Wednesday 10th May saw the first Banbridge CC club race of the season in glorious sunshine. This first round of the Gilchrist Cup was over the notorious tough Annaclone circuit. 22 riders signed on including 2 guest riders. With the riders split up into groups depending on their handicap it was split up into four groups.
Brian Wilson and Malcolm Jenkins where off in the first group then a four minute gap before the next group set off. The group included Brian Curran Chris McCann, Chris Burns, James McMahon and Charlie Glover. Group three was one of the largest group containing Brian Hannon, Marty Fitzpatrick, Simon Curry, Neil McAlister, Ian Cochran, Stephen Fitzsimmons, Kevin McAlinden, Ronan Kennedy and Gordon Brown (VC Iveagh) where started a further three minutes back. Then the scratch group of fast men contained Dan Purdy, Peter Mcbride, Mark Stewart, Mark Kendal and Davy McKnight (TVR) two minutes behind the third group.
There is a great start to the race with the downhill to Richie’s Bridge but there were early problems for fast man Pete McBride when he went to kick start his steed on the start line and his chain came off just as the rest of the scratch sprinted away leaving him stranded. With all riders away it was down to who was going to catch the group in front. At the end of the first lap the second group had pulled 1 minute on the leading group. So it was going to be very difficult to pull back four minutes. The second group on the road where chasing hard and started to fall apart with the hard chase. With no group making big inroads to the group in front of them is was going to be very hard to catch the front group of Malcolm and Brian. Things started to get heated up on the 3rd and final lap the third group on the road had caught all but James MacMahon doing his first club race doing a brilliant job to stay away so long but they had him in their sights on the final stretch to the finish. With James swallowed up in the last half mile there was still two up the road riding brilliantly on their own and it came down for them fight it out for the finish and with Malcolm taken the win from Brian some great riding to stay away. It was down to a sprint for third up next and Simon Curry taken the sprint for third with Brian Hannon fourth. That group of riders had only crossed the line when the scratch group came in shortly behind just missing out. Big shout has to go to BCC members on the first club race Brian Wilson, James MacMahon and Ronan Kennedy – Well done lads brilliant going and all finished.
Thanks to all the time keepers, Marshals and our Two Lead Car drivers, Paul Hannigan for all the photographs. Making things a very safe and brilliant night. Next Week back to the Diamond Circuit Dromore for a hard time trial.