Four riders started the final club road race tonight with a realistic chance of taking the Road Race Handicap Cup. Marc Allen was leading on 20 points, and riding high after his dominant win at the Madigan GP on Saturday. Neil McKenna and Stuart Millar were tied on second at 17 points, which U15 Karl Rockett just two points further back.
The race was moved from the Ballygowan circuit to Orlock due to gravel on the roads, and the cooling breeze of the sea was a welcome relief after the recent warm conditions. The middle group looked strong on paper, so the handicappers decide to give the limit group a start of 7 minutes, with scratch a further 2 minutes back.
Jon McCreedy (North Down CC) and Amelia Tyler (McConvey Cycles) attached from the start and had build up a lead of over a minute on the remnants of the limit group by the end of the first of 5 laps. The middle group only gained 40 seconds in that first lap, and the handicap was starting to look generous. But then scratch came through only a further minute behind, and the race was on.
By the end of the second lap, scratch had caught the middle group, and it was clear that the middle group had not been riding consistently hard. Now there was one big group charging after the two leaders. Could they hold on?
Starting the last lap, they still had one minute and 40 seconds. It was going to be very close. Coming into the finish, they were still clear, but the chasers were strung out trying to close it down. Jon managed to take the win by 10 metres, with Amelia somehow also holding on to take second by less than half a wheel from Marc.
After studying the photos, the judges decided that Stuart Millar had just pipped Neil McKenna for fourth, and second Ards rider. Glen Kinning rounded out the top six.
|1||Jon McCreedy||North Down CC|
|2||Amelia Tyler||McConvey Cycles|
|3||Marc Allen||Ards CC|
|4||Stuart Millar||Ards CC|
|5||Neil McKenna||Ards CC|
|6||Glenn Kinning||Kinning Cycles CC|
Simon Riding took fourth Ards, just ahead of Karl Rockett who took fifth against strong senior competition. We wish him and Jamie well at the Youth National Road Championships in Armagh this weekend. Aaron Fegan took sixth Ards.
In the Road Race Trophy, Marc took a well deserved win, with Stuart and Neil close behind. (Note – only a riders best 4 scores count.)
Road Race Trophy – Final standings
Thanks to all the marshals, timekeepers and judges. And a special thanks to the handicappers. It was a real cliff hanger finish!
There are only a couple of club races left this year, but don’t forget we also have our Strangford sportive on Sunday 11th September – more details shortly.