Dromore lad Marks his home race with a victory

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Dromore lad and Banbridge CC rider Mark Downey crossed the line first to claim a thrilling home victory.

The club promoted their very popular annual open race event, the John Beggs / Sean McGreevy Memorial, on a hilly course between Dromore and Kinallen.

The event attracted over 200 riders and with new Race HQ at Dromore Rugby Club, the town was a hive of cycling activity for most of the day. All involved in the promotion of the event can be very satisfied with a fine spectacle of amateur bike racing which was enjoyed by spectators at numerous vantage points around the course.

Banbridge CC riders featured in the A3 race with Dan Purdy, Nathan Sturroch and junior rider Mark Downey riding for the Nicholas Roche Performance Team and joining an 80 strong field on the start line.

And it was Dromore lad Mark who delivered the outstanding performance of the day. He and his two team mates repeatedly attempted to break away from the peleton but were always reeled back in by a determined bunch.

Mark saved his final attack for the finishing straight and, much to the delight of local fans, pulled out a couple of bike lengths in the closing 150metres to take a superb victory in his home race. Dan and Nathan rode well over the testing course to finish a particularly difficult event.

Neighbouring club Orchard C.C’s Sean McIntyre, just upgraded to A2, clinched the senior race for A1s and A 2s holding off the closing bunch at the line.

In the A4 race, David Lavery, the local club’s sole representative, had the misfortune of a first lap rear wheel failure resulting in an unwelcome DNF.

The Masters 50+ is a catagorie in which Bann have been very successful in so far this season.

This time, it saw six Banbridge CC riders competing over two laps (31miles) in a field of 20 riders. Hopes were high for a second home win with Phil Beattie, Ian Cochrane, Chris McCann, Paul McGuckin and newcomers to the category Willie Mulligan and Malcolm Jenkins providing strength in numbers.

The difficult circuit whittled down the riders in contention by the time they reached Kinallen on the second lap. With six miles to run in to the finish on the Ballynahinch to Dromore Road, a group of eight riders had established the winning break, and five of those were from Banbridge CC.

Unfortunately, the team were unable to take advantage of their numerical superiority and allowed Phoenix CC’s Brian Hannon to take the sprint by a couple of bike lengths. Ian Cochrane slipped through to take second place, his best result of the season, while Phil Beattie and Chris McCann were third and fourth respectively.

Chris was delighted with his excellent fourth place finish in his second race this year. Paul McGuckin finished a close sixth and Willie Mulligan, who contributed big efforts on every hill, rolled in eighth. Overall, it was a good race for Banbridge CC but tinged with disappointment having failed to clinch a win in such advantageous circumstances.

Happily, the day passed without serious mishap and the riders, marshals and officials returned to Race HQ where refreshments were available prior to the presentation of prizes.

Particular thanks were extended to the static and driving marshals who ensured rider safety, the club members who served up the sustenance, Dromore Rugby Club for the uses of their premises and St Johns Ambulance and the Police Service for their assistance during the event.