Wheelers get their Australian Pursuit series underway

LAST Tuesday night 40 riders from four different clubs took part in West Down Wheelers’ first round of the Australian Pursuit series.

It consists of four rounds held throughout the year for the John Maxwell Memorial Cup. The 40 riders were split into five groups but a mix up at the start saw groups three and four go together.

The riders had a tough run ahead of them, starting on the Rathfriland Road the riders went via Annaclone, Rathfriland, Ballyroney, Moneyslane ,Katebridge and to the finish at Ballydown.

The tough climb up Annaclone drag was always going to test the riders and so it proved with riders going out the back of their groups. With 10 minutes separating the scratch from the limit group they would have to keep going.

By Moneyslane all the groups could see the group in front except for the leaders, but on the Katesbridge straight the scratch caught group three and it became one big group - the chase was on for the leaders.

And it didn’t take long to reel them in, catching them just past McCoy’s garage. With several unsuccessful attacks it came down to one big group sprint and it was John Kernaghan who took the first round and once again has shown he’s the man to beat.

In 2nd was Allister Walker, just back after his recent spill so well done to him. But the biggest surprise on the night was John’s cousin Matthew whose third place was some ride as his TT times meant he went off in the first groups. He dug in to beat some good riders in the sprint finish so he is one to watch in the future.

This was a good night’s racing on a tough course and anyone who was still there for the sprint can feel they did a good night’s riding.

The fastest man on the night was A Baines from TVR so well done to him. Next week’s race is a road race on the Donacloney circuit with a new, safer finish.

It’s becoming a busy time for the Wheelers with their big open race this Saturday at Katesbridge and W Maxwell’s big ride to Portstewart and back on same day with many of the Wheelers taking part. This is on June 2.

The Wheelers have added some new riders recently but there’s room for more so get in touch if you are looking for a club. You will be made very welcome and you can log onto www.westdownwheelers.com for more details.

- On Saturday five members of West Down Wheelers took part in the Tommy Given Road Races at Hillsborough, A.Walker, J.Kernaghan, and the club’s top junior rode well in the big race. Ally broke a spoke and had to retire but the rest finished well in the bunch.

C.Adamson and D.Cartmill also rode well in the B race but all will be looking to do well in their own race next week.    - Paul McManus has just returned from Andalucia were he finished 630 out of 2500 in a half iron man. This was some effort as it was full of professionals. Paul has improved really well this year as his TTs has shown in the club. 

- Thursday May 17 - Woodgreen: A number of the West Down Wheelers time trial specialists traveled to the popular Woodgreen course at Ballymena for the second round of the 2012 league on Thursday May 17.

Woodgreen is a strange course where there are no gifts and fast times guaranteed. It’s said that if you have a big enough engine some remarkable speeds can be achieved.

However despite a cold head wild on the way out Paul Wilkinson was the wheeler on the night when he clocked a credible 21.52. 2nd fastest wheeler was D Gordon 23:02, J Kernaghan 23:43, P McKinstry 23:55, D Cartmill 24.04, W Maxwell 24:25, J Cromie 25:13

Austrailian Pursuit, Rathfriland Rd - Ballydown, John Maxwell Mem.: First Three Wheelers across the line. J Kernaghan, A Walker, M McKinstry,

Overall Classification: A Baines, D Weir, J Kernaghan, M McKnight, A Walker, B McGrath, N Seffen, R Stewart, M McKinstry, K McAlinden, M Alexander, C Adamson, D Cartmill, P Savage, R Moffett, P Wilkinson, E Cantley, S Bloomer, D Cantley (F), A Priestley, J Priestley (U14), J Cromie, S Keery, P McKinstry, T Wright, J Daly, S Daly, M Winters, S Baines, D McKnight, N McAvoy, A Hall, M Cantley, G McKee, S Buchanan, T Beattie, W Sheilds, M Cantley (J).