Ulster Cycling News

Rain, Hail and Sleet for Dunloy Races

aA mixed bag of weather greeted the hardy souls who turned up today for the inaugural Dunloy Races promoted by Dunloy CC.  First off were the  A3's who were to complete three laps of the eighteen mile circuit.

The course took the riders from  Dunloy to Finvoy, Killagan, Dunloy with the tough climb of Millbrae on each lap and it was this climb that was to be the doing or undoing of many riders in all of the three races promoted by the club.

By the time the race reached the climb on the first lap a group of riders had broken free of the peloton and this proved to be a dangerous break as it included some strong young riders. Among these were juniors Cathal Clarke (Newry Wheelers), Aaron Swan (NRPT), Marc Heaney (Carn Wheelers) as well as local man Chris McKeown of Dunloy.


This group along with Keith Philips (North Down) managed to stay away but hardriding saw Gerard McNally join them. At the line it came down to a sprint which was taken by McKeown to the delight of the home crowd. Heaney was next followed by Clarke, Swan, Philips and McNally.


The remining two places for points came down to a bunch sprint which was taken by Stephen Geary of Phoenix CC with Damien Lagan of Inishowen Wheelers taking eighth spot.


Special mention must be made of Matthew Brennan of Ballymena who was away most of yesterday in the break with Fraser Duncan in the Red Hand Trophy. Today he was riding hard and was just off the break driving it at the front. We are delighted to see he is getting back into form so he could be in contention for  a win soon.


The full field of riders in the A4 race had to complete two laps of the course. Any attemots to break away were soon thwarted as the riders reached the Millbrae climb where it was tongues out and hang on for dear life. The climb itself may not have been the hardest in the world but the riders turned into it from a fast flowing straight stretch of road and it just ramped up, eased off and ramped up again leaving no respite for tired legs.


A bunch sprint was on the cards and this was taken by Michael Tolan of Phoenix CC followed by Jeff Baines of Castlereagh CC and home rider James Dempsey. The final positions were taken by Owen Henry (Newry Wheelers), Neil Brown (North Down CC), Conor Bradley (Dunloy CC), Mark McCann (Harps CC) and Barry Grimes of Clann Eireann.


The third race of the day was for Women and Masters and again it was Millbrae that decided the winners. In the first lap Geoff Garrett (Phoeni CC) and Stephen Cardy (north Down) had opened up a sizeable gap on the chasers along the fast stretch but as the turned into Millbrae it was not long before the group closed up again.


Noel Boyce of North Down and Gerry Maguire (Phoenix) had a lash nearing the top of the hill and opened up a gap. In the last lap it was Phoenix CC's Gerry Maguire who put the hammer down last time up the hill. He soloed home minutes ahead of the chasers to take a magnificent win. Second place was taken by his club-mate Geoff Garrett while Noel Boyce of North Down took third. Katherine Smyth of Team Madigan was the first woman.


Dunloy CC are to be congratulated for an excellent promotion of these races. This was a very well organised event and major undertaking for this club which only formed less than five years ago. They had loads of marshalls out along the course and received great support from neighbouring clubs. There was also plenty of warning signs along the course. Back at the GAA Hall there was enough food to feed an army including hot soup which was most welcome as riders landed in freezing cold from the heavy showers of hail.


Many thanks to Comms Aidan Higgins and Peter McGratten and to the time keepers and judges Ian Barfoot and Mary McKinney. They are to be congratulated for a very timely sorting out of the results.

Many of the riders and spectators also were very glad that the race started and finished in front of one of the club sponsors premises, Pappy's Bakery. After the first ascent of Millbrae there were a few riders who preferred the sit down comfort in the cafe and sample the hot food and drinks on offer.


Report and Pics Marian Lamb

A3 Race Results

  1. Chris McKeown (Dunloy CC)
  2. Marc Heaney (Carn Wheelers)
  3. Cathal Clarke (Newry Wheelers)
  4. Aaron Swan (NRPT)
  5. Keith Philips (North Down)
  6. Gerard McNally (Bann Valley RC)
  7. Stephen Geary (Phoenix CC)
  8. Damien Lagan (Inishowen Wheelers)


A4 Race Results

  1. Michael Toland (Phoenix CC)
  2. Geoff Baines (Castlereagh CC)
  3. James Dempsey (Dunloy CC)
  4. Owen Henry (Newry Wheelers)
  5. Neil Brown (North Down CC)
  6. Conor Bradley (Dunloy CC)
  7. Mark McCann (Harps CC)
  8. Barry Grimes (Clann Eireann CC)


Masters Results

  1. Gerry Maguire (Phoenix CC)
  2. Geoff Garrett (Phoenix CC)
  3. Noel Boyce (North Down)
  4. Kathryn Smyth (Madigan)








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  1. Excellent race and the promoting club is to be congratulated for a well-run event. Great circuit – nice surface, not a hole in sight, all junctions manned and lots of marshals all turned out in fluorescent yellow. The weather was largely fine apart from the hail at the end, savage cross wind though. Thanks to all for organising and your efforts in promoting a safe and exciting race. Congrats to all the winners. See you next year. P.S. Bakery products were gorgeous.

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