Road racing season kicks off at Annaclone

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The Dromara CC Racing team kicked off the 2015 racing season with the traditional season-opener on the Ulster calendar, the Annaclone GP hosted by Banbridge Cycling Club.

With the sun splitting the trees and temperatures hovering just above freezing it was ideal spring classics weather and with two races on offer there were plenty of riders out in force showing off their new bikes and ready to see how their winter training had come along.

The first race off was the A race which contained the A1s, A2s and A3s. The A3 riders were given a small handicap over the A1s and A2s and they had to complete six laps of the rolling seven mile circuit.

Nathan Mullan and Zak Hanna were in this race with Zak finishing in the bunch after a few breakaway attempts after a tough race with the A3s trying to prevent the others catching them.

The A4 race saw the majority of Dromara riders taking part with David Dickson and Graham Beckett unlucky to be caught up in a big spill that split the A4 race in two. Thankfully neither were badly hurt and no doubt will be ready to race again.

Many thanks to Banbridge CC for a brilliant race and an excellent spread was put on afterwards at Annaclone GAA club.

The next race saw the John Moore Memorial take place outside Carryduff.

With the forecast giving heavy rain for the afternoon and strong winds blowing all morning it was going to be a tough days racing.

There was an early start for the women and A4 racers with a 10am start but that did not deter a large contingent of Dromara CC riders to have a go at this race.

It is always great to see new racers having a go and last week David Dickson had a hard lesson on his first race but this didn’t stop him lining up this week. As for Graham and Derek, who have had the joys of cyclocross, they now have the joys of their first road race under their belt.

With tough crosswinds the racing was fast and furious with Graham and Derek enjoying their first taste of road racing.

David D, Tommy D and myself tried a few times to break away from the group but with the wind and a bunch that wouldn’t let anyone go up the road for a second it was to no avail.

On the last lap the pace rocketed up and Richard Cowan managed to compete in the final sprint to take 5th place. Tommy Downey and David Dickson managed to finish in the group with the rest not far behind.

In the A3 race Neill Currie, Zak Hanna and Barry Van Kellett made it to the start line. The A3’s took off as a super-fast pace with their handicap advantage on the A1s and A2s and the group was split by a crash in the middle of the bunch. Alas their three riders got caught on the wrong side of it meaning they will have to save their sprinting skills to the next race.

Many thanks to Castlereagh CC for an excellent race held in tough conditions.