North Down GP

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The rain which affected [[Saturday`s]] Audi GP did not hit the County Down `gold
coast` for Sunday`s North Down GP, and although grey clouds threatened
throughout the windswept race, there was only a brief shower on the penultimate
lap of the feature race to cool the full field of riders in the North Down CC

Early in the day the Masters and Under 16 event had come together, with one from
each forging ahead for a three-lap breakaway which saw Noel Boyce (North Down
CC) and Jake Gray (East Tyrone CC) win their respective events.
All the Youth events saw clubs score 1-2s, with Gray`s team-mate Harvey Barnes
leading the charge to take second in the Under 16s, ahead of Clann Eireann`s
Ethan Flavelle in third.

Donegal`s Errigal CC were rewarded for the furthest travelled, dominating the
younger classes.
In the Under 14s it was a1-2, for Conor Halvey and Patrick Doogan and the same
outcome in the Under 12s with Donal Walsh and Odhran Doogan on the top steps of
the podium.
North Down GP Under 16 event.
1 Jake Gray. East Tyrone
2. Harvey Barnes. East Tyrone
3. Ethan Flavelle. Clann Eireann
4. Marc Lyons. North Down CC
5. Conor McLaughlin. Newry whs.
6. Paul Kelly. Four Masters

North Down GP Under 14 event.
1. Conor Halvey. Errigal CC
2. Patrick Doogan. Errigal CC
3. Ciaran Cahoon. Clann Eireann CC
4. Naill Lawrence. Ballymena RC
5. Ronan McCann. Errigal CC
6. Arthur Teggart. Ballymoney CC

North Down GP Under 12 event.
1. Donal Walsh. Errigal CC
2. Odhran Doogan. Errigal CC
3. Ciaran Dixon. Phoenix CC
4. Shea O`kane. Phoenix CC
5. Joe Harkin. Errigal CC
6 Ellie Kelso. East Tyrone CC

North Down GP Masters Over-50s race
1. Noel Boyce. North Down CC
2. Stephen Fletcher. East Antrim CC
3. Colm McClarnon. NDCC
4. Robert Watt. NDCC
5. Philip Beattie. Banbridge CC
6. Paul McGuickan. Banbridge CC

The afternoon`s action saw round 9 of the Bling Bike Kit Ulster Women`s league,
held over 4 laps of the demanding 8 mile coastal circuit.
All eyes were on local favourite Rachel Mitchell, already a winner this year at
the PJ Logan event in March. All the Series main players were in action, with
leader Lorraine Jeffers (East Tyrone) keen to extend her advantage over her
Donegal rival Sandra Devine (Four Masters CC)
The pace was high throughout the race, with the lightweight bunch more affected
by the stiff headwind, which just happened to be on the toughest part of the
circuit; the Springwell Road which included a Queen of the Hills prime which
went to a newcomer from the promoting club, Catherine Forsythe.
A crash in the final mile took out some of the riders, and we wish them all a
speedy recovery. Approaching the line, there were no surprises with Mitchell
winding up from 300 metres out to take the verdict ahead of Phoenix rider Julie
Rea, who now leads the series with two events remaining.

North Down GP Bling Bike Kit Women`s Race
1. Rachel Mitchell. North Down CC
2. Julie Rea. Phoenix CC
3. Catherine Forsythe. North Down CC
4. Claire Gillespie. Ballymena RC
5. Jane Miller. Bann Wheelers.
6. Lorraine Mullarkey. Emyvale CC.

The A4 race made for some aggressive riding, which saw a determined Simon Gill
(Foyle CC) ride most of the event off the front, coming in with a couple of
minutes to spare over the field, led by Ballymena`s Jason Burns ahead of Glen
Howe (Bann Whs) and a trio of North Down CC.
The aggressive nature of the race, made by the rolling nature of the course and
extremely blustery conditions made for more action, with riders mixing it in the
chase rather than leaving it to a mass bunch sprint to decide the outcome at the
finish. The longer distance was generally well received, and the field splitting
up made for a safer event.

North Down GP A4 race.
1 Simon Gill. Foyle CC
2. Jason Burns. Ballymena RC
3. Glen Howe. Bann Whs.
4. Keith Phillips. North Down CC
5. Johnny Cairns. North Down CC
6. Johnny Webb. North Down CC

The afternoon feature North Down Grand Prix saw a full field of riders, with a
short handicap for the A3s who were given a minute`s advantage for the 10 lap 80
mile race.
There was an all-star field including professional and former professional
riders, and a couple of Commonwealth Games shortlisted riders, who will find out
their fate on Tuesday ahead of the Glasgow Games in just over a month`s time.
The short handicap was bridged on the fourth lap when the A3 group breakaway was
caught, and the race-winning move went clear just after the Springwell Road KoH
sprint when a four-man group forged ahead which comprised Conor McConvey
(Synergy Baku Professional Team), In-form Fraser Duncan (Northern CC), Ronan
McLaughlin (Dig Deep Coaching) and Ali McAuley (Phoenix CC).
They continued to increase their advantage over the second half of the race
despite being chased by a small group which included Matty Blayney (North Down),
Mike Millar (Phoenix CC) and Dave Hamilton (Curran Racing).
Coming towards the finish all eyes were on the David and Goliath fight. Would it
go the way of Professional rider McConvey, to make it a weekend double, or the
local 9-5 amateur with 8 domestic wins to his credit this season?
In the closing 300metres, it was Duncan who put his finishing `gallop` to good
effect finishing two seconds ahead of McConvey with McLaughlin losing a further
6 seconds on the finishing Orlock Hill.
The first nine places were all taken by A1 riders, with Junior rider Rory
Maguire sneaking in to the top 10, while first of the A3s was Declan Reid (Newry
Whs) who pipped the host club`s Barry Hamilton for top honours.
In all a great days racing and weather to match. The North Down Club are to be
commended on the decision to run longer races, which on the day were well
received by the majority of the competitors.

North Down GP Result.
1. Fraser Duncan. Northern CC. A1.
2. Conor McConvey. Synergy Baku A1 @ 2 sec.
3. Ronan McLaughlin. Dig Deep. A1. @ 8 sec
4. Ali McAuley. Phoenix CC. A1. @ 17 sec
5. Mike Millar. Phoenix CC. A1. @ 1.56
6. Dave Hamilton. Curran Racing. A1. s.t.
7. Dave Watson. NDCC. A1. @ 3.16
8. Glenn Kinning. Kinning Cycles. A1. s.t.
9. Gary Jeffers. East Tyrone. A1. s.t.
10 Rory Maguire. Phoenix CC Jun. @3.25
11. James McMaster. NDCC. A1. s.t.
12. Gavin Magowan. Dromara CC A1. s.t.
13. Declan Reid. Newry Whs. A3. @4.27
14. Barry Hamilton. NDCC. A3. s.t.
15. Alistair McKee. East Antrim. A3. s.t.
16. Paul Quinn. Island Whs. A3. @4.38
17. Mark McKinley. Newry Whs. A3. @5.35
18. Ian Carson. Ards CC. A3. @6.09
19. Jason Henry. U/A. A1. @6.24
20. Stephen McAllister. Ballymoney CC. A1. s.t.

Report by Anthony Mitchell