What a week it has been for West Down Wheelers Cycling Club as Darren Lynass won the Aussie Pursuit Series before the Wheelers team went off to race in Newry at the weekend.
On Tuesday night, they held the last round of their Australian Pursuit Series. Starting on the Rathfriland Road, travelling via Rathfriland Hill, Ballyroney, Moneyslane and finishing at Ballydown.
The 22 riders were were split into two groups seperated by seven minutes as there were 13 in the big scratch group. And what another cracker race it was.
Nothing changed in any of the groups until they hit the sting in the tail on Rathfriland Hill. The front group blew to bits leaving five or six riders to hold off the big fast flying scratch group.
Hold them off they did, at least until they got to Balievey, where it all came togather, heading again for a big bunch sprint. What a sprint it was and it was the Wheelers own Darren ‘Muscles’ Lynass who won the Aussie Pursuit series outright with John and Mark making up the first three on the night.
newry three day stage race
After that, attention turned to the weekend with the Newry Three Day Stage Race.
The Wheelers were feeling confident as their team of Paul Wilkinson, Darren Lynass and Ronnie Smyth were all in good shape.
The first stage on Friday night consisted of three laps up and down the carriageway with a massive hill thrown in. With Mark Downey and Matty Teggart of the Nicholas Roach Development team holding a slight lead for the last part of the race, Lynass took off after them with a tremendous burst of speed with roughly a mile to go.
Instead of pushing on past them, he sat with them and the big group swept them up so all three finished safely in the bunch.
On Saturday’s stage two, the riders had to endure three laps of the Hilltown Rathfriland circuit, then up by Santa’s cottage down to Rostrevor, up the big climb and down to the finish line at Hilltown.
There were a few attacks throughout the stage but when Montgomery made his move, he wasn’t caught. On the final part of the climb, Paul Wilkinson made his move to take second place with Darren and Ronnie finishing well in the group.
Going into the final stage, it was all to play for with Paul second overall on GCC and the Wheelers lying third in the team placings.
On stage three in very wet difficult conditions, they had the longest of them all, 74 miles of tough racing starting in Rathfriland via Gilford, Banbridge, Castlewellan, Rathfriland, Mayobridge and finishing back in Newry.
Bad luck hit Darren as he punctured and had to chase on his own to get back on. However, Paul held out to finish in top ten and that left him fourth overall on GCC with Ronnie again finishing well in the bunch.
A big well done to the three of them especially Wilkie finishing this very tough race. They were well supported with Clive doing Service car on Friday and Saturday and Matt on Sunday.
Also thanks to the Bike Shak supplying the energy drinks, gels and protein, to all the Wheelers who came out to support the racers and the club for sponsoring them.
This week’s race is a 25 mile TT on the Castlewellan Road for the Steven Savage Memorial.
Anyone wishing to join the Wheelers, get in touch.