Brian wins it by a wheel length in sprint finish

Banbridge cyclists Cameron McIntyre (left), James Curry (centre) and Matthew Adair in Donegal.
Banbridge cyclists Cameron McIntyre (left), James Curry (centre) and Matthew Adair in Donegal.
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A sprint finish saw Brian Hannon claim top spot in the first round of the Gilchrist Cup.

The first round was being held on the Gilford circuit - one of the fastest on the Banbridge CC calendar.

With the sad passing of founding member Eddie Sands it was a poignant moment when before the start of the race the Banbridge CC held a minute silence in his memory.

A total of 28 riders signed up and were split up into five groups for the start.

With Sara, Lee Glover, Paul Anderson and Leslie Criton off in the first group it was going to be good for the husband and wife team on their home circuit to shine.

Next group up to begin their five laps was Stevie Fitzsimmions, Aidan McAvoy, Mal Jenkins and Charlie Glover.

The second group wasn’t long until it was blown apart. This played into the hands of the fourth group closing the gap fast.

The seven riders were working well and pulling the time gaps down. Brian Hannon and Dave Lavery were working well together and by the time the group turned onto the Terryhoogan Road, they had caught the group in front.

With the large group, things started to get confusing with riders missing turns on the front and the scratch group chasing hard behind closing the gap.

Brian Hannon saw the chance to jump up the road and gave it a real dig up the hills on the Gilford Road. Nathan got onto his back wheel and the two men blew the pack apart.

Dave Lavery wasn’t having any of it and sprinted up the road with Neil close behind and the two closed the gap to the two leaders but there was still another rider up the road.

Once they came down the Tandragee Road they could see Stevie out on his own and used the power of the group to catch him.

The leading group now contained nine riders working together to stay out front, Brian Curran and Stevie O’Hagan keeping the pace high.

Nathan Sturrock was the first to go for the sprint finish but with the strong cross wind it wasn’t going to be easy.

After all Dave and Brian’s hard work, it was only fair for that Neil would chase Nathan down with the two men welded to his rear wheel.

And with 100 yrds to go, they caught Nathan. Dave went for the sprint closely follow by Brian either side of Neil and it was Brian who took the finish by a bike length with Neil second and Dave third.

Brian Curran rode brilliantly to take fourth and Mal Mcgreevey grabbed fifth.