North Down GP 2018

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Last Sunday, North Down Cycling Club (NDCC) hosted a top class series of open road races with a magnificent combined prize fund of some £2,000. Donaghadee Community Centre became the busy race headquarters for the day, with over 120 riders registering to compete in four separate races. The familiar, but testing, eight-mile race circuit runs in an anti-clockwise loop, beginning on the Warren Road, with a left turn at Groomsport up the Springwell Road and then back towards the Dee along the High Bangor Road.

The hotly contested Masters category race was first off and in-form Paul McArthur (NDCC) reaped the rewards of a dedicated training regime, powering his way to a decisive victory ahead of Ian McClure (Dave Kane) and Fergal Magee (Apollo).

Although the ladies race had relatively few entries, Laura Wylie (Maryland Wheelers) put in an impressive performance, securing a comfortable win over Meta Johnston (Team Madigan) and Caroline Riddell (NDCC).

The 49 mile A4 race attracted a really strong field, but with a freshening headwind along the Warren Road followed by the testing drag up to Orlock, many in the bunch looked to conserve energy for the final lap. The race duly finished in a full bore bunch sprint, with John Rafferty (Ards CC) edging it over Damian O’Hagan (Clougher Valley) and Jonny Taylor (NDCC).

The main race was a high intensity affair, covering 82 miles over 10 gruelling laps. The fast pace soon fractured the peloton with a strong breakaway of six riders holding a 50 second gap over the chasing group for over four laps. In the final lap, the six were reduced to four and Chris McGlinchey (Chain Reaction Cycles) clinched the first prize of £300, just ahead of Lindsay Watson (Powerhouse Sport), Craig Rea Viner (Caremark Pactimo), and Angus Fyffe (Caldwell Cycles). A fantastic effort from all the competitors. The top placed A3 rider, Daniel Graham (Mellow Velo), was the first recipient of NDCC’s Gavin Moore Memorial trophy.

Race Director Ian Blayney was delighted with the event and NDCC would like to thank the Cycling Ireland Commissaries and the various sponsors for their contributions. Many competitors praised the professional organisation, the generous catering, and the safety conscious marshalling from over 50 club volunteers. Thanks also to the motorists and local residents of North Down for their patience throughout the day.

Pictures courtesy of Fotozone Armagh and the Belgian Project