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.