Geoff wins a titanic battle for the Wheelers

Andrew Hodgen, Mark Alexander, Paul Wilkinson and Matthew McKinistry after the Australian pursuit.
Andrew Hodgen, Mark Alexander, Paul Wilkinson and Matthew McKinistry after the Australian pursuit.

West Down Wheelers held another round of their Australian Pursuit Series last Tuesday night, for the John Maxwell Memorial Cup.

This is the longest of the four rounds, starting at Ballydown going to Castlewellan and back a total of 30 miles.

The pursuit, which is popular with visiting riders, saw riders take part from Banbridge CC, TVR CC, Dromara CC.

Everyone agreed the race was possibly the best race for a while and that’s saying something as all the races this year have been tough, fast, and well suported.

The first two set off were Geoff Tate, and Dorothy Cantly, the only female competitor.

Fifteen minutes later the A4s set off, with a few A3s mixed in. A further four minutes after went the scratch riders.

This was always going to be a close call as the big A4 group for first time this year rode the way they should, two lines and everyone doing the same, but the scratch, who are always well drilled were flying to the turn with an average of 27 mph.

The A4 group lost 4 or 5 riders but this didn’t slow them up as on the way back they drove it on.

At the corbett, the scratch were just 20 seconds behind the A4s, but Geoff Tate was still leading at this stage.

The A4s made a gallant last ditch attempt to hold off the scratch group but approximately 300 yards to the finish scratch caught them, and there was a massive sprint for the line.

Geoff held out to take the win with Dromara’s Nathan Mullen taking the group sprint from WDW’s Paul Wilkinson, WDWs’ Jonny Kernaghan, and WDW’s Mark Alexander.

This was as good as you will get, far harder than an A4 race on a Saturday.

The A4s rode very very hard to make it a race, but you can’t take it away from the 8 scratch riders never giving up the chase.

Next week’s race is another tough one, five laps of the Donaghcloney course, and the week after there is another Australian Pursuit starting on the Rathfriland Road, via Rathfriland, Moneyslane, Cattlehill, Garvaghy post office, Quarry finish, they are not getting any easier.

West Down Wheelers are holding a 10 mile TT on the Warrenpoint Road this Thursday night. Sign on from 6pm, first rider off at 7pm. Any WDW not riding and can help out then let the club know. Anyone who would like to try the racing scene can feel free to get in touch. Log unto www.westdownwheelers.com, or go onto their Facebook page.

The club will be holding a meeting soon to get things sorted for the team which will be taking part in the forthcoming McKinley 3 day stage Race. All help will be greatly appreciated by the riders.