They say that cream always rises to the top and as predicted here a week ago Peter Kennedy of East Antrim Audi proved this to be true. In another excellent race promotion by Newry Wheelers in the John Haldane Memorial Road Race, Kennedy took the honours in the A race showing his sprinting capabilities against some tough opposition.
Newry Wheelers promoted three events in total this morning on the Newry to Warrenpoint dual carriageway, a well known sprinter's paradise and all the winners on the day showed just how sprinting should be done as they jockeyed for position in the final hundred metres.
The A race was a handicap affair with the short deficit from A3's back to A1' and 2's eaten up in the first five miles of racing leaving a large group of determined riders on the road. The pace in this race was averaging out at 26/27 miles an hour and it was hard to get away. Marcel Kock (Phoenix CC), Sean Featherstone (Newry Wheelers) and Michael Holland (Caldwell Cycles) did try to open up a gap as they headed for the Warrenpoint roundabout but to no avail.
There was hard riding from riders in the bunch such as Paul Wilkinson (West Down Wheelers), Gareth McKee (Banbridge CC) and William Larmour (East Antrim Audi) never allowed the break to develop.
Coming to the line the sprinters were in position but it was Kennedy who had the strength to go clear and take the win. He was followed in by an on-form Ryan Bankhead who is beginning to show some real form. Third spot was taken by Bryan McKinney of Duffin Transport. Karl Morgan of Phoenix took fourth with Joe barr making a welcome return to racing taking fifth. The final three places were taken by Tim Edgar (U/A), Philip Hoey (Kings Moss) nad Andrew Stewart of Orchard Shelbourne Motors.
The B race for A4 riders was an equally aggressive race with hard paced riding throughout. a group did manage to break free in this event and it included riders such as Cathal Hendron (Apollo CT), Daniel Purdy (Banbridge CC) and Joseph McCrory of Carn Wheelers. This group opened up a gap of thirty seconds and managed to hold it to the line.
Relative newcomer Ciaran McVeigh of Phoenix CC seized his opportunity with a 100 metres to go and put in one last thrust to zoom across the line a clear winner. A sprint in the remainder of the break- away group resulted in Newry's Jude Sands taking second ahead of Richard Murphy of Cuchullainn, James McCusker (Orchard), Noel Collins (Caldwell) and Purdy of Banbridge. Eddie Smyth of Northern Dave Kane and Carn's McCrory lifted the final placings for points.
Almost forty riders showed up for the combined Masters and women's events with the field split fifty/fifty. With many new women lining up in their first open race one would have expected the race to split early on but although a few were dropped the main bunch stayed together with an average speed of 24 mph.A number of riders who had donned race numbers yesterday as well were looking strong. These included Ian Blayney of North Down and Tommy Lamb of Phoenix CC in the men's race while Claire Gillespie of Ballymena Chain Reaction and Alison McMullan of North Down were all looking race ready. Both Blayney and Lamb are well known sprinters and punters were already betting on the outcomes should it come down to a sprint finish.
However although such a finish was on the cards they had forgotten about Jim Doyle of Foyle CC. Doyle who rode as an A3 last year is a particularly strong rider and also took part in the race around Ireland in 2012. Doyle took the spint well clear of Jimmy Flynn from Cuchulainn. Banbridge's Ian Cochrane got into third position ahead of Blayney who pushed Lamb into fifth position.
In the women's event it was Claire Gillespie of Ballymena, proving that back-to-back racing does no harm, who got the verdict by a whisker ahead of Eve McCrystal of Garda CC with Alison McMullan of North Down coming in to take third position.
Once again Newry Wheelers who are past masters are tunning events, pulled put all the stops. There were marshalls aplenty, more than sufficient lead and following cars. motorbike outriders and timekeepers. There was the usual fantastic spread of food after the event which we have come to expect from Newry Wheelers so many thanks to all who slaved away to have this ready for several hundred people.
Thanks also to the comms on the day Aaron Wallace and Brendan Kirk.
The local PSNI are to be congratulated for showing up and helping out. As usual they did a superb job and all the riders and their families are very appreciative. Many thanks.
(More Pics to be addedd later)
John Haldane Memorial Road Races
A Race – A1-A3 – 80km
- Peter Kennedy (Easr Natrim Audi)
- Ryan Bankhead (Ballymena Chain Reaction)
- Bryan McKinney (Dugffin Transport)
- Karl Morgan (Phoenix CC)
- Joe Barr (Powerhouse)
- Tim Edgar (U/A)
- Phillip Hoey (Kings Moss)
- Andrew Stewart (Orchard Shelbourne Motors)
B Race – A4– 65km
- Ciaran McVeigh (Phoenix CC)
- Jude Sands (Newry Wheelers)
- Richard Murtphy (Cuchullainn CC)
- James McCusker (Orchard Shelbourne Motors)
- Noel Collins (Caldwell Motors)
- Daniel Purdy (Banbridge CC)
- Eddie Smyth (Northern Dave Kane)
- Joseph McCrory (Carn Wheelers)
Time Square Masters League
- Jim Doyle (Foyle CC)
- Jimmy Flynn (Cuchullainn CC)
- Ian Cochrane (Banbridge CC)
- Ian Blayney (North Down CC)
- Tommy Lamb (Phoenix CC)
- Ewan Devanney (Strabane-Lifford)
- Martin Ruddy (Ballymena)
- Roger McGlynn (Errigal CC)
SportActive Womens’s Road Race League
- Claire Gillespie (Ballymena Chain Reaction )
- Eve McCrystal (Garda CC)
- Alison McMullan (North Down CC)
- Toni Armstrong (Apollo CT)
- Karen Walker (TVR)
- Joanne Kerr (TVR)
- Mary Hunter (Dromara CC)
- Mary Angela Taylor (Carn Wheelers)