Road race season gets underway at Annaclone
BANBRIDGE CC got their club road race season under way at the popular Annaclone circuit, competing for the first round of the Gilchrist Cup last Wednesday evening. The riders and volunteers were greeted with a bright but bitterly cold evening.
A healthy turnout of 36 riders signed on, varying from new comers to experienced internationals. Handicapping the first road race of the season is always a tricky affair for the organisers and thanks must go out to those who helped out with the organisation both in the run up to and on the night of the race.
The first group on the road consisted of James Curry and Chris Burns, following these two riders with a 3 minute handicap was Paul Anderson, Jamie Hodgett, Jonathan Buller, Michael Harkin, Freda Brown, Ronnie Massey and Willie Weir.
A further two minutes adrift were Mark Downey, Paul McGuck, Scott Daly, John Runcimam, Aaron Wallace, William Mulligan, Stephen O’Neill, Mark Mulligan and Russell White.
The fourth group on the road, with a further two minute handicap was made up of Charlie McConville, Adrian Finnigan, Kevin McAlinden, Michael Curran, Daniel Purdy, Stevie O’Hagan, Adrian Peake and Brian Curran.
Finally, scratch started with an additional two minutes handicap, leaving them with a total of nine minutes from the front of the race. Scratch consisted of Simon Curry, Terry Mackin and Matthew Adair.
Many of the rider have already been showing some fine performances in both open road races and the club time trials, and for may it was also a time to test the racing legs after some extended training blocks in the warm weather cycling haven that is Majorca.
With the front two groups on the road splintering early on and groups three and four merging on the road towards the end of the second lap of three, scratch were in for a hard time if they wanted a sniff at glory.
On the final lap it was apparent that the winner would be coming from the fast moving merged group, consisting of the strongest riders from groups three and four. Aggressive riding saw several attempts to break clear of the bunch but the consistent riding from the bunch ensured a strung out bunch sprint, spear headed by Banbridge CC newcomer Russell White who crossed the line first pipping Mark Downey in the final meters. William Mulligan led the remainder of the bunch home.