The notorious Quarry Road circuit with its peaky hills were no problem for Ian Cochrane last week as he claimed his first ever club race victory.
It was the first round of the Mourne Observer Cup, a three race series. In this one, the riders complete four laps of the course totalling 25 miles after setting off in handicapped groups over a period of 10 minutes.
A total of 21 riders signed on including visitors Lindsay Watson (Plush MTB) and Cathal Clarke (Newry Wheelers) who were very welcome.
The race also provided an opportunity for young Matty Teggart to ease himself back in after a period of injury and his Bann club-mates were delighted to see him taking part. Only 14 riders managed to finish this tough event.
The headline of the evening, however, was a fighting first victory in club road racing for the indomitable Ian Cochrane. Ian started in a strong second group with Chris Burns, David Lavery, Brian Curran, Joe Penny and Masters 50+ team-mates Paul McGuckin and Chris McCann for company.
Sweeping up group one at the start of Lap Two, this posse quickly organised themselves to share the workload as the scratch men got down to business. Ian constantly kept the pressure on and it was apparent that a mighty effort from Gareth McKee, James Curry, Matty Teggart and colleagues in scratch would be required to overhaul the charging second group which was now leading the race with less than a lap to go.
On the final corner with two hundred yards to the line, Ian managed to come around the outside of both Paul McGuckin and Joe Penny to set himself up for a winning sprint to the line taking his first ever club race win in the process.
Joe Penny edged out Paul McGuckin for second place with Paul a tired third. Peter McBride rode strongly to complete his first road race in ninth place.
Almost immediately, the scratch group arrived but just a little too late.
This was a fine evening’s bike racing with time-keepers, marshalls and handicapper once again doing a great job.
2. Joe Penny
3. Paul McGuckin
4. Chris McCann
5. Brian Curran
6. Chris Burns
7. David Lavery
8. Neil McAlister
9. Peter McBride
10. Lindsay Watson (Visitor - Plush MTB)
11. Cathal Clarke (Visitor - Newry)
12. Matty Teggart
13. James Curry
14. Gareth McKee