BANBRIDGE Cycling Club hosted the first open race of the local racing scene with a successful Travers Engineering Annaclone GP.
As is to be expected with the first open race of the season the weather is always a big factor and as luck would have it, it stayed dry for the event even though it was extremely cold with the odd snow flurry.
The two-race event had a full competitor list with almost 120 cyclists lining out to do battle on the day on the undulating five lap race around Annaclone.
The first race to leave the start line was the handicapped A1, A2 and A3 race with the A3 having a two and a half minute head start on the A1’s and 2’s. This advantage was closed on the second lap leaving one large bunch all together, and lead to exiting racing with many attacks as racers tried to open gaps and get away from the main bunch.
The bunch fought it out for who would take the glory, which came in the form of Marc Potts of Omagh Wheelers who emerged victorious well ahead of the closest rival Aaron McBride of North Pole CC.
Well done to the BCC men who finished well up in the bunch in what was a hard fast race on their local circuit.
The second race of the day was also a five lapper of the eight mile circuit which set off shortly after the first race. This one was for the A4 category holders this group consists of newcomers and riders who haven’t won enough points to upgrade from last season.
The pace started as it was to end - fast and furious although two racers emerged from the pack to open a sizable lead on the first lap, namely David Hamilton of Curran Racing and James Wilson of Apollo who worked well together to keep the lead for the majority of the race.
The chasing pack needed to work extremely hard to pull these two back and with a lot of this work coming from the Banbridge CC members it came down to the last lap where Wilson ran out of steam and getting swallowed up by the perusing pack.
Hamilton had more in the tank and was able to keep the chasers at bay to take his first open race victory in his first competitive race.
All the results can be found on the Cycling Ulster Website www.cyclingulster.com
Banbridge Cycling Club would like to take this opportunity to thank Travers Engineering for their continued support in sponsoring the race, the Red Cross for their support with the medical back up and the PSNI out riders whose motorbike outriders added extra warning to oncoming traffic.
The race could not have happened without the efforts of club members who turned up to drive the lead cars and stood in the cold to marshal. Without them the club wouldn’t have been able to ensure the safety of the competitors.
The club would also like to thank the people who organise everything in the background.