NTW Championship Road Race 14/06/2018
Thankfully the evening held fine for the lads who braved the championship road race on Thursday. The route was never going to be an easy one as its a championship race after all so with a trophy on the line we had to make it a good challenge and I think anyone who was out racing will attest to that! The route this week took them over the rolling country roads of Carrigahorig, Terryglass, Ballinderry and Puckane a total distance of 50km.
With the help of a strong tailwind on the outer leg of the race the groups were all setting a blistering pace. Dermot who was the only category 4 rider to brave the championship course had a significant lead after being started off first with 8 minutes 50 seconds advantage on the next group and was doing a great job at maintaining it. The chasing groups were closing the gap though, so when Dermot was in Terryglass the next chasing group of two had pulled him back to a couple of minutes and the cat. 2 group of 6 were down to 5 and making the turn at Carrigahorig with the 2 cat. 1 lads in hot pursuit of them. Everyone was doing tremendous work in the largest cat. 2 group to reel in those up the road and they caught up with the cat. 3 lads shortly after Terryglass before the Coolbaun climb . John and Roger jumped onto the train but the Coolbaun climb proved a little too much for them to hang in with a strong pace being pushed at the front. It was at the top of the Climb were they finally reeled in Dermot and he was managing to stay just off the back of their group heading down the other side of the hill but got caught on a little drag just after the descent and just missed out of getting into their slipstream, so close though! From here the leading group on the road were continuing to work really well together and had to with the cat. 1 lads in sight and breathing down their neck coming back in the road from Puckane. A chasing Eoin Woods, who was coming after them like a train, could nearly smell the fear from the lads who were looking around to see how close he was and knew he was closing in… Knowing this kept it very honest in the last few kilometers and they did so well continuing to work together coming in the road. At about 500m to go, Owen Hynes made the decisive move of the race and put in an impressive early sprint to create a small gap from the others and just about managed to hold onto this to the line from a really strong finishing Andy English in second and Liam Callaghan in third with Eoin Woods ending up finishing only seconds behind the group. Massive congratulations to Owen, our club Road Race Champion of 2018! A very well done to everyone for coming out to contest the trophy tonight and some serious effort put in from everyone out there on the evening! Big thanks to Jan for doing the start/finish, Conor for marshalling and Selina for taking the photographs which you can see here.