Kevin retains the Tommy White Memorial Cup

WEDNESDAY August 8 12, saw race 17 of 21 in the Banbridge Cycling Club road race league series, held on the Rathfriland Rd, again featuring the 10 mile TT route.

Up for grabs on one of the most popular nights in the club calendar were not one but three trophies!

The most coveted is the Tommy White Memorial Trophy being one of the few club events where the trophy is simply awarded to the fastest club trialist on the night. The club veterans (i.e.over 40s ) contest the Carson Cup on the same basis while everyone competing is eligible in the handicapped battle (over two races) for the Lutton Cup. On the night conditions seemed reasonable, with dry roads, a mild 18c temp and  a light headwind on the outward  to the turn and a favourable light tailwind for the inward leg from Annaclone.

The Rathfriland Road course is not renowned as a fast course but the benevolent conditions and the trophies at stake encouraged a large turnout of 35 riders including eight visitors from neighbouring clubs.

In the premier event – ‘The Tommy White’, last year’s winner Kevin McAlinden overcame mid-season injury to triumph once again with an excellent 24.54. The evergreen Stevie O’Hagan continued the success of the more mature riders in this event with a 25.20 for second place just piping young Race league leader Jude Sands whose 25.22 earned him third place.

These top two times by vets McAlinden and O’Hagan also secured them identical places – first and second, in the Carson Cup . The ever improving and enthusiastic Ian Cochrane posted 25.46 for 3rd place .

The handicap system applied to the Lutton Cup (race one) competitors produced a host of below target times and some season best performances. Marty Winters continued his form enhancement in recent weeks by taking first place with a great 25.27 – a full 1.46 below target time. Chris Burns produced a remarkable 25.52 (-1.37) to take second while Paul Carlisle’s excellent 25.47 (-1.17) was good enough for 3rd place.

On the night, as riders returned, it was soon realised that this was another evening witnessing falling records.

All the top 10 in the Lutton Cup recorded PB’s along with a number of others further down the placing’s.  This is the third time trial in a row which has witnessed some incredible personal improvements since the start of the season by many within the club - Jude Sands has come down 29:10 to 25:22, Graham McCracken from 30:34 to 28:04, Ryan Moore 30:18 to 27:25, Ciaran Magill 30:15 to 26:44 and Chris Burns from 30:10 to 25:52.

Next week sees the last of this year’s road races, with the second and last visit this year to the Gilford circuit.  Once again a hot battle can be expected between the Club Race League leaders within both the club’s category 2 and Category 3. Jude Sands on 511 points, will be out to build on the nine point lead he holds over Brian Curran, with third placed Ian Cochrane on 478 points no doubt keen to defend his second place finish from last year.

Thanks to those who again gave their time to time keep and provide marshalling assistance at this event. Your support, as ever, is greatly appreciated by the riders.

Young Banbridge CC Riders Impress in Youth Tour of Donegal - This was an international 3 day stage race, based in Letterkenny, for under age categories with teams from throughout Ireland, Scotland , England and several European outfits

The three girls in the Irish 2020 Development Squad - Ciara Doogan,  Roisin Carter and Banbridge’s Shenna McKiverigan all achieved a top 10 finish in the U12 competition as well as taking the top 3 in the girls category.

Banbridge’s Mark Downey –also riding for the Irish 2020 Development Squad - impressed by finishing second overall in the U16 category whilst taking two stages, the KOH and points classifications, while team mate  Matty Teggart – another of Banbridge CC ‘s leading juniors , also took a top ten overall finish .

Once again these performances underline the promise being shown by some of our most talented younger members and this bodes well for the future of the club in racing circles.

Olympic Effect ? - In recent weeks members have reported an awareness of a general increase in the number of road cyclists out and about on the Districts roads.

Could this be related to the inspirational performances of Team GB’s and Team Sky’s outstanding riders in the past month. Who knows?

However if you are one of those who have just decided to get a bike or get onto your bike and ride it – can I suggest that you consider joining Banbridge CC as a means of getting more from your cycling experiences.

Now is an ideal time to contemplate club riding as the autumn approaches and many members starts to wind down from their summer peaks of fitness to ride their bikes purely for fun. Did I really say that?

Anyway many of our most successful cyclists in the current year started cycling with the Club as recently a year ago! You could do the same.

Contact any club member or visit our web site and get started on your road to the Olympics!