Latest news from Banbridge CC with ‘The Crank’

THE second race in Banbridge CC’s domestic season took place on the Castlewellan Road on Wednesday April 11, with the second of three events in the Mac 2 Up TT series.

Starting just opposite the Tesco’s entrance, the 10 mile TT course follows the Castlewellan Road to a five mile turning point at the junction of the Katesbridge Road.

With mixed weather and heavy showers throughout the day, those competing welcomed a dry break and bright evening, which endured long enough for all to finish in similar conditions. Temperatures were up a little this week at 9c, but again like the previous week riders had to contend with Northerly winds, providing a troublesome headwind on the return.

A number of new riders were again welcomed into the race scene, with 31 riders on the night taking part, producing hard racing and ever improving times. Unfortunately however, a number of the teams this week were new and whilst all are most welcome, having missed the first race in the series, or being unable to commit to the three race series seriously reduces their potential to win the Mac 2 Up trophy.

Quickest actual time on the night was a blistering time of 24:29 (24.5mph) posted by Simon Curry and the ‘Moneyslane Missile’, Gareth McKee. Hot on their heels though was another superb time of 24:30 (24.49mph) posted by the hugely talented Matt Adair and Matty Teggart.

A number of other times on the night were equally impressive, with riders clearly having grown in stature since last season. Ewan Anderson and Ian Cochrane posted a personal best of 26:50 (22.36mph) and are showing form that suggests this season’s individual league may be much closer than last year.

Additional notable performances were recorded against the new pairings of Philip Beattie and Marty Winters 26:15 (22.85mph) and Kevin McAlinden and Paul McGuckin at 26:02 (23.04mph).

The spoils on the night, however, belong to the female pairing of Shannon Buller and Sheena McKivergan who took their first club handicap race win with a time of 32.09 (18.66mph).

In the series, the girls now hold a three-point lead over Messrs Cochrane and Anderson and a further two over Messrs McKee and Curry.

The series will conclude on Wed 2 May on the 11 mile route from Banbridge through Gilford and Scarva, finishing back in Banbridge at the Scarva Road Industrial Estate. The club’s thanks once again to those assisting in the race organisation and marshalling, and well done to the competitors for crunching in seriously good performances.

Mark Performs for the Talent Team 2020 - Banbridge CC’s up and coming junior star Mark Downey has completed his first assignment with Cycling Ireland’s Talent Team 2020 - a youth development project with participation in the 2020 Olympics as the eventual goal.

The teams first race – the four stage Youth Tour of Scotland - took place last week and saw Mark taking on the role of team leader in a four-man squad.

Mark exceeded expectations by winning the King of the Hills classification ably supported by second placed team mate Michael McLoughlin of Carrick Wheelers. This success, in a 100 rider field from all over the UK, will come as no surprise to his club mates in Banbridge who have been long aware of young Marks potential – many having suffered at first hand from his efforts in local races. Let’s hope he progresses all the way to the 2020 Olympics .

Banbridge CC dominate U16 race in Stamullan, Co Meath - The long drive down to Stamullan near Balbriggan in Co Meath proved well worth while last Sunday for our two leading junior racers Matty Teggart and Mark Downey when the scored a sensational one-two in the Joey White Memorial Cup races ahead of many fancied riders from a host of southern clubs.

The two boys rode as a team to outwit the tactics being played out around them and stayed in control of the race to set up an uphill sprint finish victory for Matty with Mark a close second.

This was an outstanding performance by both riders and confirms Banbridge CC as a major force in the U16 category.

In the A4 race on the Saturday Adrian Finnegan and Josh Daly rode strongly to compete in the bunch sprint but both finished just outside the major places . Shenna McKiverigan was unfortunate to suffer mechanical problems early in the U14 race . Although losing touch with the bunch Shenna rode on gamely to finish the race.

Bann Valley Classic - Two Banbridge CC riders made the long trip on Sunday to Portglenone to compete in this popular event – so popular in effect that many riders who turned up for “sign on” on the day were left disappointed. Pre-entry seems necessary to guarantee a ride.

No such problems for Kevin McAlinden and Josh Daly who rode in the A3 and A4 races respectively. Comfortable bunch finishes were the order of the day for both riders – though Kevin was active in trying to bridge to an early break but without success. This group of 8 riders stayed away to contest the finish.

Josh is really enjoying his racing this season but having ridden the Stamullan race on Saturday Josh was content to finish safely in the peleton.

Off Road Begins - The first round of the Cross Country Ulster Series took place at Ballykelly Forest near Limavady, the weather was very kind with the sun shining all day long.

The racing got underway with the Sam Baird racing in Under 8s, the Under 10s were next to go with three riders from Banbridge competing - James Buller, Christopher Curry third with Jack Baird second.

Racing in the Under 14’s was Richard Baird who eventually finished 3rd with John Buller in second position, the first girl was Shannon Buller.

In the Under 16 race there was two riders from Banbridge competing with Joseph Baird finishing third with James Curry turning out eventual winner after a strong race.

After the Underage races it was time for the Senior riders to begin, there were several riders representing Banbridge CC. Stephen Prentice competed in the Senior 4 race with Jonathan Buller, Maurice Mayne and William Forsythe racing in the Senior 2 race, William Mulligan and Simon Curry were racing in the Senior 2 category with Simon having a strong race and eventually finishing 2nd with Gareth McKee winning the Senior 1 category. Two great results for these cycling all rounders.

Special thanks have to go to Susan Mayne, Ann Baird and Hazel Buller for their help with keeping all the riders hydrated.