Dan Purdy clinched his first club road race win on Wednesday evening on the Gilford circuit when he narrowly out sprinted Kevin McAlinden to take first place in the final race of the Mourne Observer series.
However, as with the Gilchrist Cup, the Mourne Observer Cup is awarded to the rider with the highest placings in all three races in the series and this season it is the ever present and combative Brian Curran who lifts the cup.
Brian’s fifth place in this race added to his previous first and fifth places being good enough to ease Chris McCann into runner up spot.
23 riders including welcome guests Lindsay Watson (Plush MTB) and David Montgomery (unattached) signed on and enjoyed a fine sunny evening for the race.
Three groups set off on five laps totalling 25 miles with four minute intervals between each – the first group thus having an 8 minute advantage over the “scratch” group.
At the end of lap one, Group 2 driven on by Brian Curran and Freida Brown had taken 35 sec back on Group 1, Group 3 with 6 riders –including amongst them –the two very strong guest riders, had taken 1m 42s back on Group 1.
After two laps the gap between Group 1 & Group 2 was down to 2m 39s and a further 1m 58s to Group 3.
After three laps the gap between Group 1 & Group 2 was 1m 47s and a further 39s to Group 3 which was now fully into its stride and making increasing inroads.
The three groups were all together by the end of lap four with club riders Kevin Wilson, Dan Purdy and Kevin McAlinden now in pole position behind the two leading guest riders to contest the club win but with Brian Curran from group 2 and Martin Fitzpatrick from Group 1 holding on tight to the leading riders.So after an hour and eight minutes of racing the final club rider results were as follows:
1. Dan Purdy, 2. Kevin McAlinden, 3. Martin Fizpatrick, 4. Kevin Wilson, 5. Brian Curran, 6. Ewan Anderson, 7. Shenna McKiverigan, 8. Chris Burns, 9. Chris McCann, 10. James Gillespie, 11. Freda Brown, 12. Paul Anderson, 13. Gerard Byrnes, 14. Stephen Goen, 15. Jonathan Buller, 16. Leslie Creighton, 17. Neil McAllister, 18. John Lyons, 19. Gareth Rogers.
Note: Visitors Lindsay Watson and David Montgomery were the first two riders to cross the finish line.
DNF Paul McGuckin, Paul Hannigan.
Great performances were produced by Martin Fitzpatrick who finished in 3rd place and 16 year old Shenna McKiverigan in 7th – both having started in Group 1. Both these riders showed real tenacity in achieving their high finishes.
Once again all of the riders were very thankful for the efforts of the handicapper, timekeepers and corner marshals – without whom there would be no racing.
And finally, best wishes to Paul McGuckin for a speedy recovery from road rash!