Saturday’s John Beggs Memorial road race promoted by Banbridge CC has a previous winners list that any Irish cyclist would be proud to join and going by the start list for the 2015 edition it will be a worthy winner who etches their name on the famous trophy.
As the penultimate round of the Cycling Ireland National Road Series the event was always going to attract talent but this one is shaping up to be a classic in the making. Taking on the hills of Ballykeel and Drumlough of the traditional Beggs course will be recently crowned Irish Elite Road Race Champion Damian Shaw and his team ASEA teammate Bryan McCrystal who is the current leader of the National Road Series; they will be joined by Dromore native Roger Aiken who is already a 4 time winner of the event and recent winner of the Dan O’Donavon Memorial in Fermoy, Cork Chris Reilly.
Hoping to challenge them will be the current man in form and recent winner of the Noel Teggart Memorial and Irish Criterium Championships Mark Dowling of DID Dunboyne who returns from International duty in France . UCD duo Eoin Morton and Ian Richardson will be in the mix if their performances from the Ras and Tour of Ulster are anything to go by. David Watson of North Down will hope his early season form will make a return and a recent win at the Foyle GP suggests that’s not too far off. Aqua Blue’s Sean McKenna who was undoubtedly the man of the Irish early season with multiple wins and a call up to the Elite Irish squad and has a very good track record of performances in Banbridge events would dearly love another win. Making a return to Irish shores is Team 3M professional Connor McConvey who always performs well in the hills and the Dromore circuit could play to his advantage there. Local man Lindsay Watson has shown great form of late and had an impressive 2nd place in Banbridge at the Noel Teggart Memorial and if that form is still there could be the surprise package.
Racing will commence at 12 noon from the Ballynahinch Rd, Dromore. The action won’t be far off with the first KOH points awarded on the 2nd of the 9 mile circuit atop Ballykeel Hill. The riders will leave the circuit after 7 laps and finish once again on the Ballynahinch Rd on the outskirts of Dromore town where they are expected between approximately 14:45 – 15:15. Don’t miss it!