It was encouraging to see 20 riders sign on for the final club road race of the season on the Ballygowan circuit this evening. At stake was the club road race trophy, with just one point separating Marc Allen and Ricky Topping, and Barry Mitchell also still in contention. All three signed on!
The limit group was supervets Tom Henry (North Down) and Brian Wylie (Castlereagh), who first raced together as schoolboys with East Tyrone in the early ’70s. They were given a 4 minute start over the A4 group, with a strong A3 group a further 3 minutes back. Marc and Ricky both gamely signed on for scratch, and they were a challenging two and a half minutes behind the A3s.
By half distance, Brian still had a two minute advantage, but the A3s had closed to within 30 seconds of the A4s. The scratch group were faring less well, and had only closed by a minute on the A3s. Unfortunately Ricky punctured on the third lap, and scratch split as they tried to close the gap to the riders in front.
At the finish, riders from the A3 group hung on to fight it out for the win. In the sprint for the line, Gareth Conn (Unattached) took a narrow victory from Barry Greer (Kinning), with Darren Toombs (Northern) third and Paul McArthur fourth. Scratch rider Nathan Keown (North Down), fresh from Irish international duty at the Junior Tour and the European Championships came through to take fifth about 30 seconds later, getting the better of Andrew Chivers (Ciclotel).
In the battle for Ards CC points, Marc came through from scratch to take the 10 points, from Andrew Jess and Barry Mitchell. And with Ricky not finishing, that was enough to give Marc a well deserved win in the road road trophy.
|Name||7/5 Bal||28/5 Car||16/7 Orl||30/7 Car||13/8 Bal||Total|
Thanks as always to the marshals and timekeepers for another well run race.