Spires CC had everything in place today for what should have been a great day's racing. With barriers at the finish line, lots of marshalls, motorbike outriders, lead cars, an ambulance and a first aid car, the club had left nothing to chance for their first ever open race promotion.
There was a full field for both the A race for A1-A3 riders and the B event for A4 riders.
The Masters and Women event was combined today and there twenty five riders lined up. Unfortunately the roads were very 'greasy' with unlderying salt and although the riders were warned at the start of each race it did not prevent a few minor spills in both the A and B events. Keith Millar of North Down ended up with a broken collar bone and required hospital attention.
Unfortunately in the closing stages of the Masters/Women's race another accident occurred which caused a blockage on the road. In the interests of safety Spires CC in discussion with the commissaires decided to stop the A and B races and turn the riders back to the headquarters avoiding the scene of the crash. Michael Crowe of North Down suffered a dislocated shoulder and a bruised lung in this incident.
In the end only the Master's and Women's race results stood which was some consolation for the accident struck North Down as top positions in both the Masters and Women's were taken by North Down. Janine McNally won outright beating club mate Paul Swenarton in the sprint. Third place was taken by Ballymena's Claire Gillespie with Bann Valley's Gerry McCullough taking fourth overall and second in the Masters. Brendan McAllister of Glens CC took third in the Masters.
Ted McKibbin from Dromara was taken to Antrim hostpital and then transferred to the Royal Victoria. Unfortunately he has been told that he has been paralysed from the waist down. Martin Grimley secretary of Dromara CC managed to get in to see Ted and had this to say,
"I got to see Ted this evening in the hospital. He was in good spirits considering. For those of you who know Ted well you will know his fighter attitude. He did thank those who helped him today. I relayed the well wishes I have received to pass onto him. We should spare a thought for the motorist who was involved."
Cycling Ulster is deeply saddened by this news this evening and wish Ted the very best. Our thoughts are with him and his family.
Many thanks to Spires CCC for their professional approach to the organisation of the race and the way in which they handled the unfortunate incidents. Thanks also to the Commissaires, Dany Blondeel and Aidan Higgins.
Despite the slightly dampened enthusiasm at end of the race Spires CC still provided lashings of hot soup, sandwiches and sweet stuff.
We also would like to pay tribute to the members of the emergency services the PSNI and ambulance crew who attended the accident scene.
Time Square Jewellers Masters League
- Paul Swenarton (North Down)
- Gerry McCullough (Bann Valley)
- Brendan McAllister (Glens CC)
- Mickey Tolan (Phoenix CC)
- Jon Lundy (Phoenix CC)
- Tommy Lamb (Phoenix CC)
- Dermot Hughes (Phoenix CC)
SportActive Women's Road Race League
- Janine McNally (North Down)
- Claire Gillespie (Ballymena Chain Reaction)
- Mary Angela Taylor (Carn Wheelers)
- Ann Perrott (North Down)
Report and Pics Marian Lamb