John Buller may have moved on to ride for one of the country’s leading domestic teams for the 2019 season, but it was clear to see he’s still very much a Banbridge CC lad at heart when he claimed a hugely popular victory in Sunday’s Noel Teggart Memorial promoted in the town by Banbridge CC.
Among a quality breakaway that had formed in the closing laps of the 80+ mile contest, Buller was subject to a number of attacks from the likes of current Irish ranked no 1 Lindsay Watson (PowerHouse Sport), Dave Watson (Bike House), Marcus Christie (PSBR) and Jody Wright (Phoenix CC). The calibre of riders beaten on the day only highlighting the impressiveness of Buller’s win.
It was on lap 5 of 7 that the key moves started to take place, with a dozen riders moving clear, but the attacking nature of the racing reduced those number further to the aforementioned 5. Another Banbridge resident, Lindsay Watson, was also very determined to get his name on the prestigious Teggart trophy, and with the winning form he has shown this year few would have bet against him. When it came down to the sprint however there was only going to be one winner and Buller demonstrated the finishing speed that has served him so well in the past. He finished several bike lengths clear of Lindsay Watson, with Dave Watson completing the podium.
The host club had more reason to celebrate in the A3 category race when Johnny McRoberts set the script by also winning the sprint from a 5-man breakaway group to win the inaugural Peter Donaghy & Stanley Thompson Cup. This was another attacking race, and one that the Banbridge men weren’t going to slip from their grasp. With every attack, a yellow jersey could be seen off the front and they played the numbers game to full effect with in-form riders Peter McBride, Stevie Fitzsimmons and Chris Neill all spending time in moves to try and break up the 80 rider strong field.
In the end it was McRoberts who took the spoils for the first home victory of the day followed by Dylan Traynor of NRPT and Ciaran Cahoon of Clann Eireann CC. Banbridge’ds Peter McBride also held on to claim a well-deserved 6th place after spending much of the day on the attack.
In the A4 race Marc Allen of Ards CC spoiled the party for VC Glendale who occupied the following the places with Conor Fitzgerald & Adam Boyd completing the podium. Mark Stewart of Banbridge CC was 10th, but will be pleased with his efforts on his return to open racing and was also keen to make a move stick on several occasions but the inevitable A4 bunch sprint won over on the day.
The promotion also included a full suite of youth races. In the Under 16 race it was Donegal lad Odhran Doogan (Powerhouse Sport) winning ahead of Darren Rafferty (Island Wheelers) & Connor Gallagher to lift the George Lilley Cup. Erin Creighton (McConvey Cycles) was the first U16 girl.
Oisin Ferrity of Island Wheelers was the winner of the Under 14 race from Luke Donall (Team Madigan) & Seth Dunwoody (Shelbourne /Orchard CC), with rising star Aine Doherty of VC Glendale the first girl in 4th place.
The under 12’s seen Ards CC rider Karl Rocket take the win ahead of Harry Hobbs (Killinchy CC) and Josh Gallagher (Shelbourne /Orchard CC) with Laura Ruddy (Ballymena RC) the first girl.
With over 200 riders competing, the promoters Banbridge CC showed once again not just their ability to grow local cycling talent but also in hosting hugely popular race events which receive support from racing cyclists and supporters from all corners of the island, and a hugely dedicated member base to provide the manpower to support such events.