Five Banbridge CC riders travelled to Bishops Court on Saturday to take part in the A4 race promoted by Dromara CC.
For Peter McBride, Jonathan Lyons and Martin Fitzpatrick, this was their debut ride in the A4 open race category, and what a baptism of fire it proved to be. Kevin Wilson and David Lavery completed the Banbridge CC team.
David and Kevin, with plenty of race experience between them, had plenty of tips and advice for the debutants.
As the five Banbridge riders positioned themselves in pole position along with another 75 riders from various clubs the flag was waved and the race started.
The Banbridge riders started very well, all remaining within the top ten of the peloton for the first five laps of 15. The wind was proving to be the biggest foe on the day. Riders using deep rimmed wheels were finding it difficult to hold their racing lines, and when two such riders got blew across the track forcing David Lavery off into the grass his race was over. The 20mph winds had even the most experienced riders under pressure, there just seemed no shelter from it but the average lap speed was still high so everyone was working hard.
McBride and Lyons along with another 30 riders found the wind too strong and knew that this constant battle was one they weren’t wining and retired from the race with plenty more experience than they started it with.
Martin Fitzpatrick who was having a brilliant debut ride, and Kevin Wilson who had positioned himself nicely in the front 5 riders of the peloton knew it was up to them to chase for success. Lap after lap in these windy conditions something had to give as riders had been dropping of the back in droves. With only about 30 left in the race on lap 9 Marty called it a day, but he can leave with his head held high in a what was an fantastic debut.
This left only one wolf from the pack but he was hungry for that win. Along with another nine riders, a breakaway formed on the 13th lap which then split again with Kevin sitting near the front it came down to a bunch sprint.
It was a very close call with Kevin coming away with a super fourth in a very tight sprint. Dale Walker (Phoenix CC) clinched the victory followed by Barry Tinnelly (Newry Wheelers) and Nigel Watt (Bann Wheelers) completing the top three.
Meanwhile, Dromore’s Paul Wilkinson claimed third in the A2/A3 race while Dromara CC’s Matthew Gibson was third in the Under 16 race.