John Kernaghan is quickest in Donacloney
THERE was another big turnout of riders at the West Down Wheelers race last week.
Almost 40 riders took to the starting line; this was the first round of the road race series for the much coveted Imperial Cup.
The 36 riders were split into three groups with the bulk of the riders going in group two.
The first group set of from Hayes Pipes for five laps of the Donacloney circuit with the tough climb up to Lisnasure which would take its toll on the less fit.
Two minutes later went the biggest group with the scratch group a further three minutes behind.
Five times round this circuit was going to be tough and so it proved with riders getting shelved out the back on each lap as the race went on.
By the end of the second lap there were only two groups with the scratch closing the gap on each of the laps. At the end of the third they were only 1m 25s behind but at the start of lap five they were only 30 seconds adrift so it was going to b an exciting end to the race.
Coming up to the Legion in Donacloney they all came together. D Weir shot out of the big group with J Adair on his wheel and opened up a big gap on the rest of the riders. It was going to be interesting to see if they could hold out to the finish.
With the rest bearing down on them they were caught on the hill up to the finish by two riders who are having a very good season in the Wheelers - John Kernaghan and Mark Alexander.
They shot out past everyone to record a fine 1-2 with John well pleased with his effort. Mark will be delighted by how close he was to him at the finish.
With the scratch not contesting the sprint it left it opened to the rest. James Adair had a very good third placing, showing how well he’s going this year, and Ally Walker’s fourth won’t go unnoticed as he improves in every race.
But one man who will have the biggest smile is Davy Cartmill who managed to finish a road race for a change.
Club race secretary Clive Adamson says this was as good a finish as he has seen and happy with no crashes in a big group sprint - plus the very sporting attitude of the scratch not contesting the sprint.
Next week’s race is an Australian Pursuit starting on the Rathfriland Road via the Co-op near Rathfriland, Ballyroney, Moneyslane and finishing at Ballydown.
Clive says with almost 40 riders out last week it’s more than enough and is thankful to those who turn out regularly.
Next Saturday there is a 50k cycle for Marie Currie starting in Craigavon and the club wants as many people who can to support it.
On Saturday past the West Down Wheelers’ Paul Mcmanus ,competing in a triathalon in Roe Valley, had a very good 16th overall and first in his category. He is moving up the leader board in every race.