Report by Neil McAlister
Saturday 1st August saw four Banbridge CC members head to Carrickfergus for the Madigan GP. With a great Saturday morning the only thing the weather was showing was a stiff breeze.
Mark Kendall, Pete McBride, Dave Lavery and Neil McAlister where the members that lined up on the start line. With a full field of 80 riders it wasn’t going to be easy. It was an 18mile circuit and the A4s had to cover 2 laps of the course. We had done part of the course to see what it was like as no one had ever ridden it before. With rolling roads at the start the bunch was averaging 25+mph ‘till the first turn and into a steady climb, which is where it was blown apart. It was a big mistake on my behalf not knowing the course or being prepared for the climb but that’s where I lost the wheel in front on the climb and was not getting back on. Poor Dave Lavery was in the same boat, just not being prepared for the climb and called it a day as well. Pete and Mark were still in the main bunch heading on up for the Seven Sisters KOH with both over in the first ten. Pete then went into the red trying to rejoin the group on the decent into Whitehead but couldn’t get back on and also called it a day.
With Mark Kendall the only BCC man still going we had fingers crossed for him as the climbing parts of the course would really suit him. On the last lap Mark was 3rd over the Seven Sisters climb pushing hard to get away but no one was looking to work with him. With a fast descent Mark said it was very hairy, with some riders touching wheels and a spill as well, but Mark kept out of danger and was going full gas down ‘till the 90 degree turn at the bottom. As luck would have it his chain came off. Mark however, cool as cucumber, got his chain back on and started sprinting for the finish and finishing a brilliant 8th place on only his second open race. It just shows how well the new Banbridge CC man has come on in his first season as a member. His club racing is getting him into real good form
A special thanks to Brian Hannon who cycled the whole way down to Carrickfergus to support us guys in a hard race. It’s definitely a steep learning curve for us guys that are only in our 2nd / 3rd open road race. Hopefully we will learn fast and have the Banbridge yellow at the front of the A4’s again.