John Buller powers to Tour of Ards victory

admin   March 18, 2023   Comments Off on John Buller powers to Tour of Ards victory

John Buller (Team PB Performance) receives the Tommy Brown trophy from Ards CC chairman Darren Colville.

This year’s Tour of Ards moved to the quieter roads of the lower Ards peninsula, but the racing was still fast and exciting. The opening 50 miles over three laps of the bigger Cloghey circuit were run off at nearly 30mph. Then, as the rain came down in earnest, the riders tackled two laps of the shorter Loughdoo circuit, before John Buller (Team PB Performance) powered up Windmill Hill to take a clear victory. Behind him, Lyndsay Watson (Powerhouse Sport) got the better of Conn McDunphy (Lucan RC) for third. Stuart Millar looked increasing strong as the race progressed and came through to take 10th overall and first Ards CC rider.

Name Club Time
1 John Buller Team PB Performance 2:28:48
2 Lindsay Watson Powerhouse Sport
3 Conn McDunphy Lucan RC
4 Gareth O’Neill Team PB Performance
5 Oisin Ferrity Caldwell Cycles
6 Darnell Moore Caldwell Cycles
7 Rory Devlin Unattached Ulster
8 Nathan Mullan Velo Café Magasin
9 Daniel Scott Inspired
10 Stuart Millar Ards CC
Unplaced Jun Daniel Scott Inspired
Unplaced A3 Daniel Todd Dromore CC
Unplaced A2 Rory Devlin Unattached Ulster
Unplaced Women Jemma Speers North Down CC

Thanks to everyone who made it such a great event –

  • Our sponsors – Brownfield Bike Repair and Restoration and Ards and North Down Borough Council.
  • Race director Dean Bradley and the committee who organised the event.
  • All our volunteer marshals, motor bike marshals, drivers and lead cars.
  • St John Ambulance.
  • All the riders – we had a full field of 60 entries (with 3 previous winners in the top 6)
  • The commissaires – cool, calm and collected.
  • Tracey for catering.
  • The Belgian Project for media services.
  • Portaferry GAA club, for letting us use their hall.

Here’s the story of the race in pictures. Thank you all! See you at another Ards CC event soon!

Warming up at the start

The commissaire briefs the riders

The official cars were all well turned out. Here’s Lindsay in lead car 1.

Michael Hamilton was piloting top cycling photographer Toby Watson. See his pictures on

The riders roll out to the official start, led by last year’s winner Darnell Moore (Caldwell Cycles)

Stuart Millar, Ian Carson and Ben Healey were representing Ards CC

Our marshals looked and acted professionally. Excellent work! Here, a break of 8 riders is starting to get established at Kircubbin on the first lap, and Toby has stopped to get some action shots.

The bunch is chasing, but they are already 20 seconds behind

By Cloghey on lap 2, the 8 rider break are working well together and have extended their lead to 40 seconds.

In the break are Conor McDunphy (Lucan RC), Peter Wakely (Unattached Ulster), Gareth O’Neill (Team PB Performance), Oisin Ferrity (Team Caldwell Cycles), Lindsay Watson (Powerhouse Sport), Darnell Moore (Team Caldwell Cycles), John Buller (Team PB Performance) and Peter McLean (Velo Cafe Magasin).

There are lots of flurries off the front of the bunch, but the break looks safe

The break holds their advantage at the Saltwater Brig on the third lap

The bunch are still riding hard, but not making any inroads..

Early on the third lap Conn McDunphy applies the pressure and the break starts to split

John Buller and Lindsay Watson manage to claw back on

But Peter McLean is starting to lose touch..

And Peter Wakely is dropped.

And the bunch are now more than 2:30 back

By Corrog Wood near the end of lap 3 the break is down to 6 riders. The two Peters are gone, but the others are looking strong. Great to see our club sponsor and last year’s Tour of Ards sponsor Simon Brien Residential doing good business here!

Peter McLean is hanging on, but the headlights of the bunch are looming in the background

Peter McLean is hanging on, but the headlights of the bunch are looming in the background.

The bunch haven’t given up, but are now over 4 minutes down. The first 50 miles has been covered in just over one hour and 40 minutes.

Riders still have energy to attack as the rain starts to come down on the first lap of the finishing circuit. Here, Jonathan Taylor (Carn Wheelers) has a dig.

There are more attacks in the break as well as they head out on to their final lap

With one lap to go, Peter McLean is still holding off the bunch.

Stewart Millar is looking increasingly strong at the front of the bunch as the rain falls harder…

Officials and spectators try to find shelter as they wait for the finish in the lashing rain. The popular Portaferry ferry is barely visible in the background. Reports come in that the leading group has split into 4 leaders and 2 chasers..

In the charge up Windmill Hill, John Buller powers clear and has time to raise his arms in a victory salute

Lindsay Watson fights through the gloom to take second from Conn McDunphy.

Gareth O’Neill takes fourth.

Thirty second later, Irish Junior champion and winner of the A3/Jun race last year, Oisin Ferrity takes fifth.

..with team mate and last year’s A1/2 winner Darnell Moore rounding out the top 6.

Stuart Millar (in the background) takes 4th in the bunch sprint, for 10th overall and first Ards CC rider.

Ian Carson finished safely in the bunch

Along with a damp looking Ben Healey

But everyone’s soon smiling again!

From left, Conn McDunphy (past winner), Darnell Moore (past winner), Oisin Ferrity (future winner!??) and (in the back ground, Lindsay Watson (past winner)

Top women Jemma Speers (North Down CC) rode a confident, strong race to finish in the bunch.

Even Kirk Sloan looks happy, in spite of wearing a pink jersey this year :-)

First unplaced junior Daniel Scott (Inspired) receives his prize.

All our prize winners. Congratulations! Thanks to everyone for making it another great Tour of Ards today, and we hope to see you all at another Ards CC event soon.