Geoff wins sprint finish in Australian Pursuit Series

West Down Wheelers riders line up for the race.
West Down Wheelers riders line up for the race.
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Last Tuesday night West Down Wheelers held another round of their Australian Pursuit Series.

This is the longest of the four starting at Ballydown going to Castlewellan and back a total of 30 miles.

Riders move off at the road race at Donacloney last Tuesday night.

Riders move off at the road race at Donacloney last Tuesday night.

This is for the John Maxwell Memorial Cup and it is very popular with visiting riders. There were riders from Banbridge CC, TVR CC, Dromara CC, and WDW, and what a superb race it was.

Everyone agreed it was possibly the best race for a while and that’s saying something, as all the races this year have been tough, fast, and well supported.

The first two were Geoff Tate and the only woman Dorothy Cantly. Dorothy deserves a lot of praise and to take this on takes guts. She never backs out of anything. 15 minutes later, off went the A4s with a few A3s mixed in and a further four minutes went the scratch riders.

This was always going to be a close call as the big A4 group, for the first time this year, rode the way they should: two lines and everyone doing the same, but the scratch who are always well drilled were flying to the turn with an average of 27 mph.

The big A4 group lost four or five riders but this didn’t slow them up as on the way back they drove it on. At the Corbett, the scratch were just 20 seconds behind the A4s but Geoff Tate was still leading at this stage.

The A4s made a gallant last ditch attempt to hold off scratch but approximately 300 yds to the finish, scratch caught them, And it went mad here with a massive sprint for the line, But Geoff held out to take the win with Dromara’s Nathan Mullen taking the group sprint from WDW’s Paul Wilkinson, Jonny Kernaghan and Mark Alexander.

This was as good as you will get, far harder than an A4 race on a Saturday.

The A4s rode very hard to make it a race , but you can’t take it away from the 8 scratch riders never giving up the chase . Next week’s race is another tough one, 5 laps of the Donaghcloney course, and the week after we have another Australian Pursuit starting on the Rathfriland Road.

West Down Wheelers are holding a 10 mile TT on the Warrepoint Road this Thursday night. Sign on from 6pm first rider off at 7pm.Anyone who can help let them know.