Report by Neil McAlister
Wednesday 20th May saw the tough Quarry Road circuit for the first time this season for Banbridge CC’s club racers; with 25 Banbridge CC riders and 6 visitors taking part. Spilt into 4 groups according to each rider’s handicap, there would be 4 laps of the circuit starting and finishing just behind Tullyraine Quarry on the Quarry road.
With the first group off given a 3 minute advantage over group 2 it wasn’t going to be easy to pull them back, especially with the a head wind all the way along the rolling Waringsford Road. During the first lap everyone was finding their legs and trying to settle into their groups to stay away from those behind or catch the group in front. Allan Black and Mark Stewart made their race debut - they didn’t know what was in front of them! However both rode strongly and finished well.
The scratch group had significant firepower with Russell White, Mark Downey, James Curry, Cameron McIntyre and Lindsay Watson – all of who have been competing against international competition already this year. On lap 2 the pressure started to show with riders getting dropped into the headwind back down to start/finish area at the quarry. The strong scratch group was on the move, pulling the minutes back each lap. It wouldn’t be long till they were in front.
The first group, Martin Fitzpatrick, Peter McBride, Allan Black and Malcom Jenkins stayed away until the last lap, the guys working really well together and showed what team work can do. They tried to get on to the back of the scratch group but with Mark Downey lifting the pace it proved an impossible task. The guys jumped onto the back wheel of the next group on the road, but when they did there was a touch of wheels resulting in 4 riders falling on the main Waringsford road. Thankfully no-one was badly hurt. With a show of sportsmanship Kevin turned back to check the guys where all ok.
The scratch had no clue what was going on in the chaos behind as they hurtled towards the finish. It’s was down to a sprint finish and Cameron McIntyre managed to take the win from Lindsay Watson. Mark Downey led home Johnny McRoberts and James Curry to complete top 5. All 4 riders who came off got back on their bikes and finished the race - well done lads no easy task to do. Wishing Malcom and all the fallers a speedy recovery hopefully not too sore.
Thanks to Nicola and Willy on their time keeping duties, not an easy job with us flying past each lap. Alan with his team brilliant as usual keeping us safe – especially with so many of the clubs volunteers away assisting at the Banbridge 10km Run and the An Post Ras. I would also like to wish Stevie Curran a speedy recovery and hope it’s not too long ‘till your back out with us.
Full results below. Photos by Paul Hannigan.