THE West Down Grand Prix was the first time that West Down Wheelers had organized a two race event for ‘A’ category, A2 and A3 riders and ‘B’ category A4 riders.
Katesbridge was a blaze of colour as two almost full fields of cyclist from across the country lined up for the West Down Grand Prix at Katesbridge.
The ‘A’ race was fast and furious with multiple breaks and attacks, it was on the last lap that the riders had to tackle the notorious Rathfriland hill, and this was the make or break point during the race for many of the riders.
It was a group of approximately 10 riders who made it the finishing straight and a sprint was to reside the outcome.
It was Damien McDonald (TVR) who took a well deserved first place just ahead of Daniel Steward (Ards CC), third was Ray Brownfield (NDCC), fourth Patrick O’Brien (Orwell CC), fifth David Wherity (Swords CC) and sixth was David McKnight (TVR).
The ‘B’ race had a number of early attacks during the first and second laps but was quickly pulled back.
It was on the third lap that Devon McIlwain (Ballymoney CC) made an attack that caught everyone off guard. He pulled away and with five miles to the finish line he was 38 seconds in front and never to be caught. He remained there until the finish line.
The main bunch remained together for what was described as a fast and furious massed sprint for the line, It was Gareth Rogers (Banbridge CC) who took second place just ahead of Ian Walker (West Down Wheelers), fourth was Peter Vester (Apollo CC) fifth, Geoff Hewitt (Phoenix CC) and sixth was Brian Geddis (Ballymena Scott Tiles)
Danny Blondeel and Aaron Wallace were commencers for the event. Danny commented that the West Down Wheelers promoted a safe race with lots of caution signs on the circuit, plenty of static marshals with three on all corners and junctions and motorcycle marshals.
West Down Wheelers would like to thank St John’s Ambulance for their support at the event.
Again this year, the customary feast afterwards, would not have been possible without the help and support of the two Barbara’s who fed the riders and spectators before and after the event.
Results - Race ‘A’ - West Down Grand Prix: 1. Damien McDonald (TVR); 2. Daniel Steward (Ards CC); 3. Ray Brownfield (NDCC); 4. Patrick O’Brien (Orwell CC); 5. David Wherity (Swords CC); 6. David McKnight (TVR).
Results - Race ‘B’ - West Down Grand Prix: 1. Devon McIlwain (Ballymoney CC); 2. Garth Rogers (Banbridge CC); 3. Ian Walker (WDW); 4. Peter Vester (Apollo CC); 5. Geoff Hewitt (Phoenix CC); 6. Brian Geddis (Ballymena Scott Tiles).
First unplaced West Down Wheeler - A4 - Alister Walker.
- IT is proving to be a very good end to the season for the riders of the West Down Wheelers.
At Woodgreen on Thursday night three members had recorded some cracker times - P McKinstry’s 23.56 (PB), D Gordon’s 22.15 (PB) and S Bloomer’s 24.20 (PB) - a good night’s work indeed.
On Tuesday night Ian Walker was the first Wheeler home in the last round of their road race series.
After four rounds John Kernaghan, Noel Doyle and Ian had won one each so it was all to play for on the last round on the tough Katesbridge course.
And it is Ian, a popular winner who lifted the much coveted Imperial Cup.
The winner on the night was D Montgomery (BCC).
With only three weeks left to the season ends their are still some trophies to be won. J Cromie leads the circuit TT going into last round next week, while the Outlook Shield and Hill Climb are still up for grabs.
Next week race is a circuit TT race on the Rathfriland Road.
On Sunday West Down Wheelers Peter Savage and Paul McManus took part in a half ironman competition in Groomsport near Bangor.
At the time of going to press results were not in but both men were doing very well with Pete a possible second. The Wheelers say a big well done to both men.