Ulster Cycling News
13Jun/080

Ulster Time Trial Championship The Best In Years.

Now that we have finally recovered we can give the report on the highly successful Ulster '10' Mile Championships. With over 110 competitors, true testers got their chance to compare their times against some of the best time triallists in the country. This was one of the biggest entries for a time trial for many years, and while not a record breaking night some PB's were recorded.

The introduction this year of handcycling saw three competitors line up to test themselves against the clock. Ballymena rider Darrell Erwin was fastest on the night and delighted to break the 40 minute barrier in a time of 39.22 and a PB.

Antrim's Gary Cowan 42.31 saw him take the silver medal from Glenavy's Ivor Jess. Jess was somewhat disadvantaged as he was riding a converted wheelchair as opposed to the proper hand cycle. He asked us after the event to apologise to any tester who felt that they may have lost time if they got caught behind him but a quick glance at the split times will show that this did not appear to be a factor for anyone. I would say that it may not be too long before we see Jess out a different machine.

It was unfortunate that Geoff Coey was unable to attend as it would have made the competition very interesting. As far as we are aware this is the first ever hand cycling event in Ireland. Let's hope it is only the start and that by 2012 we have a team competing in London.

A strong tail wind out proved to be no advantage when riders had to face the head wind on the return leg. A quick glance at the split times available on the Phoenix CC message board gives some idea of the time loss.

With Ireland's top Juniors all gathered at Woodgreen there was much speculation as to who would record the fastest times. In the end it was Strabane teenager, Marcus Christie (Usher IRC) who warded off the opposition to take the Gold medal with a time of 21.12. Christie was also recipient of the Birney Junior cup which was a new addition last year when it was won by Ballymena's Leo McAllister.
Team Madigan's Jonny Cole managed to stay on the bike long enough to take silver with an excellent personal best time of 21.23 while Maryland's Peter Wilson added bronze to his list of trophies just 2 seconds behind Cole.

While the Senior event was a foregone conclusion when David McCann (Giant Asia) signed on, the competition still remained close. McCann's 19.06 was more than sufficient to see him lift Gold and the inaugural Birney Senior Trophy. This is the third major trophy that Martin Birney (Sportactive) has donated to the Ulster Championships.

Closest opposition to McCann came from South Dublin's Paul Healion who took a massive 42 seconds off his previous PB of 20.00. This puts Healion in to that small but elite group of riders who have recorded a sub-20 minute '10' on Irish roads. Eurocycles, Adam Armstrong's time of 20.37 came as a surprise as he is not known for enjoying time trials, but it was enough to give him Silver medal position by a mere one second from John Heverin (Clann Eirean/Linen Green). Paul Brady came in two seconds down on Heverin which makes the overall Dave Kane League standings very interesting as these two are vying with each other for overall lead.

In the Vets competition, John Madden(Bann Wheelers) proved he is back to fighting fitness as lifted the Veteran's title and the Birney Cup for the second year in succession, putting in a time of 20.50. East Antrim Audi's Gordon Scott and Maryland's Mark Geer scooped the remaining medals.

It was great to see a field of six women entering and competition among them was fierce, but in the end it was the ever-smiling, Ann McFarland (East Tyrone) who took the title despite a wonky bike. Fintona CC's Junior woman Rachael Withers was the silver medallist, a great achievemnet from this young rider who has proved on many occasions her committment to the bike. Roe Valley's Mary Boyd, only recently back on the bike proved she still has what it takes to claim the Bronze medal. Gillian Orr (Ards CC) was delighted however with yet another PB. This is a lady who has seen her times gradually improve over the past few months.

Five tandems took to the line on Thursday night with Brian Nugent being the surprise entrant. It is a while since Brian signed his name to an open event. However paired up with Clann Eireann's Michael Murray he was feeling confident. Their time of 20.53 was a PB and enough to give them silver but gold went to the pairing of Roger Aiken and Charlie McConville (Banbridge CC) who covered the ten miles in a super time of 20.34.

Phoenix CC's Dennis Cormican and paralympian Andy Fitzgerald from Warrenpoint claimed the bronze in 21.29. Despite some coaxing we were unable to get Emma Fitzgerald to compete on the night but knowing Emma... she will be back!

With 18 teams entered only fourteen finished with three or more riders. Normally only a gold medal is awarded but with such a high class field Cycling Ulster has decided to award Gold, Silver and Bronze team medals. It is no surprise that East Antrim Audi were the victors. Their consisitent performance in team time trials over the past few years shows them to be club who produce testers with good, similar times. Ballymena took Silver while Maryland took Bronze. The counters for the competion are listed below as are all the team's mean speeds. A quick glance shows how close the competion was. Although Usher IRC claimed the second fastest team time, they are not eligible for medals as their club is not an Ulster registered club. Roe Valley CC are to be congratulated as they were the only club to to enter a full female squad of Mary Boyd and twins Clara and Rachel Cole-Hawthorne.

Gold - East Antrim Audi
Gordon Scott
Kieran McKenna
Gary Cranston

Time 21.17

Silver - Ballymena Scotts
Conor McAllister
Leo McAllister
Gavin Scullion
Time 21.37

Bronze - Maryland Wheelers
Mark Greer
Peter Wilson
Martin Birney
Time 21.43

East Antrim Audi 21.17
Usher IRC 21.27
Ballymena Scotts 21.37
Maryland Wheelers 21.43
Phoenix CC 21.49
Foyle CC 22.08
Clann Eireann/Linen Green 22.17
East Tyrone CC 22.18
Apollo CT 22.25
Team Madigan 22.44
Banbridge CC 23.22
Ards CC 24.04
Bann Valley 24.36
Roe Valley CC 25.31

We would like to thank all those who made the evening go smoothly and safely. Timekeepers, Gordon Parker and Nino Braik, Commissaire, Martin Lees, Turn Steward and Split times John Cole, Photographer Jim Lavery and Drivers for the handcyclists Eamon Burns, Bob Graham, and Jim from Ballymena. (Sorry but I forgot your name again - send me an email). Biggest thanks of all to Bronagh Kirk who took over my usual sign-on job leaving me free to help with the time keeping. Bronagh - you are a star!! And the coffee was just what I needed.

For all those I have not named such as the big Ballymena squad who turned out to support the event - many thanks. Apologies to all those riders who had to listen to me laying down the law but as organisers we are always stressed out until all of you are home safe and sound. Finally a big thank you to all those competitors who turned up in such numbers to make this a true Ulster Championship.

For full TT Results click the TT link on the left.

The event was also a counter towards the Ciclisport.com - Weefut Trophy for Juniors. The current standings after 3 rounds are:

Dane Dunlop (Lakeland CC) 29 points
Stuart Henry (North Down) 20 points
Marcus Christie (Usher IRC) 17 points
Leo McAlister (Ballymena-Scott Tiles) 17 points
Peter Wilson (Maryland Wheelers) 16 points
Phillip Bremner (Ballymena-Scott Tiles) 15 points
Peter Williams (Juiced Orchard) 13 points
Johnny Cole (Team Madigan) 10 points
Richard Alexander (Team Madigan) 5 points
Clive Lindsay (East Tyrone) 5 points
Sean Downey (Banbridge CC) 5 points

REPORT: Tommy & Marian Lamb
Pics Jimmy Lavery

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