Last night will go down in Ards CC history as one of our great events – big fields, an enthusiastic crowd, sporty motor cars, and an Ards CC winner. Excellent!
First up was the crowd’s favourite – the novice event. The race was run as a short handicap, with the under 6s getting a 30 second start on the under 8s, and a further 30s to the older kids. It was great to see the stars of the future in action. One of last year’s heroes, Bradley Kinning, had graduated from a balance bike to pedals this year. Young Master Kane was also looking good in the front group. However, by the second lap the scratch riders had made it through to the front, and it was Adam Raffery who took the win from Clark Logan and Anya Docherty.
Next was the Under 12 race, and 17 young hopefuls took to the line for 4 laps of the one kilometre circuit. Four riders escaped early on and it was Odhran Doogan (Errigal) who took the win, making the long trip from Donegal worthwhile. Second was Rowan Montgomery (BCC), and third was Darren Rafferty (Island Wheelers)
The Under 14 and Under 16 races were combined, with the U14 riders getting a 30 second handicap. The top 3 U14 riders worked well together, whereas a larger group of U16 riders played a more tactical game and never caught them. After 8 laps, Shay Donley (Ballymoney) took the win (in spite of a late puncture) from Ciaran Cahoon (Caln Eireann) and Nathan Keown (North Down). The top 5 riders in the U16 group finished close behind with Liam Wilson (Derrymore) taking the sprint from Xeno Young (Unattached) and Niall Lawrence (Bann Valley).
Best race for many was the A4 senior event. Ards CC riders dominated, with Paul McMinn winning from Barry Mitchell, and Geoff Brennan taking 4th and Richard Topping 6th. The only other riders to get a look in were Stephen Watty (North Down) in 3rd, and Jeffrey Baines (Castlereagh) in 5th. Hopefully this fantastic show of strength will build confidence, and some of the team will graduate to the higher categories soon!
First Junior was Ben Watson (North Down).
Final race of the night was the Senior *1,2,3 event. This was a counting race for the Seat Super 7 Cycling Series so lots of top riders were present. There was action from the start, with Jake Gray (Nicholas Roche development squad) taking the first prime. Shortly after, Gary Cranston (East Antrim) and Glen Kinning (Kinning Cycles) escaped, and worked well together to lap the field (something that I don’t think has happened since Lennie Kirk did it solo in the early ’80s!) In the sprint, Gary took the win from Glen, with Jake third.
|1||Gary Cranston||East Antrim|
|2||Glen Kining||Kining Cycles|
|3||Jake Gray||Nicholas Roche|
|6||Brendan Docherty||VC Glendale|
|7||James Ambrose||North Down|
First 2nd cat was Gary Donaldson (Omagh) and first 3rd cat was Ambrose.
As always, the event would have been impossible without the generous help and support of many people. Here’s a list – apologies if I’ve missed anyone.
- The club committee, for organising a great night’s racing.
- The Police, for once again closing the roads. It makes it super special!
- Our very generous sponsors, including Seat, Chain Reaction Cycles and See.sense
- All the marshals, judges, time keepers, sign-on, gear checkers, etc. You were all great ambassadors for the club!
- St John Ambulance
- The Commissaires.
- The Council for the barriers and use of the Town Hall.
- Our photographers (Richard Hanna, David McVeigh and lots of others – check out our Facebook pages for more examples of their work!)