Report by Neil McAlister
Wednesday 3rd June saw the first visit to the fast Gilford Scarva circuit for the Banbridge CC club racing season, and even better summer had sort of arrived! 25 riders and 1 visitor signed on for the Gilchrist Cup. Stevie Curran spilt the riders into 5 different handicap groups depending on ability. The first group away had a 3 minute head start on the next group and so on. With the Gilford road having been re-dressed last week riders were forced to take it easy on the corners where loose stone was still lying.
The first group did a sterling job, staying away until the 3rd lap of 5 when they were caught. There was now a large combined leading group of 11 riders which would be very hard to catch if they worked well together. With a tail wind on the Gilford Road and a slight headwind on Cargans Road (start-finish) it was going to be exciting racing to see if they could be caught - the gaps between the groups were getting closer as it entered the final lap.
The 3rd group had the leaders in the sight now, but with a 30sec lead and the stiff cross wind on the Tandragee Road we couldn’t close the gap. Peter McBride, Charlie Glover and Marty Fitzpatrick seen their chance to up the pace and make a charge for the final corner. Peter took the bull by the horns just after the last corner in a bid to glory, but with Marty and Charlie tight to his wheel. Pete wasn’t looking back, he was going all out for the win. Little did Pete realize he was towing Marty along into the head wind. Once Marty seen the chequered flag blowing in the wind it was his time to go. Out he popped to sprint for the line and beating poor Pete by a couple of bike lengths. That’s road racing.
Marty Fitzpatrick has taken his first win as a Banbridge CC member. Pete McBride with 2nd place earned his best result to date and learnt a lesson. Rounding out the podium was the very impressive and ever improving Charlie Glover in 3rd place - well done lads great riding together. Young Stevie O’Hagan led the 3rd group home crossing the line a few seconds behind to witness poor Pete McBride in the hedge trying not to be sick after giving his all in the sprint finish! It wasn’t long before the rest of the riders arrived and jostled for the points on offer and most importantly everyone was home safe and sound.
Thanks again to the team in place for time keeping and all the marshals at every junction; a brilliant job once again. Alan and Stevie also doing a brilliant job as usual. Must say a big thank you to Phil Beattie and his brush for their excellent work on the final corner to ensure no-one was going for a slide. Lastly, thanks to Toni for her photographic skills, capturing some of the expressions on the guys faces is brilliant (isn’t that right Pete?!).