Last Saturday Phoenix CC hosted the annual Bobby Crilly memorial races with the headquarters at Lamh Dhearg GAC at the top of Hannahstown hill in Belfast.
This race is famous for its mountain top finish on Divis mountain, where the riders finish at the masts at the summit.
This race was to be the driest edition of the event in recent years, but the race was going to be no different in the level of difficulty it has given to riders over the years.
Dromara CC had a good field of riders out in force in the three races on offer on the day.
First race off was the A1 and A2 race, containing Nathan Mullan and Ronnie Smyth. They had 4 laps of a 15 mile circuit that began at Nutts Corner, taking the riders along the Seven Mile straight before ascending a short and steep climb on the Abbey road. After this the riders where enroute back to Nutts Corner to begin another lap. Their race would total 70 miles.
The A1s and A2s race split when a break got away containing two riders of the host club, and they managed to open up a substantial of over two minutes entering the road to Divis, with Nathan coming in a small group of four. He managed to secure 8th place, although he just missed out on being first A2 rider over the line had he knew that the rider in front of him was A2. Ronnie was unlucky not to finish the race.
Zak Hanna was in the A3 race and they had to complete 3 laps of the circuit before climbing up through Dundrod to Divis. The 80-strong A3 peloton weren’t allowing any breaks to get away on the circuit, after numerous attempts where soon brought back.
When the race hit Dundrod it split to pieces and Zak managed to get into front group of around 20 riders, where a 6 man break got away after a big attack from two riders. Zak stayed in the remainder of the group and they worked to bring back the break before Divis. As they turned onto the road that brought them to the entrance of Divis a rider attacked the group which had a few riders going out the back. Zak held on and rode hard to finish 8th overall.
In the A4 race Dromara had Barry Van Kellett, Graham Beckett and Jonny McBride competing in this race. They had 2 laps of the circuit to compete before climbing up to Divis.
The race stayed together before a rider decided to make a break for it, leaving a group of 15 including Barry to chase him down. Barry left it until the final 100 metres to make an attack, pipping the attacking ride on the line to take a well deserved victory. Graham and Jonny rode well to finish inside the top 15, excellent riding by the two riders.
Well done to Barry on the win, it won’t be long until you’re upgraded to A3 where all the legends hang out.
*Club League-Dundrum Road 10 mile TT-Well done to all who competed in Thursday night’s time trial on the Dundrum line course. Fastest on the night was Gavin Magowan with a time of 23:49,although he was joined as the fastest time on the night by Phoenix CC’s Phil O’Neill. Both riders where only 3 seconds off the course record as well.
Second and third place was rounded off by Chris Magowan with 24:31, and Brendan Duff with 24:36.
After the handicaps where applied it was Emma Johnston who took the maximum 40 points towards the club league. Second was Roisin McIlhone who earned 39 points towards the club league, with Linda Ford in third place.
Many thanks to the timekeepers and marshals who helped out on the night.
The next round of the league is this Thursday night, this time a choice between a 16 mile and a 25 mile time trial on the Bann road course with the start just at the bottom of the Horseshoe bend outside Castlewellan. Make sure to check the club message board and website for more information, as well as the club Facebook page.