Report by Neil McAllister
Wednesday 30th March saw the Banbridge Cycling Club race calendar start for the 2016 season. It was great to get the season going with the 2-up 10mile time trial on the Rathfriland road, and with a lot of new faces this year too. We also had new bikes and new wheels on show from those hoping to be the movers and shakers on the club racing scene in 2016.
There were 38 riders in total signed on, 4 of which were guest riders. It’s great to see so many out on a Wednesday night early in the season, and as for the weather – it couldn’t have been much better for a March evening; the sun shining with a nip in the air, but it was looking like a head wind home to push the riders to the limit.
Being set off in pairs at minute intervals it is a good way to get started into racing season once again; trying to stay with your partner and taking your turn at the front to maximise the combined effort of two riders working together. Team Buller was up first and set a great time of 31:12. Mark Buller and Richard Baird were off next, Mark pushing hard to catch his dad, hitting a 29:14 in the process. Sara Glover and Gerald Byrne were out to beat the 30 minute mark, but just missed out with a 30:44, however that target’s definitely on the cards for the two of them to beat next week. Paul Hannigan swapped the camera for the bike and was out testing on his new Italian stallion, the celeste Bianchi looking the part. With 2 new faces S. Henderson and A. McAvoy trying the racing scene for the first time and smashing the 30 minute mark with a 28:12 on their first go, the regulars got an early glimpse of what might be a new force to be reckoned with in the coming months.
The fast men were among the later starters, and all eyes were set to see what damage could be done by the defending 2-up champion Jon Shephard with a new partner this year in Stevie Fitzsimmons. They had blasted out a 27:14 and so it looks like Jon is going for the Trophy again. Martin Fitzpatrick and John Fegan hit a great 26:24, both smashing PB’s on the Rathfriland road. Mark Stewart and Peter McBride flew home just missing out on a 24 minute time with a 25:03, which was going to be hard to beat. Wayne Graham and Mark Kendall had other ideas however and absolutely flew to Annaclone and back with a 24:43 - the fastest time of the night. That’s an eye watering average speed of 24.2mph over 10 miles.
It was a great night to start the season off, and with a great turn out and support from marshals and time keepers who are often the unsung heroes of the club - which none of the racing would be possible, so thanks very much to Alan Towell and his team of marshals and Ivor Park and the time keeping team.
Next round of the Mac 2-Up Trophy is Wednesday 6th April on the Castlewellan Road. Riders are off sharp at 7pm.
Please note that your Cycling Ireland licence details are required at sign-on.