Ulster Cycling News
21May/160

Sun Shines on West Down GP

aaThe West Down GP got underway today in a sunny Katesbridge and it was good to see so many riders able to sport cycling shorts, short sleeve top and mitts. First off were the A2's and 3's who had to tackle six laps of the nine plus mile circuit with an additional climb of Rathfriland Hill in the last lap.

A break went very early on this race and it was comprised of Alan Bingham (Cuchullainn CC), Conor McCann (Team Asea Wheelworx), Dromara CC Duo, Nathan Mullan and Matthew Armstrong, John Buller (Banbridge CC), David McIntyre (Maryland Wheelers), and Phil O'Flaherty (Swords CC).

Hard riding by chasers such as Dominic McCartan (Apollo CT), Luke Ireland (Phoenix CC), and Davy McKnight (TVR) among others brought the break back to just twenty seconds at one point but then the gap increased again in the penultimate lap leaving the riders a clear run at the uphill finish line.

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The sprint was taken by second year Junior Conor McCann while first year Junior, John Buller took second. John is better known in the off road circles but this podium pace today only reinforces the truism that those who begin on off road can transfer their skills across the disciplines. I am sure we will hear more form this young rider who also rides track.

The next places were taken by Nathan Mullan (Dromara CC ), David McIntyre (Maryland Wheelers), Alan Bingham (Cuchullainn CC) and Matthew Armstrong (Dromara CC) . Seventh place went to Phil O'Flaherty (Swords CC). An unfortunate race incident saw the bunch being turned to do another lap by an over enthusiastic marshall who blocked their way to the finishing straight. A few riders in the leading chase group took evasive action and did not cross the line. Others eventually turned back and finished while the main bunch completed an extra lap.  The decision was taken not to award the final three places for points as a result of this. If this situation changes we will update the results.

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Congratulations to Eileen Burns of Ballymena CRC who rode the A3 race and finished comfortably.

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The A4 race completed five laps of the circuit. The bunch remained in tact most of the way. In the final lap a small group broke clear and headed for the line.

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Eddie Shannon of Kilkeel based Velo Mourne took the sprint from this group with ease and clocking up eight points. He was followed on by Martin Colgan of Armagh Down and Gerard Craig of VC Glendale.

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Stevie Baines (Spinning Club Banbridge) was fourth ahead of David Lavery of Banbridge CC. Rory Loughran (Newry Wheelers), Mark Stewart (Banbridge CC) were the last of the break taking sixth and seventh. A powerful effort by Gareth Fitzgerald (VC Glendale ) took the bunch sprint and the final point of the race.

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West Down Wheelers also promoted a Masters and Women's race which was high paced from the start. It was no surprise to see Benny O'Kane of Square Wheels Take the win from Dunloy CC duo Vincent Drain and Finbarr Doey.

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Stephen Cardy (North Down CC) was fourth ahead of David Burnside of Dromore CC. Mention must be made of Raymond Beers of East Antrim Audi who was driving it at the front throughout the race.

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In the women's event it was Claire O'Neill (Square Wheels) who took the win ahead of Katharine Symth (Team Madigan) and Maeve McKenna (Clogher Valley Wheelers)

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West Down Wheelers were out in force to help marshall the event and there was plenty of warning signs on the route. With St John's Ambulance and support from PSNI motorbike outriders this was a very well organised events and thanks are due to all who helped out. Back at Katesbridge Hall Barbara and her team had a huge array of food waiting for everyone on their return and this was much appreciated. Thanks also to Commissaires on the day, Marcus Lamb and Kevin Hughes.

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Report and Pics Marian Lamb UCN : marianlamb@ulstercyclingnews.com

For more of my pics click HERE

The Belgian Project were also out and about so their pics can be found HERE

Results West Down GP Saturday 21st May 2016

A2/A3 Race

  1. Conor McCann (Asea Wheelworx)
  2. John Buller (Banbridge CC)
  3. Nathan Mullan (Dromara CC )
  4. David McIntyre (Maryland Wheelers)
  5. Alan Bingham (Cuchullainn CC)
  6. Matthew Armstrong (Dromara CC)
  7. Phil O'Flaherty (Swords CC)

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A4 Race

  1. Eddie Shannon (Velo Mourne)
  2. Martin Colgan (Armagh Down)
  3. Gerard Craig (VC Glendale)
  4. Stevie Baines (Spinning Club Banbridge)
  5. David Lavery (Banbridge CC)
  6. Rory Loughran (Newry Wheelers)
  7. Mark Stewart (Banbridge CC)
  8. Gareth Fitzgerald (VC Glendale )

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Master's Race

  1. Benny O'Kane (Square Wheels) (Dunloy CC)
  2. Vincent Drain (Dunloy CC)
  3. Finbarr Doey (Dunloy CC)
  4. Stephen Cardy (North Down CC)
  5. David Burnside (Dromore CC)

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Women's Race

  1. Claire O'Neill (Square Wheels)
  2. Katharine Symth (Team Madigan)
  3. Maeve McKenna (Clogher Valley Wheelers)62a
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