It’s 1, 2, 3 for Banbridge as McKee leads the way with win

Gareth McKee put in an impressive performance to claim victory.
Gareth McKee put in an impressive performance to claim victory.

Banbridge Cycling Club’s Gareth McKee once again showed his versatility on Monday evening to claim victory the SEAT Super Seven criterium series at the Titanic Quarter in Belfast.

He was joined on the podium by fellow Banbridge men, Lindsay Watson of Plush in second and James Curry of Banbridge CC in third.

McKerr put in a performance that will go down as one of the highlights of The most remarkable of all is that McKee put in a similar performance only 24 earlier at the National Points Series MTB race in Castlewellan where he dominated the event, leading from the first corner and never being seen again in the Elite S1 class.

The MTB performance could perhaps have been predicted, with McKee having recently been crowned the Irish Elite MTB Champion, however Criterium racing is very much a specialty within the road racing side of the cycle sport.

Within the opening few laps the specialists such as Glenn Kinning of Kinning Cycles were starting to test the legs of their competitors and launching attacks off the front of the bunch to see who could match them.

The Banbridge crew were quick to react however and closed down any threat, at least until McKee tried his own hand.

Quickly building up an advantage of 20 seconds over his chasers, any counterattacks were quickly closed down by Curry & Watson. Claiming the first hot spot Prime of the evening after 15 minutes of racing, many though McKee’s attack was simply to pick up a few pounds of the early prize money, however he put the head down and got on with the task at hand.

This was a repeat of his solo effort in Castlewellan and as he claimed the 2nd hotspot prime at the 30 minute mark few were doubting he might just stay out for the win. As attack after attack was launched from behind McKee simply responded to the time checks and measured his effort. By the 45 minute mark his advantage was at 55 seconds and he was starting to regularly pick off lapped riders on the short 1.5km circuit.

Watson and Curry decided the gap to McKee was safe enough to launch their own attack and moved clear of the chasing bunch.

There was no catching Moneyslane man McKee however who, after one hour of racing, had time to stop and raised his bike in celebration as he crossed the line as winner.

Watson led the chasing quartet out of the final corner and held on to take a fine 2nd place.

Curry and Moore were too close to call on the line and had to be referred to the photo finish – surely it couldn’t be Banbridge men one, two and three? It could.

This was an absolute masterclass in team work at its finest with an outcome that can usually only be dreamt of.