Jude is the winner of Banbridge’s club league

RACE 21 in the Banbridge Cycling Club Race League took place on Wednesday September 5 on the Rathfriland Road, with the popular run to Annaclone and back, concluding the Quinn Cup and this year’s Club Road Race League. 

Given the warm start to September conditions were once again perfect for a fast time trial, with dry roads, little or no wind and a moderate 16c.

Twenty-three riders turned out to compete, with 20 of those club members. Many, no doubt, were looking to end the league series on a high, building on the recent personal bests being achieved within the club.

This year has seen an unprecedented number of PBs, with almost every club rider making vast improvements, throughout the season, smashing both personal goals and club expectations.

Competition this year has been friendly, yet fierce and with both the Quinn Cup and the league title and subsequent positions to be settled this was another evening of immense importance.

With leadership of both the Race League and the Quinn Cup after race one, this was an important evening for the Newry Juggernaut Jude Sands. Equally, it was important to those wishing to exploit any late form, with an opportunity to close out the season with yet another personal best.

So just a little after 7pm and with an air of excitement and anticipation, the first of the 23 riders was off, into the bright but rapidly dimming evening.

Shannon Buller was the first off followed rapidly by regular early starters Ciaran Magill and Chris Burns. Times were expected to be fast right across the board and were delivered with dependable consistency.

Of the 20 club riders 12 posted times in the mid 26 mins or lower, with 12 saving the best to last posting PB’s for 2012 (Shannon Buller, Ciaran Magill, Johnathon Buller, Brian Curran, Shenna McKivergan, Daniel Purdy, Philip Beattie, Paul Carlisle, Paul McGuckin, Kevin McAlinden, Davis Sleith and Graham Smyrl).

At the sharp end, the top three on the night after applying target time handicaps were, Shenna McKivergan at 30.04 (19.96 mph) taking her first senior club win, in a season that has brought her much success in a busy nationals programme.

Second placed was the impressively consistent Paul Carlisle at 25.09 (23.86 mph) and in third place, growing in confidence Ciaran Magill at 26.22 ( 22.76mph).

Quickest actual time on the night, again went to ever consistent Kevin McAlinden, who produced yet another fine performance with a time of 24:19 (24.67mph).  

The Quinn Cup, as a two race handicapped competition, was again hotly contested for by all. Jude Sands held the lead after race one, but like many had suffered with huge handicap cuts and was unable to defend his lead.

Second placed Neil Beattie was not there to participate, so the race was much between the joint third placed Paul Beattie and Ciaran Magill. But as previously mentioned it was Paul Carlisle second on the night who was to take the Cup (his second trophy in a number of weeks) with Ciaran again previously mentioned finishing third on the night.

And finally, to the Individual Race League. In conclusion and after 21 races, 457 participants, a rise in participation of 12.5% on 2011, and a hotly contested and competitive series, one rider was to prove simply too hot to handle.

Week in, week out, I believe most stood in amazement as his time trials simply blew away expectations.

However before naming this year’s winner, in a very creditable third place with 512 points was Paul Carlisle taking two race wins along the way in this his first competitive season.

In second place on 541 points, having been 13th in 2011, taking one race win along the way, totally having reinvented himself and given hugely to this year’s competition was Brian Curran.

However all said, having gallantly defended his win in 2011, fourth placed Paul McGuckin will surrender the League Trophy for 2012 to first year club rider, Jude Sands who’s competitive spirit has been infectious throughout the season. Jude finished on 543 points winning by the narrow margin of only 2 points.

Once again are thanks to all those who assisted throughout the year as marshals, time keepers and or any other assisting role, for without whom, the club scene cannot exist. Our final thanks go to all those that took part in 2012 in one of the clubs most competitive seasons for many years. Chapeau to all.

Mark Downey wins Irish National Road Race Championships in Limerick - Yet more success for young Mark Downey – this time in the prestigious youth Nationals held the week before last and attracting the best young riders in Ireland.

With a first place in the criterium and hard earned third places in both the time trial and the road race, Mark came out on top in the series to clinch the U16 title.

Teammate Gareth Hillen had the misfortune to crash in the road race suffering injuries which prevented further participation in the event.

We wish Gareth a speedy recovery from these. Next year both riders will move up to the Juniors with confidence that they can compete at the higher level.

In the U15 section James Curry performed strongly but finished outside the placings.

Club Meeting Tuesday September 11 - Members are reminded that the September club meeting will be held on Tuesday night 7.30pm at the Outlet.