Ulster Cycling News
20Mar/110

Great Racing at Carn Wheelers Classic 2011

What an exciting day there was today at Tobermore - The Big Well, when Carn Wheelers promoted their first open race. There were three races on offer all of which saw good fields ready to tackle the seven mile circuit with an uphill finish in the village centre. The race started just outside of the town with the A3's heading off first on the rolly but well surfaced course. The A4 race was set off a few minutes behind with the Masters and Women's race just after that.

Johnny Dempsey of East Antrim Audi went from the gun and powered along the back roads building up a considerable gap on the main peleton which did not rise to the bait.

With seven laps of the course to cover the A3 bunch must have thought they had plenty of time and although the pace was high they were not pushing it hard. Despite several warnings by the Comms the pace remained fairly steady.

They did not take into account the hunger to win of some of the A4 bunch who within a few laps had caught the A3's. There was only one thing to do and that was to stop the race. Dempsey was given his advantage and the race continued with the A4's having to wait for five minutes before heading off again.

However there was plenty of support and banter in the street and no-one seemed to mind. The effect on the A3's was electric and on their next pass through the town it looked like the Hound of the Baskervilles was on their heels. Perhaps they were not far wrong as the thought of Comm Maurice McAllister and trainee comm Paul Devenney in the Comm car behind them is enough to frighten anyone. Who knew what dire punishments these two could mete out!

The A4 race continued at a hard pace with several riders having a lash but it was always going to come down to a bunch sprint. The long drag up Tobermore allowed the spectators to witness the sprint wind up from the start. On the line it was James Thompson (Bann Wheelers) who took the win ahead of club-mate Nigel Quigley with Conor McAteer of Bann Valley lifting third.

Meanwhile in the A3 race Johnny Dempsey had dropped back in to the main bunch and despite attempts by Brice Irvine, Danny Hylands and Patrick Withers the bunch were rejuvenated and nothing was going to slip by them. With several renowned sprinters in the pack it was going to be an exciting finish.

As the riders turned into the main street the expectant crowd watched as the sprinters chose their line and battled it up the hill. Stephen McAllister of Ballymoney, who has been knocking on the door of upgrade for some time held his line and gave a final kick to take the win ahead of East Antrim's, Stephen Beck, another well known sprinter. Gavin Magowan of Dromara claimed another few points when he took third ahead of Ballymoney's Bryan McKinney, Sean Stewart of Four Masters and Paul McCorry of Lakeland.

However perhaps the most talked about event of the day was the Masters and Women's race. This attracted a field of almost forty riders with North Down bringing in the big guns and a dozen domestiques. North Pole CC unleashed ace rider Eamon (Batman) Toland and stringer Shay Giles with Fullerton and McLaughlin as back up while Phoenix CC were counting on top sprinter Dermot Hughes ably backed by Lamb, Lundy, McCann and McCartan. Bann Valley's hopes rested with Gerry McCullough while Harry Martin was there for the glory of Clann Eireann. There were over a dozen women signed on for the event but pleas to take it easy on the men fell on deaf ears as they were out to do well.

The bunch stayed together for much of the race with only a few getting dropped although Harry Adams of North Down gave it a lash early on.

Again the sprint to the line would be the decider. Hughes veered around the outside in a sudden move to un-nerve the opposition but Ian Blayney of North Down was just as experienced. These two fought their own battle to the shouts of the crowd but in the end Blayney proved too strong and took the win with Hughes having to settle for second position. While Ross Blayney may have learned some tricks from his father it was obvious that at least one member of the Blayney family still remembered how to sprint. Mark Coyle helped North Down lift team honours by placing third with Giles in fourth Position. Rachael Withers (St. Raphael Road&Track Team) used all her experience to take first woman. For Carl Fullerton and Willie John McLaughlin it was back to Donegal to re think tactics while Gerry McCullogh and Harry Martin are on a recruitment drive to get team back up for next Sunday at the PJ Logan Cup. However with Bann Wheelers beginning to look stronger it is still anyone's guess who will come out on top.

Carn Wheelers are to be congratulated on one of the best events of the year. With a great sign-on venue they still provided portaloos at the start line and at the finish line in the Main Street. There were marshalls everywhere. loads of lead and commissaire cars and great communication. The catering committee ensured that no-one went away hungry and a lovely crystal trophy was presented to the winner. Well done to Simpson McGrath the line time keeper and chief organiser and to all the team on an excellent event on a great course. Many thanks also to all the men from Ballymena Road Club who turned up to help judge the finish.

VIEW GALLERY OF THE CARN CLASSIC 2011 BY MARIAN LAMB

Report and Pics Marian Lamb

Carn Wheelers Classic A Race
1. Stephen McAllister (Ballymoney CC)
2. Stephen Beck (East Antrim)
3. Gavin Magowan (Dromara CC)
4. Bryan McKinney (Ballymoney CC)
5. Sean Stewart (Four Masters)
6. Paul McCorry (Lakeland CC)

Carn Wheelers Classic B Race
1. James Thompson( Bann Wheelers)
2. Nigel Quigley (Bann Wheelers)
3. Conor McAteer (Bann Valley)
4.Tyrone McKendry (Ballymoney CC)
5. Brian Geddis (Ballymena - Scott)
6. Stephen Fletcher (East Antrim)

Masters Race
1. Ian Blayney (Noth Down CC)
2. Dermot Hughes (Phoenix CC)
3. Mark Coyle (North Down CC)
4. Shay Giles (North Pole Guest rider)
5. Gerry McCullough (Bann Valley)
6. Eamon Toland (North Pole CC)
7. John Lundy (Phoenix CC)
8. Paul Boyle (Bann Wheelers)
9 Robert Downes (Bann Wheelers)
10. Harry Adams (North Down CC)

Team North Down

Women's Race
1. Rachael Withers (St. Raphael Road&Track Team)
2. Val O'Neill (Phoenix CC)
3. Therese Smyth (Phoenix CC)
4. Ann Paul (East Tyrone)
5. Amy Brice (Phoenix CC)
6. Kelly Donnelly (Spires CC)
7. Hannah Francis (Bikeworks)

Team Standings
North Pole 1 point
Phoenix CC 1 Point
North Down 1 Point

First Woman Rachael Withers (St. Raphael Road&Track Team)

Many thanks to Bike Dock who sponsored today's report and pics.

Bikedock - Ulster's #1 bike shop and cycling specialist. Bikes, gear, clothing, workshop, Cycle To Work Scheme, cycle maintenance courses and more.
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