Ulster Cycling News

Feast of Racing at Bishopscourt

What do you get when you mix together blue skies with feathery clouds, temperatures in the mid twenties, a broad newly tarmacked road, no traffic and Martin Grimley's mum feeding everyone from dawn to dusk? - Nothing less than a great day's racing.

Today was the Dromara CC promotion of the Emma McMullan and Ronnie Smyth Trophy races and for the first time these were held in the safe off road facility of Bishopscourt motorbike racing circuit. This was a real treat for all who attended as the road was really smooth with not a bump or pothole in sight. It was also extremely wide and allowed riders that feeling of safety which is sadly missing from most open road races nowadays.

First into the fray were the Women and Masters and their experience saw the bunch work together for much of the race. Paul McGuckin of Banbridge did try to break free at one point but to no avail. With some notable sprinters such as Dermot Hughes and Tommy Lamb of Phoenix, Ian Blayney of North Down and Phil Beattie of Banbridge in the mix few wanted to lead them to the line.

In the closing stretch the pressure was on. Lamb was boxed in and Hughes had to work to get out but Blayney, the wily fox from North Down, made sure of his position and romped home to the delight of the onlookers. Raymond Beers of East Antrim Audi took second with Hughes in third position. This was a great effort by Beers who has shown real improvement in tactics and strength this season.

In the women's competition it was Junior Hayley Priestley (La Lanterne Rouge) who got the jump on Julie Rea of Phoenix CC while Claire Gillespie of Ballymena ChainReaction was third.

The A4's took to the circuit next and although the pace was high no-one got away for any lengthy period of time on the two mile course. Coming to the line it was a bunch sprint which was well taken by James Wilson (Apollo CT) from Ryan Calvert (Dromara CC) and Neill Currie (Dromara CC)

In the A3 only event a number of attacks occurred which saw the bunch well lined out at times. However, early on the break of the day occurred when Ryan Currie of Ballymena ChainReaction and Gordon Scott of East Antrim Audi broke free and steadily opened the gap on the chasers. In the closing laps Paul Ferguson of North Down, who had been active all day, finally made the jump across to the two leaders. These three then worked well together to stay clear to the line. It was the experience and sprinting skills of Scott which took him across the line in prime position. Currie followed in next with Ferguson in third place.

The hard chasing bunch had closed the gap significantly and followed seconds later with Simon Curry of Banbridge taking the bunch sprint with Carl Morgan of Phoenix CC and Ryan Bankhead of Ballymena next.

There was a smaller number of A1 and A2 riders than had been hoped for but there was racing here from the gun. One rider who decided he was not hanging around was Alistair Macauley who broke free of the bunch in the first lap and never looked back. Kevin Lynch (Newry Wheelers), Fergus Rooney and David Neill (Phoenix CC) were among the active chasers but they never got close to Macauley.

Finally all the chasing activity saw one rider bridge the gap and this was Marcel Kock of Phoenix CC. The two teammates then worked hard to stay away and opened up the lead to over two minutes. Coming to the line they decided not to contest a sprint and rode across together. The result was given to Macauley. Marcel Kock was delighted however as his points gained now see him upgraded to A1 status. He gave positive feedback to the organisers as he said the course was fantastic and reminded him of doing criterium style race in his home country of the Netherlands. Derek Finnegan of Keevan CC took third spot followed in by David Neill (Phoenix CC ), Brian Stewart (Phoenix CC), Steven McAllister (Ballymoney) Colm Quinn (Cuchullain CC) and Drew McKinley (Newry Wheelers).

Thanks to Dromara CC and in particular race organiser Martin Grimley for an excellent and safe day's racing. A special word of thanks to the owner of the facility Jim O'Brien and the manager Roy Biggerstaff. The facility was excellent and very safe with lots of toilets and the two gentlemen could not have been more helpful. Many thanks to them. To Martin's mum - You are a star and I hope he treats you well as you did a sterling job all day keeping people plied with tea, sandwiches and buns. Also thanks to Comm Brendan Kirk and the Red Cross crew.

Finally a big thanks to Paul McCormac of Apollo who adopted his alternative guise as a physio to help me with my little problem – no not Tommy but a very sore foot. Paul assured me nothing was broken and provided information and advice. I personally recommend Paul if you need a physio. Many thanks Paul – really appreciate it.

Report Marian Lamb

Due to the fact that we have no space left on this site I cannot add pics to this story at the moment.

Masters Race

  1. Ian Blayney (North Down)
  2. Raymond Beers (East Antrim)
  3. Dermot Hughes (Phoenix CC)

Women’s Race

  1. Hayley Priestley (La Lanterne Rouge)
  2. Julie Rea (Phoenix CC)
  3. Claire Gillespie (Ballymena Chain Reaction)

A4 Race

  1. James Wilson (Apollo CT)
  2. Ryan Calvert (Dromara CC)
  3. Neill Currie (Dromara CC)
  4. Jonathan Mc (Bride Dromara CC)
  5. Stephen Wallace (Dromara CC)
  6. Damian Fagan (U/A )
  7. Chris Hunter (North Down CC)
  8. Emmett Vallely (Square Wheelers)
  9. Keith Hooks (North Down CC)

A3 Race

  1. Gordon Scott (East Antrim)
  2. Ryan Currie (Ballymema RC)
  3. Paul Ferguson (North Down CC)
  4. Simon Curry Banbridge CC)
  5. Carl Morgan (Phoenix CC)
  6. Ryan Bankhead (Ballymena CC)
  7. Darren Lynas (West Down Wheelers)
  8. Nathan Mullan (Dromara CC)
  9. Michael Doherty (North Pole)

A1/A2 Race

  1. 1.      Alistair Macauley (Phoenix CC)
  2. 2.      Marcel Kock (Phoenix CC)
  3. 3.      Derek Finnegan (Keevin CC)
  4. 4.      David Neill (Phoenix CC )
  5. 5.      Brian Stewart (Phoenix CC)
  6. 6.      Steven McAllister (Ballymoney)
  7. 7.      Colm Quinn (Cuchullain CC)
  8. 8.      Drew McKinley (Newry Wheelers)

Full results here
Photos by Bronagh Kirk here
Photos by Marian Lamb here




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