WITH the Twelfth of July parades taking place on a Thursday this year, it was decided that Dromara CC would hold a non-league road race on the Old Belfast Road/Glassdrumman Road circuit.
The format for the race was a ‘fun’ - the scratch group, or in simple terms the fast boys, would marshal the corners while the other groups raced as usual so that everyone would be given a chance to have a go at getting a win.
Primes and a King of the Hill prize was also on offer; prizes were given to the first rider over the line on laps two and five, with the King of the Hill prize going to the first person over the hill at the back of the circuit on lap seven.
With the day’s weather not giving the riders an excuse not to ride 27 hardy souls gathered along the Old Belfast Road straight while the heavens opened. Thankfully the rain stopped and the sun made an appearance which brightened up the riders’ spirits.
The circuit being used is approximately 2.5 mile in length and is fairly flat with a short but steep climb at the back of the circuit with a short drag after it and a fast descent flowing into the last corner which prepared the riders for a fast sprint finish at the end.
Race secretary Gavin Magowan and Martin Grimley sorted the riders into four groups according to ability and group one got started shortly after 7pm. Group two, which contained club chairman Peter Bryson and Strava/Specialized Classic Climbing Challenge finisher Marty McAnulty, got underway three minutes after group one. Group three started five-and-a-half minutes after group one, and group four six minutes after.
The groups stayed spread out for the first few laps until group four caught group three, with the two groups merging to work to catch the remaining groups. Unfortunately the race was taking its toll on a few riders which lead to withdrawls, meaning that the peloton was lower in numbers for the finish.
Group one split at the half way stage which left Ted McKibben to ride the remaining laps on his own, and his determination paid off as he crossed the line as the winner, with the remaining riders coming in some 25 seconds behind him.
The sprint for second place was won by Peter Bryson and third place was taken by Marty McAnulty. Johnathan McBride and John Shanks completed the top five.
After the race was finished the prize giving took place, and first prizes given out were for the winners of the primes and the King of the Hill. Winner of the prime on lap two was Brendan Doyle, with race winner Ted McKibben taking the lap five prime. Ted also took the King of the Hill prize, showing that he will now be moved up in the groups!
Most aggressive rider was awarded to Barry Kellett after he rode away from his bunch during the race.
Prizes for the top three were given out with the winner receiving a bottle of champagne kindly donated by Chris Magowan, and second and third also received prizes.
Well done to all who competed in the race, it wasn’t easy going but everyone rode excellent.
Big thanks must go to organiser Gavin Magowan for putting on an excellent night, and he also sorted out sponsors for the prizes at the end. Also to Aaron McGrady and Martin Grimley for timekeeping, and to the marshals who kept the race flowing throughout the night.
A big thank-you goes to the sponsors for supplying the prizes: Slane Cycles, Cycle Zone and Chain Reaction Cycles.
Last but not least thank you to the riders who turned up to make it a good night’s racing.
The next round of the club league is this Thursday night, a 16/25 mile time trial on the Banbridge road. Start is at the bottom of the Horse shoe bend outside Castlewellan with sign on at 6:30pm.
The club hopes to see a good turnout on the night.
For more information see the club’s website, www.dromaracc.co.uk.