Report by Neil McAlister
Wednesday 2nd July saw the first night of summer for Banbridge CC on the hard Quarry road circuit. With the sun out there was a great turn out of riders to fight it out around the hilly circuit.
It wasn’t long until 7.00pm rolled around and Stevie Curran had the riders split up into 4 groups with Malcom, Mark and Paul away in Group 1 with a 6 minute start on the Group 2. With the flying Fitz put back a group from his last to wins it wasn’t going to be an easy night for him. Pete McBride was driving on in Group 2 like a mad March hare, he must have heard that the Buzzard was still knocking about the Drumneath road the way he was going!
In Group 2 we took very little time back on Group 1 on the first lap with the group finding it hard to work together. On the second lap things started to settle down, but it was too late and Group 3 had caught us near the end of the second lap. With Simon Curry leading Group 3 and calling the shots it wasn’t hard to see they were flying. All I could do was hang onto the back to see if I could recover and stick it out for another 2 laps. It was now a large group working well together trying to stay away, however on the last lap with 3 mile to go the scratch group had caught the larger combined group so up the pace went again. Little known to us was that Kevin McAlinden had punctured, got it changed, and still was in flying and in the mix with the scratch group. Brilliant ride Kevin.
It was going to be all together for the final time down the Warningsford Road on the last lap to see who was going to win. With the usual nervous jockeying for position the important final corner at the Quarry Road junction was coming up fast. Into the last corner and John Buller had timed it to perfection and sprinted for the line securing the win ahead of visitor Johnathan McRoberts in 2nd and Tommy Evans showing he’s still got what it takes in 3rd.
Well done John, great result for the young Ballinsakeagh man. With his Dad on time keeping duties I’m sure he was very proud to see him win.
Thanks to Ivor Park, Stevie Curran and Johnathan Buller for time keeping duties and sorting out finishing positions which wasn’t easy with a mass of yellow jerseys flying into the finish. Alan Towel and his team and big thank you for keeping the riders safe. It wasn’t easy or straight forward with the addition of tractors and buzzards in the mix with the normal traffic to contend with. Thanks to Toni for the great photos again - she really has the touch now, catching all the action and the faces of the riders, especially when there are very few of my big suffering face stuck in the middle of them! You’re getting my vote Toni and I can end this blog a happy man, not being reminded about the Quarry Road pain.