Ulster Cycling News

One Two for North Down at George Rooney Phoenix GP

aMark Cavendish reckons that cyclists lack a certain gene that tells them when they really should not be doing something and that was certainly the case this morning.

Over two hundred cyclists descended on the new Crumlin Leisure Centre today in pouring rain, temperatures barely above freezing and gale force winds. Why?? To sign-on for the George Rooney Phoenix GP road race -utter madess.

However line up they did and the 80 strong A4 race took to the roads around Nutts Corner to cover five laps of the 7.8 mile circuit. There were quite a few newcomers in this event and they proved to be very strong. The pace was fast and althiugh the bunch stayed mainly together there were attempts to get away. However it was no day to be hanging out by yourself and the breaks were soon reeled in.

In closing staight two riders broke clear and sprinted for the line. Glenn McKendry of Team Madigan took the win ahead of Richard McCavana of Phoenix.


The remaining placings came down to a bunch sprint which was narrowly taken by Andy Nicolson of Phoenix from Conor Bradley (Bann Wheelers), Johnny McConomy (Carn Wheelers), Trevor Campbell  and Stephen Madden of East Antrim. The 8th placed rider was Gerard Scullion of Carn Wheelers.


Next into the fray were the 50+ Masters. There was a one minute handicap given to the over sixties which included strong sprinters such as Dermot Hughes and Tommy Lamb of Phoenix as well as strong man from Omagh, Micky Gallan.


Lining up is first race at the age of 65 was Dermot Rooney of La Lanterne Rouge and the way he rode today showed where son Fergus of Phoenix gets his drive from.


However it was not long before they were caught by the fast moving scratch group. From then on in the pace picked up and bodies were dropped by the wayside.

Coming to the line it was a bunch sprint which was taken by Michael Tolan of the home club. He just pipped Stephen Fletcher (East Antrim Audi and Paul Kirk (North Down CC).  A separate report will follow on this event.


There was a good crowd of women for the next race with some new faces. Louise McAuley of Carrickfergus was lining up in her first race while Melissa Wilson, newly arrived from sunny California, got her first taste of Irish racing. This event was the first counter in the BLING BIKE KIT Ulster Women's Road Race Series.


The favourite on the day was Eileen Burns of Ballymena CRC and she did not disappoint taking a clear win over Orlagh Montague (Dublin Wheelers), Lorraine Jeffers (East Tyrone) and Louise McAuley (Carrickfergus CC) (A separate report will follow)


Racing then continued without a break as the A3's took to the roads. The riding was very aggressive and there were several attempts at a breakaway. Most of these were reeled in and it looked as if it would come down to a bunch sprint. However in the last 500 metres Chris McGlinchey of Chain Reaction Cycles broke away with CCT's John McGlaughlin making an attempt to go with him.

McGlinchey held him off an dtook a comfortable win.  Chris's win in the A4 race at Annaclone yesterday had given him sufficient points for the upgrade to A3 and judging by the way in which he took the sprint today it won't be long before he is in the A2 rankings.


John McGlaughlin (CCT) will be pleased with his second plaing in this event as it was definitely a hard man's day. He took second place ahead of former club mate Melvin Steele  of East Tyrone CC.  Fourth place went to young Donegal rider Jordan McGinley (Team ITAP). Jordan has been knocking on the door over the past year or two so it is good to see him getting the results.

The final race of the day was for the A1's and A2's. This race seemed to be full of riders determined to make their mark and the bunch split several times as riders opened gaps and tried to stay clear. There was strong riding by Gary Jeffers and Mike Millar as well as the North Down duo of Hamilton and Watson. Also in this mix were riders such as Craig Rea of Phoenix, Ivan Reid of Omagh Wheelers and Stuarty Scott of Team Madigan.


In the closing straight, on the long drag up from Nutts Corner, it was David Watson of North Down who kicked away from the chasers and managed to solo his way to take the win. He was followed in by team mate David Hamilton while Gary Jeffers of East Tyrone was third. Angus Fyffe of Omagh was fourth ahead of Mike Millar Phoenix CC and Conor McIlwaine (AAA).


The new George Rooney Trophy was presented to Watson by members of the Rooney family namely his son John, daughter Eimear and wife Collette. George had been a stalwart of the Phoenix club for many years  and had helped many young riders throughout his time with the club.


Many thanks on the day to our Commissaires - Seasoned veteran Aidan Higgins who was ably supported by two trainees, Dennis Ward and Andrew Wills.


Back at the new facilities in Crumlin everyone was welcomed to a fine array of food as well as Brian's spicy lentil soup which went down a treat to help warm frozen bodies. Many thanks to all who helped cater for this event.


We were also fortunate to have the help of two motorbike outriders who did a fantastic job of getting the riders through safely particulalrly at the busy Nutts Corner roundabout.


The club would also like to thank first aid crew Joan and Hugh McCullough and the sponsors of the event Gerard Maguire Solicitors.


However the real stars of the day were all the marshalls, judges and time keepers who stood out on the road for so many hours. As one who was completely frozen standing taking pics from time to time I can only imagine how they felt. Chappeau to all of you.



Report and Pics Marian Lamb

More pics to follow when I thaw out!!

dPhoenix GP Women’s Race

  1. Eileen Burns (Ballymena CRC)
  2. Orlagh Montague (Dublin Wheelers)
  3. Lorraine Jeffers (East Tyrone)
  4. Louise McAuley (Carrickfergus CC)

Phoenix GP 50 + Masters Race

  1. Michael Tolan (Phoenix CC)
  2. Stephen Fletcher (East Antrim Audi)
  3. Paul Kirk (North Down CC)
  4. Brian Hannon (Banbridge CC)
  5. Gerry Maguire (Phoenix CC)
  6. Seamus Walshe (Phoenix CC)
  7. Mickey Gallen (Omagh Wheelers)
  8. Stephen Cardy (North Down CC)
  9. Andy Boyle (Ballymoney CC)
  10. Dermot Hughes (Phoenix CC)

bPhoenix GP A4 Race

[This result has been updated as an error was discovered]

  1. Glenn McKendry (Team Madigan)
  2. Richard McCavana (Phoenix CC)
  3. Andy Nicolson (Phoenix CC)
  4. Conor Bradley (Bann Wheelers)
  5. Johnny McConomy (Carn Wheelers)
  6. Trevor Campbell (East Antrim)
  7. Darren Hutton (Bann Wheelers)
  8. Stephen Madden (East Antrim)

Phoenix GP A3 Race

  1. Chris McGlinchey (Chain Reaction Cycles)
  2. John McLaughlin (CCT)
  3. Melvin Steele (East Tyrone CC)
  4. Jordan McGinley (Team ITAP)
  5. Glen Howe (Bann Wheelers)
  6. Ryan Bankhead (Ballymena CRC)
  7. cPeter Mc Gee (Tir Chonaill GAP)
  8. Philip Hoey (East Antrim CC)

Phoenix CC A1/A2 Race – George Rooney Trophy

  1. David Watson (North Down CC)
  2. David Hamilton (North Down CC)
  3. Gary Jeffers (East Tyrone CC)
  4. Angus Fyffe (Omagh Wheelers)
  5. Mike Millar (Phoenix CC)
  6. Conor McIlwaine (AAA)
  7. Peter McBride (AAA)
  8. Curtis Gilmore (Team ITAP)




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