THE penultimate race in this year’s Banbridge Cycling Club Road Race League, took place on Wednesday evening, August 29, on the undulating Lurgan Road out of Dromore.
This was race 20 of 21 with the best 15 results for each rider to count in the series, more important on the night it was the concluding 10 mile TT in this year’s Lutton Cup series.
On the night weather conditions were favourable with little or no wind and drying roads after a day of heavy rain showers.
With the clock ticking and riders warming up, a short list of only 13 riders was drawn up, maybe a sign of the fast approaching cool autumn evenings.
So with eager intentions, it was again time for the first of the night’s competitors to set off the five miles to the turnaround point. Once again, in a year that has seen many invest heavily in specialist machinery, a number of riders turned out on some very desirable equipment.
Again performances across the board on the night, were demonstrative of riders having reached the top end of a progressive, successful and gratifying season.
All 13 riders beat they’re individual target times, but it was the Newry juggernaut that is Jude Sands who once again proved himself too hot to handle, posting the fastest actual time of the night at 24:54.
With actual times adjusted against individual targets, winner on the night was Paul Carlisle with a time of 25:49, with Chris Burns second at 26:12 and Paul McGuckin third at 27:04.
With positions and points awarded and accumulated with the points attained in race one in the Lutton Cup, it was to prove a doubly successful night for Paul Carlisle who made up a deficit to finish in joint first place with Chris Burns on 78 points with Jude Sands the next nearest on 73.5 points.
In the club league with only the final race to go, things continue to be tight at the top with a slender 5.5 points between Jude Sands in his first season and Brian Curran who has totally reinvented himself for this season.
Both riders have enjoyed a number of changes in leadership and will head into the final race next Wednesday evening, September 5. on the testing Rathfriland Road course believing all is still to play for.
So, in only its second year since inception the Club race league will now be decided on the last race proving what a keenly contested competition it has been this year.