Four Seasons at the Carriageway from Newry to Warrenpoint for the John Haldane Memorial Races promoted by Newry Wheelers as sunshine before the start, rain when the riders set off, snow and hail during the race and sun again at the finish, not very good conditions for photographers but we can hide in our cars, the volunteers can’t, the riders neither…they just get on with it. Nearly 300 riders showed up at Shamrock Parks GAA grounds for the sign on for the 5 races on the menu who included round 2 of the CU women’s league with more than 20 ladies competing and a full entry in the A4 and A3 races, the A2 and A1 handicapped race nearly full too. The ladies started the morning and 3 laps to go, soon followed by the main handicapped A1-A2 then the A3 races and as last on the road the A4 race. The girls stayed mostly together and it was a sprint to sort out the 5 prizes on offer with teenager Clodagh ni ghallchoir AAA taking her second win of the season and leading the CU women’s league. The Donegal girl is part of my selection pool for possible selection for a bursary in 2019 and ticked already some boxes towards that goal.
Next the A4 race who basically stayed together after a few attempts to avoid a mass sprint but to no avail, they came to the line together and a crash in the middle of the bunch (no one serious hurt so far I know) a few hundred meters before the line didn’t affect the front with Brain Daly off the Marble City Team having the better of the revelation of the early season Philip Castles West Down Wheelers taking second and Gary Mc Neill Velo Cafe’ taking 3th.
The A3 & Junior race had some good action, and a break of 3 riders decided the podium places, with another sublime display of upcoming second-year junior Kevin Mc Cambridge (Nicolas Roche PT) taking the win of his 2 Newry Wheelers companions Kevin Lynch and Henry O’ Neill in a very stylish finish. The sprint for the minor places was won by junior Shay Donley (Zappi) and also a junior who will soon join the ranks of the A2’s where they belong in my opinion.
Last to finish the handicapped A2-A1 race and the A2’s let 5 riders slip the net, the A1 reversed the handicap of 2 minutes in the last lap but Mark Mc Kinley from the early escape managed to keep ahead with Des Woods (Irish Masters Champ) in second and ex-winner of the Haldane Jude Sands 3rd. A 1-2-3 of the promoting club taken the first 3 places with great joy of the wee crowd at the finish line who went ecstatic seeing their boys getting such big result.
Newry Wheelers know their onions when it comes to organising races, no expense been spared when it comes to safety, tens of marshals at their post on the course in atrocious weather, lead cars at each group, mobile first aid and motorbike marshals to keep the races safe and the feed after left no one hungry for their journey home… chapeau Wheelers and thanks for the donation towards the project…it is very much appreciated. Here the link to some of the action photos taken by right-hand man David Mc Veigh and to be find on our Flickr cloud page https://www.flickr.com/photos/thebelgianproject/albums/72157707270733365 We now have reached 40.000 photos downloaded on our Flickr pro page, which started in 2012 with the Tour of Italy .
Here below some photos I took and many more photos will be added in the next days on the flickr page…off to Donegal next with the St Pat races in Burt next Sunday …can not wait !!