Paul and Ian master the North West for Banbridge CC

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Once again the road racing action focussed on the west of the province last weekend, committing Banbridge riders to long car journeys prior to competing.

Ian Cochrane and Paul McGuckin represented Banbridge CC in the Masters 50+ event at the “Danny Boy” races promoted by Roe Valley CC, Paul picking up his second victory in two weeks.

The 25 mile race comprised of two laps of an undulating course which included a long uphill drag to the finish line in Feeny village just outside Dungiven. Ian managed to force an initial split in the race with an injection of pace halfway round the first lap as the terrain rose out of Park village. By the time the rise to Feeny had been crested for the first time, Ian and Paul had managed to get into a break of six riders that proceeded to increase their lead by the mile.

With four miles to the finish, Ian took a huge turn at the front with Paul neatly sheltered in his wheel and three other riders hanging on. The high pace discouraged any attacks and all five riders stayed together to the base of the final three quarter mile climb to the line.

As expected, Paul waited until the final 150 metres before sprinting unopposed to the line for his second win in two weeks. Ian took a great fourth place considering the effort he had expended to ensure a Banbridge win, a point quickly acknowledged by a grateful team-mate at the finish.

The Ladies race saw Banbridge CC’s rising young star Shenna McKiverigan compete with the senior ladies for the second time this season – once again on “junior gearing” which makes the going hard in a fast race. However, Shenna built on her recent outing at Newry where she finished in the main group, to claim an impressive fourth place in the Ladies race.

Dan Purdy rode the A3 race and just lost touch with the leaders on the final climb of the last of four laps – a battling effort indeed on a very testing course.

Two relatively new campaigners David Lavery and Andy Beattie represented Banbridge CC in the A4 race – David in his second open race and Andy in his debut. Both performed admirably and are benefitting from the experience to be gained in these early season races.

Ian on the Podium

Not so fresh from his efforts in Dungiven, Ian made the long journey to Burt in Co Donegal on the following day - St Patricks day, to represent Banbridge CC in the Masters 50+ event. This was the final race in the annual “Potato Races” meeting jointly promoted by North Pole and Four Masters Cycling Clubs.

Despite his heroics at Dungiven less than 24 hours earlier, Ian managed to grab a worthy third and his first podium place of the season, while in the process helping to overtake the A4 race that had started five minutes earlier. All in all, it was a productive weekend.