While the domestic racing season may have taken a short mid-season break it’s hard to imagine Banbridge CC’s members being much more busy on the National and International stage.
Following a successful trip to the recent World Championships in the Czech Republic, both Gareth McKee and James Curry were highly motivated for the Irish National Championships on Sunday in Dundalk. Gareth, the reigning Irish Elite Champion, started the event as firm favourite and lived up to expectations by taking the lead from the start. In the combined Elite/Under 23 race James Curry stayed close to teammate McKee’s wheel and the Banbridge duo quickly gained a healthy advantage over the rest of the field. McKee turned up the pace on the final lap to cross the line solo and claim his second Irish Elite MTB XC title in as many years. Impressively, James Curry finished 2nd in the race which gave him the Under 23 title and silver in the Elite rankings.
John Buller was also in great form in the Junior race, sprinting for the silver medal at the finish. Unfortunately he had some misfortune with his foot coming loose in his pedal during the sprint and he had to be satisfied with a still impressive bronze in his first year in the category.
Mark Downey who has had a remarkable string of results lately was selected for the Irish Under 23 team at the European Track Championships alongside fellow Banbridge CC member Shenna McKiverigan who was competing in the Junior team. Downey would be riding the Individual Pursuit, the Points Race and the Madison events while McKiverigan would compete in the Individual Sprint and Scratch Race.
Downey was in action on day 1 of the Championships with the Individual Pursuit and despite riding a larger gear than what he would be used to still managed an 17th place. Two days later Downey put in what must be considered the performance of his life to date in the points race. Against stiff opposition, including the reigning World and European Champions Mark finished a fantastic 2nd place to claim the silver medal, being bettered only by the World Champion. The result reflects the pedigree of the Dromore man, and it was without doubt the performance of the week for the Irish team with everyone in the camp celebrating the silver medal.
Shenna had a difficult start to the Championships with a crash interrupting her initial event, however she dusted herself down and got on with the task at hand and recorded an excellent 6th place in the sprint and 9th place in the scratch race. It was a brave performance by the young Gilford lady who will now travel to Switzerland for the World Junior Track Championships.
Back on the road Matthew Teggart is continuing to impress at the highest level in France and has recorded another top ten, this time in the Tour Cotê D’Or, an Elite National stage race which attracts the top French riders. Given he was also on teamwork duty for his team mate who was 2nd overall only adds more weight to the result.
Chris Burns was also racing on foreign roads when he was selected as part of the Irish National team for the latest round of the Paracycling World Cup in Bilboa, Spain. Chris competed in both the road race and time trial events and will have gained valuable experience from the international completion which will stand by him for future goals.
Cameron McIntyre was also selected for the Irish National Team for the Junior Tour of Ireland. The 6 day event attracts some of the best juniors from around the world to compete on the gruelling Cork roads. Cameron had an excellent race and was placed in the overall top 10 for the duration of the event. While an excellent result it perhaps does not reflect the effort or performance of young McIntyre; On stage 4 he put in a massive solo effort, escaping at the head of the race for over 40km in an attempt the hijack the stronghold of the American teams who were leading the event. Unfortunately he was captured in the closing km’s of the stage, but the ride gained the respect of his Cycling Ireland team manager and will do no harm to his ambitions in selection for the World Championships later in the year.
On the Triathlon scene Russell White is seeing reward for his long training hours and is also producing some remarkable International results. 4th place in the Osaka Continental Cup, only 4 seconds off the podium gave some clue to the form he was carrying. However only one week later in the Singapore Continental Cup he was able to secure his first International podium with a fantastic 2nd place. The Banbridge man has been knocking on the door of a top International result, and so he will be delighted to see the fruit of his labours paying off.
Banbridge’s Jenna Henning also recorded a remarkable victory in the UK Ironman event in Bolton. Claiming victory in the female 25-29 division in a time of 11hrs 28 mins and 50 sec. The victory qualifies Jenna for the Ironman World Championships in October at Kona Hawaii.