Mal is first Bann man home as the cup gets underway

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Banbridge CC held their second club road race on the tough Quarry Road circuit. The circuit is a 12.5 mile lap, and was the first round of the Mourne Observer Cup.

Weather conditions were great for racing. Stevie Curran was on point to work out the riders handicap to put the riders off with the weakest riders off first through to the scratch group, this being the strongest group of riders.

There were four laps of the circuit to cover, and with two sharp climbs on the Corbet Road it wasn’t going to be easy.

The first group away was Stevie Fitzsimmions, Mal Mcgreevy, James Gillespie and Tim Lees (guest rider from Rottheram Wheelers).

The next group included Dave Lavery, Brian Curran and Chris Mccann.

The wind wasn’t going to be much help to the groups as they had cross wind down the Flough Road and Warringsford Road which made it very hard for the smaller groups to chase down the group in front.

There were five small groups of riders split right round the circuit and with the cross wind there weren’t many time gaps closing except for the scratch group. James Curry, John Buller, Johnny Mcroberts and Cameron McIntyre. These young lads (except for Johnny) were closing on the 4th group very quickly.

Once the two groups came together, nine riders chased hard round the circuit and with the larger group kept the speed high.

At the start of the 3rd lap they had caught the 3rd group on the road which had only three riders left in but the three managed to latch onto the back of the scratch group.

The group of riders had a lot of work to do with still six minutes of a gap to the lead riders. Mal was showing his years of experience keeping Tim and Stevie together, steady in the hills and pushing hard on the flat.

With riders on the last lap it was going to be hard for the last push to close the gap. First away up the hills on the attack was Brian Hannon and Johnny but just after the second hill everyone was back together.

Things in the group starting to get nervous with the lead group still not in sight. The lead group of three turned onto Warringsford Road for the last time, they had it in the bag if they kept working together.

With both James and Cameron playing with the group of riders jumping up the road splitting the group up but with strong Dan Purdy and Mark Kendall the lads were not getting away.

After the last drag on the Warringsford Road John Buller had a real dig at it, but just couldn’t get away, then all of a sudden the lead group appeared.

With Stevie Fitz pushing hard at the front down the Quarry Road turn it was in the bag for one of the three riders. As they turned onto the Quarry Road guest rider Tim Lees jumped the two BCC men and took the sprint finish on his first road race.

Mal just beat Stevie for 2nd place and the first BCC rider home. The group sprint was taken by Johnny Mcroberts then Dan Purdy rounded the top 5 places.

Stevie Curran had just worked the handicap to a T with the scratch group of riders just catching the first group on the line but too late. The scratch group covered the 12.5 mile circuit in 30mins 44 seconds, an average of 24.2mph. They took over six minutes on the front group but they couldn’t close the gap on the last lap.

That’s what it’s all about, keeping every rider pushing to the limited to stay away from the scratch group and the scratch pushing to the limit to catch them.

Well done to Mal Mcgreevy, the first BCC man home, taking maximum points in the first round.

Thanks to Lynda and Toni for their time keeping duties and Stevie for the Handicaps. Big thanks to Alan and his team of marshals keeping everything safe. Not forgetting Paul and his brilliant photo’s a first class team of people behind the scene.

Results:

1 Tim Lees (Guest rider)

2 Mal Mcgreevy

3 Stevie Fitzsimmons

4 Johnny Mcroberts

5 Dan Purdy

6 Marty Fitzpatrick

7 Neil McAlister

8 Brian Hannon

9 Mark Kendall

10 Mark Stewart

11 John Buller

12 Peter Mcbride

13 James Curry

14 Cameron McIntyre

15 Chris McCann

16 Brian Curran

17 Dave Lvery

18 James Gillespie.