Report by Neil McAlister
Wednesday 27th April saw Banbridge CC head to Dromore for the Wills Cup 10 mile time trial. Despite the bright skies it had to be one of the coldest April days of recent years with a wind chill factor pushing temperatures down to near freezing. The Start and Finish location was moved to the A1 flyover so that the rider safety was improved at the halfway turn, moving it away from the busy Polypipe junction. The finish was going to have a real sting in the tail with the last drag up to the top of the flyover.
22 riders signed for what felt like a winter’s night TT, with 6 riders being guests from VC Iveagh and Dromore CC. Paul Anderson set off into the setting sun and a headwind that would freeze any part of skin that wasn’t covered. Sara Glover was released 2 minutes behind Paul, getting the better of him by just 13 seconds with a 33:03. Marty Fitzpatrick was also an early starter and came back setting another PB 26:36. This new TT bike really has helped his times improve after all his winter training. Dan Purdy was showing his experience by knocking just 3 seconds off Marty’s time with a 26:33.
Peter McBride is continuing the way he finished last year with brilliant time of 26:49, just beating Mark Kendall’s 26:52; both club men on standard road bikes but still mixing it well with the other lads on specialist TT bikes. Mark Stewart and Wayne Graham were out to fight it out on the night to see who is going to be the quickest. It wasn’t going to be easy with short steep climbs and some fast downhill sections, but again it was the work horse of a man Mark Stewart destroying the field with a 25:41; an average speed of 23.2mph on a far from flat course. Wayne was just behind with a 26:04. Poor Nigel McCullough is having no luck this year with a puncture last week and a mechanical this week, this will have to change for him soon.
Thanks to Ivor and Lydia for their time keeping duties on an artic night. Thanks to Alan Towell and his team of marshals as always and to Toni for her brilliant photos.
Next Wednesday is the first road race of the season on the Annaclone circuit.