Report by Neil McAlister
The first individual TT of the Banbridge CC club racing season was on the Rathfriland road, on a glorious sunny Wednesday evening. With 31 riders signed on for the rolling course it was time to see who’s winter training would start to pay off. There were various new TT bikes out on show, and so there was pressure to hit a few PB’S on the popular course.
Paul Anderson was off first and set sail into the sun, keeping it steady with a 32:06. Paul Hannigan was off next and just pipping him with a 31:43 – I’m sure that time will tumble as the season goes on and Paul get to grips with his new Bianchi. Dean Cairns was on his TT debut and set a great first time of 31:38, Banbridge CC’s fastest Lady Sara Glover managed to just beat that with 31:28.
Paul McGuckin was the first of the fast men off and set a solid time of 27:35. Kevin McAlinden was the out of the block next. With Kevin has apparently been taking it easy this year but still made it look easy, setting the early mark of 25:27. The 2-up team of Shepard and Fitzsimmons were out on their own tonight, and it was one of close rivalry between the team mates to see who had the upper hand; both men achieved personal records but it was Jon Shephard who had it in him to beat Stevie by a slender 35 seconds. His weight loss program over the winter is really paying off now.
Brian Hannon was feeling energetic and mounted his fixed wheel for the TT to see how fast those legs could spin; the answer was fast, recording 26:32 on the single gear. Marty Fitzpatrick was also out on his newly purchased TT bike, the pressure was on him to see how much damage he could do to his time from last year. Marty smashed over 3 minutes off his PB on the course with a 25:37. He will only get faster as the year goes on. Mark Stewart was next home, and boy that man was shifting; 24:40, setting the fastest time.
Peter McBride had other ideas however, as he was also out to beat his 2-up team mate. He did just that, setting a new PB of 24:37 – that’s an average speed of 24mph. With only Gareth McKee and John Buller left to come in, all eyes were on them to see who might have the legs to power home with a new fastest time. John Buller, still a junior rider I might add, put in a time stopper of an effort recording 24:02, but it was Gareth who smashed the 24 minute mark with a brilliant 23:41 on an ordinary road bike. There definitely nothing ordinary about the talent this man has.
Big thanks to Toni, Lydia and Ivor for their time keeping duties – at least we had glorious sun shine for the team to stand in this week! What can I say about team Towell? His marshalling team do a first class job every week. It’s not an easy job turning 31 riders, sending them back safely into Banbridge. Without this team of great people the riders wouldn’t be out.