clubs. 3 Individuals were then permitted to use the opportunity for training in full aero.

The first team was released shortly after 7pm with one minute intervals. Looking at the line ups on the start line, It was evident that it would be very close at the sharp end. Hammer down time, and it was quickly into their stride for all. Holding very little back, teams moved through their changeovers fairly evenly the pace was quickly up, but how long could it be sustained, the big engines in each team pulling harder and longer to hold the momentum.

As each team made their way back recording a time on the third rider, it proved to be extremely tight at the top. With a winning time of 21.23 over the16km, visiting club Dromore CC clocked an average speed of 44.89kmph. Second home and first series team were VCI Tm 1 a mere 6 seconds down on Dromore with an average speed of 44.69kmph. Third home and with an even more reduced gap were BCC Tm 2 @ 44.62kmph. Overall the standard was high and some great times were posted and no doubt many posted individual PB's, With the 2 best teams for each club going towards overall club placings, Banbridge once again proved their depth and talent to take a hard earned win and the event win.

This now concludes this seasons events and see's Banbridge CC retain the BICRL Trophy for 2019. All event placings and points can be seen below. Our thanks once again to all those who supported this event and the 9 others that preceded. Our thanks to all those who assisted in the background or foreground as time keepers, marshals, first aiders, lead vehicle and broom vehicle, setting up or taking down, photographs, paper submissions, treasurers, committee and no doubt others I have missed.

2020 will no doubt see new challenges and your contributions are welcome for planning. Should you have any format ideas or wish to get involved a little deeper, then please do so through your club secretary and committee. Our sincere thanks for your support and friendship. (Source: BICRL FaceBook Page).

BICRL Round 8 - Kinallen Race Circuit.

Event 8 in the 2019 BICRL was a RR on the 8.4km circuit of Kinallen. With a fairly horrible forecast after several days of great sunshine, it was very clear before the start this could turn out nasty. Yet given the likely poor weather, there was still enough commitment and interest for 59 riders signed on for a piece of the action. Our thanks to those visiting from Portadown CC, Apollo CT, Dromore CC, Dromara CC and WDW.

So with 6 laps and the race set to go full distance no matter the weather, groups set off with around 10 mins between first to the last group. Strong riding as ever in each group kept things in good shape for the larger part of the race, with the inevitable catches being made in the closing lap or so. Conditions were horrible, although not cold, drizel and fine rain was a fairly constant companion, broken several times with heavy downpours. This made things even more testing on this tough course, what with reduced visibility, potential slips on every turn, added weight from access water and the mental strength to stay out there. From the 59 starters, 47 completed the 6 laps.

Most of the catches took place on lap 4 and 5, taking a fairly strong field towards the final lap. Riders were dropping off constantly as the race moved towards a finish and up and over the final climbs. A bunch sprint was building and came to pass with two of our youngest riders challenging for honours. In the end it was Christopher Neil of BCC who took the win ahead of Frank Finley of CCC. Both showing great potential and future promise.

BCC on a role took the points as top club with VCI 2nd TVR not far behind in 3rd and CCC 4th having been missing a few riders whom were unavailable.

Our sincere thanks for everyone's support on a night with a particularly uninspiring weather forecast. To the riders who all stayed safe and upright in testing conditions and to our fantastic marshals who had to brave them same conditions, both as static corner marshals, lead and chase motorbike riders and those administrating at the finish. Thank you one and all, it is collective spirit that makes such events possible.

Next event Annaclonne RR 24 July 19 before our final event a 4 Up TTT at Warrenpoint on 31 July. Please note open to all local clubs.

(Source: BICRL Facebook Page).

BICRL Round 7 - Spelga Hill Climb TT

BICRL Facebook Report

BICRL Event 7 had for some time been on many a mind, arguably for some to avoid, and for some, a chance to sort out the local climbing pecking order. In planning, It was to be a sharp test of climbing prowess on one of our local Iconic climbs and in this seasons series, it was chosen to be a 1.72mile climb to the Dam..

Last night on the "Col de Spelga" conditions were superb for the short but challenging climb, along this well travelled and known old adversary. Sunshine, 20 degrees and a slight tail wind was all in store for the 49 whom signed on, with the start line at the Kinahalla Outdoor Centre. The distance to the Carpark at the Dam was 1.72 miles with 666ft of elevation with the worst of the elevation in and around the bends half way into the climb and a stinging 9 to 11% onwards from the bends to the finish. Most will agree its all about a good tempo and not going too deep and into the red. Fastest on the night was Visitor Lee Harvey of VC Glendale on a super time of 8min 46 secs. Second fastest and in a rich vein of form was Paul Wilkinson of WDW. Third Fastest on the night was Thomas Niblock of CCC whom was our first placed series rider.

Although with yet another solid performance the merits of the night lie very firmly at the feet of BCC, it is well worth acknowledging the growth within CCC, with this their best placed club performance to date. As host club, CCC put on a very neat and tidy event with the road performance on a power with their organisation. Taking the top 2 series positions and 5th place to boot, CCC came home second to take a deserved 3 club points. TVR rolled in 3rd on the night with best club rider Gary Gilliham.. VCI evidently had a bad night and suffered their lowest team placing of the season. BCC are now flourishing with 3 event wins on the trot and it will be difficult to top this run on current form.

Our thanks to CCC and all the marshals and assistance that was in place, including the ladies at the top carpark, whom greeted all with a warm smile Tea and freshly baked Lemon cakes.

Paul Hannigan Event Photogallery

BICRL Round 6 - Tandragee 100

Event 6 in this years series, was a road race just a few kilometres outside Tandragree, on the familiarly known Tandragee 100 motorcycle circuit with our rotations counter clockwise.

A mixed sky, which included many dark clouds ensured there were a few showers around though this did not deter 63 starters. There were a number of local visiting riders in the mix, which all helps keep group sizes healthy and the competition within rich with ability. 6 laps awaited on the rolling terrain.

With the groups released, the first shortly after 7pm, it was down to business. BCC as ever where odds on favourite, once again displaying great depth in rider commitment and ability. TVR always lurking and ready to capitalise on weakness, took advantage of what appeared a depleted VCI turn out, taking 2nd club place on the night on the back of a strong performance from they're talisman, Davey McKnight. CCC although performing better than the result might suggest paid a heavy forfeit with 2 riders missing.

Top Rider on the night and doing the damage was Aaron Parks of BCC who along with McKnight rode through the field to demonstrate some great form, massive well done. James Dane of VCI took 3rd on the back of a good performance at the weekend in the Tommy Givan. Third on the night was Gavin Clarke, another rider back to some great form. As ever the craic and banter was there for all to see. We thank all for their continued support. Once again our gratitude to all our static marshals and to BCC and the drivers of all our support and lead vehicles, assistance that we can all agree is invaluable.

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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