James wins in Gilchrist Cup

YET another perfect evening for cycling was enjoyed by those that turned out on Wednesday June 6 at Gilford for race two of tree in the Gilchrist Cup mini series. 

This is a three race series that focuses on Road Racing with each race over different terrain and each being 25 miles in length.

Thirty-five riders took part in this event, including four visiting riders from local clubs. Again riders were placed in categories according to abilities and released with time gaps giving everyone a chance to win.

As ever the under 14 riders were released first. Three minutes later it was the turn of the Cat 4 riders, followed a further 2.08 minutes by a healthy Cat3 group. Next up were the ever competitive Cat 2 riders now 8.10 down on the first departures with a smaller than usual Cat 1 group at 11.45 and Elite Cat at 14 minutes behind.

With four laps of the undulating 6.3 mile Gilford circuit to test competitors, there was no rest for anyone as riders worked together to either increase their time advantage or close it down.

Lap one times showed groups rotating at 15.30 for the under 14s, 14.00 for the Cat 4,s, 13.12 for the Cat 3’s, 13.00 for the Cat 2’s, 12.50 for the Cat 1’s and 12.10 for the Elite riders.

With half race distance completed it was clear that the winner would come from Cat 3 group. Having completed just over 12 miles they had caught the 2 groups in front now all three groups were working together. The Cat 2 group meanwhile had made only a little of the gap up with both the Cat 1 and Elite groups equally making only minimal gains. 

Coming into the last corner and the 500 metres to the finish 13 riders made up of Cat 3 and 4 riders fought for the win. It was James Curry who broke free to cross the line 15 metres in front of Chris McCann and Gareth Hillen in second and third places respectively. Fourth and fifth were Brian Curran and Ewan Anderson with last year’s race winner Gareth McGreevy finishing sixth.

Congratulations to the promising and talented James Curry on this, his first club win, having been placed second and third in his previous two events this season.

The Gilchrist Cup with one race to go now sees James Curry lead with 79 points, Brian Curran second on 75 points and Chris McCann in third on 70 points.

In the overall race league, although finishing mid-table in this race, it is Paul McGuckin that retains his leadership on 215 points. Jude Sands now holds second place on 210 points with third on 209 points Brian Curran. Finishing out the top five are Ciaran Magill and Dan Purdy on 207 points and 204 points.

Matty Teggart Wins at Newry Youth Races - Newry was the venue last weekend for the latest round of the David McCall Foundation Youth league.

There were some great performances, and great battles fought out on the rolling roads near Dromantine College.

The U16 race was slow to get warmed up as the riders covered all the moves during the first six laps. Ryan Orr then attacked and within a lap had extended his advantage to just over one minute. On lap eight Cathal Clarke decided to bring the gap down and after a full lap on the front Aaron Swan and Matty jumped from the group.

Coming to the bell young Orr was still holding a 20 second lead but the chasers were not for giving up and just like it happens in the pro races the lone breakaway was caught 200 metres from the line with the young Banbridge star just holding off Swan by a wheel for another great win.

Banbridge One Twos at Navan and Dungiven - The younger and older racers in Banbridge CC scored a notable double at the weekend when the under 16s Mark Downey and Matty Teggart placed first and second at the Meath Grand Prix in Navan while, in the Roe Valley CC Masters race at Dungiven, Paul McGuckin and Ian Cochrane repeated the feat with Paul taking his first open race win of the season helped by a long uphill finish while Ian followed him across the line for a well deserved second place.

In the A4 race Dan Purdy and Aidie Finnegan put in what was possibly their best performances of the season to date to finish 10th and 16th in a big field of over 50 riders with both men in the thick of the action at the front of the race all day.

Noel Teggart Memorial Races on Sunday June 17 - These prestigious open races take place around the Banbridge - Gilford – Scarva course this coming Sunday with events for A1 - A3s, A4s Youth and over 50’s planned for the day’s racing.

Club members not taking part in the races are encouraged to help out with the marshalling and driving duties – it looks as though as much assistance as possible will be needed to ensure a full programme of safe racing can take place. Please let any committee member know of your availability.

Great Performances by Matt and Garth in Donegal Three Day - Banbridge riders were much to the fore in this gruelling event held recently in wall to wall sunshine across the mountains and valleys of Donegal.

Matt Adair won the coveted white jersey for best U23 rider while Gareth McKee held the King of the Hills jersey for a time – a significant achievement in that terrain.

Off Road Success in Killarney - Banbridge riders Gareth McKee, Simon and James Curry were in off road action at the 5th round off the Irish NPS in Killarney. With the points in the series. being so tight at the top coming into the last two rounds racing was going to be tough.

James was the first one off in the Under 16 race, the pace set from the start was high with James taking the lead and in charge of the race.

After leading for half a lap James made a mistake it technical section to lose the lead. Over the next lap and a half James tried to close the gap to the leader but eventually had to settle for a strong second position, securing himself second in the overall series.

Simon was sitting second in the Senior 2 Category Overall Series and was hoping for a good result this weekend. Early on in the Senior 2 race a group of 3 pulled away in the opening lap with Simon part of this group, at the end of the first lap one of the riders attacked the group gaining an advantage over the chasers, but on the second lap Simon decided that he would push the pace along and chase down the leader.

His attack proved to be too little to late though Simon finished second after pulling some of the time back on the winner. This result leaves the Series all to play for coming into the final round in Davagh forest.

Gareth, riding for Chain Reaction / Vitus, was racing in the senior 1 category, and from the start the pace was fast and after holding back and following people in the first lap Gareth took the lead in a technical section of the track and attacked over the next few laps the pace to open up a gap on second place, holding it take a fine win.

This meant that coming into the final round Gareth is now leading the Overall NPS Series. A big thank-you to Killarney CC for putting on a fantastic race.