Junior Sam Coleman claims B9 Energy Storage ToA

admin   March 16, 2024   Comments Off on Junior Sam Coleman claims B9 Energy Storage ToA


Emerging junior talent Sam Colman (riding for French club AS Villemur) fought through the deteriorating weather conditions to claim a memorable win at the top of Windmill Hill in today’s B9 Energy Storage Tour of Ards classic road race. Behind him Gareth O’Neil (Athlete Nutrition Coach HD) and Lindsay Watson (Power House Sport) completed the podium. The course had to be changed due to road conditions, but the shorter Lough Doo circuit was tough and split the bunch from the start. After 7 laps the finishers were spread over 20 minutes and less than half the field finished.

Here’s the full result. See the pictures below for the story of how the race unfolded.

Rider Club Time gap
1 Samuel Coleman AS Villemur  2:13:40
2 Gareth O’Neill Athlete Nutrition Coach HD
3 Lindsay Watson PowerHouse Sport
4 Dean Harvey Trinity/VC Glendale
5 George Peden Team PB Performance
6 Travis Harkness Spellman-Dublin Port @4:50
7 Curtis Neil Lyon Sprint Evolution Unplaced A2
8 Christopher Donald Spellman-Dublin Port
9 Odhran Dougan Team Caldwell Cycles @5:20
10 Chris Richardson Killinchy CC @6:35 Unplaced A3
11 Andrew Hedley AHC Racing
12 James Dane Dromore CC
13 Johnny McRoberts Banbridge CC
14 Carl Lowry Phoenix CC
15 Conor Dooney Foyle CC
16 Jamie Moss Ballymena Road Club
17 Aaron Parks Banbridge CC
18 Martin Colgan Armagh Down CC
19 Jonathan Taylor Carn Wheelers
20 Paul-Antoine Hagan Banbridge CC
21 John Buller Banbridge CC @9:37
22 Fearghal Kelly Phoenix CC @14:15
23 Matthew Pilgrim Velo Café Magasin
24 Courtney Walsh Phoenix CC
25 Jimjo McCullagh Carn Wheelers
26 Jonny Adams McConvey Cycles
27 Des Woods Inspired Cycling
28 Ronnie Smyth Dromara CC
29 Dolan Dunlop Harps CC
30 Tony O’Doherty Carn Wheelers
31 Johnny Webb North Down CC >20:00
32 Anthony Wylie Dromara CC
33 Mark Scott Phoenix CC

Thanks to everyone who made it such a great event –

  • Our sponsor B9 Energy Storage.
  • Race director Kieran McKenna, chief marshal Richard Williams and the committee who organised the event.
  • All our volunteer marshals, motor bike marshals, drivers and lead cars.
  • Ian Parfitt on the photo finish.
  • St John Ambulance.
  • All the riders – we had over 70 entries, although unfortunately the Ards riders were struck down with lurgy.
  • The commissaires – the experienced and charming double act of Laura Wilson and Jack Watson.
  • 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!

Here’s what all the fuss is about – the legendary Tommy Brown Memorial trophy.

Some riders were already lined out in the carpark..

Chief Comm Laura Wilson gets the riders assembled. It’s still dry at this stage..

Rolling out to the official start point

The bunch approaches the official rolling start point on the Cloghy Road

Some young pony enthusiasts on the course..

Luckily they generously agreed to change their route to avoid the bicycles.

Approaching Portaferry at the end of the first lap, five riders already had a gap of 25 seconds on the bunch. They were Gareth O’Neill, Dean Harvey, Sam Coleman, Lindsay Watson and George Peden

The chasing group were trying to get organised.

A second chase group was already 1 minute down, with a smaller third chasing group at a minute and a half.

By the Lough Doo road on the second lap the 5 leaders still had 25 seconds.

..but by the top of the Cloghy Road climb on the third lap the gap had grown to 50 seconds

The raining was starting to fall, and the second chasing group was now 3:30 back with the final group of 10 a further 5 minutes behind.

At the end of the third lap, the leaders were taking it cautiously on the damp corner into Demesne View.

A smaller chase group was beginning to form behind the 5 leaders

The marshals were doing a great job at the busy junctions in Portaferry

By Corrog Wood on lap 4 the five leaders had extended the gap to 1:20

Four riders (Travis Harkness, Curtis Neill, Christopher Donald and Odhran Doogan) had escaped from the chasing bunch, and had a gap of about 10 seconds (the bunch can be seen in the background)

As the rain got heavier, some riders may have started to think about climbing into a warm bus…

The five leaders seek out a safe line as they exit Lough Doo Road on the fifth lap

The four chasers had extended the gap to the bunch (above) to 40 seconds, but were now 1:40 behind the leaders

Leading Women Jemma Speers (third in line here) was still looking strong on lap five, but pulled out on the final lap when her group was caught by the leaders.

The leaders head towards Lough Doo Road for the sixth time

The five leaders were still working well on the sixth ascent of Lough Doo Road

The four chasers also looked good but the gap was now out to 2:30.

There were still attacks from the bunch but they were now a minute behind the four chasers.

The five leaders try to get some food down as they head out on their final lap

The four chasers head out for the final lap

The marshals were confident at the busy junctions near the finish


The finish was buzzing with activity as the photo finish, moto marshals, photographers, the commentator and the time keeper got ready for the climax.

Top cycling photographer Toby Watson tries to keep his lens dry…

Sam Coleman is well clear in the sprint for the line

Dean Harvey takes fourth

George Peden (already a legend in Ards CC after he broke Chris Boardman’s record at the Champion of Champions 25) takes 5th.

Travis Harkness pips Curtis Neil for sixth

Local hard man Chris Richardson took 10th and first unplaced A3.

Andrew Hedley sets an example for his coachees by taking 11th.

Johnny Webb looks happy its over

Club Secretary Stephen Beattie presents Sam Coleman with the Tommy Brown Memorial trophy and the winner’s jersey.

Thanks to Dany and the Belgian Project for keeping us informed and entertained

The winner of the 2024 B9 Energy Storage Tour of Ards – Sam Coleman (AS Villemur)