Riders race over tough Australian Pursuit course

OVER 40 riders headed to the Rathfriland Road on Tuesday night to take part in what is the toughest of the Australian Pursuits.

Starting on the Rathfriland Road the riders had to go via Annaclone ,Rathfriland, Ballyroney,Moneyslane, then the hard climb from McCoy’s garage and then the toughest of it all at Cattlehill. They got a break through Garvaghy then there were some tight hills to the finish at the Quarry.

This was the second round held for the John Maxwell Memorial Cup - one of the most sought after of all the trophies.

Club Chairman Billy Maxwell had the difficult and thankless task of splitting the riders into their various groups. With riders from the local clubs taking part it makes his job harder. Race Secretary Clive Adamson says not everyone will agree with him. “Billy does a really good job but it’s hard to please all the riders and get it right all the time,” he added.

As the riders set off the most of them had Cattlehill in their minds as its very tough and you are knackered by the time you reach it, but knowing that if they can hang in to the top of it there’s a very good chance they can get to the finnish. 

Throughout the race the first two groups made good use of their handicaps and knew if they got to the top of Cattlehill they had a very good chance of not getting caught by the faster groups behind them.

With groups one and two coming together and forming a big group they managed to hold out to the finish with Alan Priestly, enjoying his first year riding in the club, taking a very good win and boy was he pleased. This was a super effort from Alan and a well deserved win.

Another new rider, A. McCourt took second. Allister, like Alan, is improving with every race and its very good to see.

But equally as good was the third placed rider, B.Hanna, who was competing in only his second ever race. Make no mistake, this was a superb effort from Brian. But we can’t leave out fourth placed rider, also in his first year racing and one to keep an eye on, Jack Priestly. He is surely one for the future and growing so quick his new shorts look like hot pants.

Race Secretary Clive says, “It’s so pleasing to see new riders doing so well and says no doubt they will have more success in the coming races. But also a big well done goes to those who took part in this very tough event to make it another very good race.”

Next week is another tough one - a 32 mile road race, starting and finishing in Katesbridge. Once again the club is looking for good turnout from the Wheelers as they have seen all year.

- On Sunday five members of the Wheelers headed to Bangor to take part in the Bangor coastal run, which is a 60 mile race riding round the coast for charity. It’s an event the Wheelers have an interest in and they always take part in charity events.

P.McKinstry, Jonny Cromie, Richie Moffatt, Simy Keery and Stevie Bloomer all took part and the five of them completed the run, having a good days craic so well done to them.

- Would all members please note that Thursday is club night and if there is no TT on then there will be a club run. Also any race that was called off due to the weather will be held on a Thursday night.

As this is a club night they will be for the Wheelers only - no guests will be allowed to take part. No offence is meant and they hope none is taken.

The first will be a road race held at the quarry either this week or next – members will find out today.

- Paul McManus is fast becoming the West Down Wheelers Triathlon champion.

Last week, June 9, Paul took competed in the very popular Crocked Lakes Triathlon at Camlough and finished 39th in a very strong entry field of 492 riders.

Then on June 17 Paul headed to Portrush and competed in the Causeway Coast Triathlon.

Again there was a large field of strong entries, where Paul finished 10th overall and third in his class in a time of 01:20:14. A big well done form the Wheelers.

- On Sunday June 17 Jack Priestley completed at the Noel Teggart Memorial race in the U14 category.

In this race the U14’s completed two laps of the main course, competition was hot and heavy causing the bunch to fragment. It was Jack Priestly (West Down) and Ciaran McFadden (Errigal CC) who kept the pressure on and managed to make the break away, which ended in a two man sprint for the line with McFadden taking the win by a bike length just ahead of Jack.

This is Jack’s first year of U14 open racing and he’s stirring up a storm, Cavendish watch out. Third was John Buller (Banbridge) and fourth Conor McLoughlin (Newry Wheelers). Fifth was Will Hamilton (North Down) and sixth Dean Chambers (Newry Wheelers).