Report Shaun Mc Bride (Omagh Wheelers) and photo’s from the Ulster Women’s Commission social media page (except otherwise indicated)

After Saturday winds the entrants in round two at Bishopscourt on the County Down coast were hoping for something of a calmer day. This was not to be the case as the ferocious easterly wind coming off the Irish Sea and straight down the back straight was to present a stern challenge to all. We began with a quick chat from Julie Rea and then a few laps of the Bishopscourt Circuit and some excellent racing advice from Rea throughout the sighting laps. Commissaire James Maguire then offered the women the judges’ view giving them some good advice on closed circuit and open racing. After this, the groups were allocated three in all and racing began.

Advice to the girls been given beforehand by Julie Rea (Phoenix and Cycling Ulster) Photo Dany B

First out on track were the beginner’s group with
Monica Savage (Unattached Ulster)
Julie Lilley (Banbridge CC)
Ruth Fields (Bann Wheelers CC)
Lesley Watt (Bann Wheelers)
Linda Poots (Dromore CC)
Bernadette Monaghan (Dromore CC) They had a 2min30 start on the intermediate group which consisted off
Helen Mc Parland (Phoneix CC)
Melissa Mc Carter (Unattached Munster)
Rachel Mc Bride (Arcane Women’s Team)
Claire Richardson (Killinchy CC)
Ruth Mc Kee (Banbridge CC)
Ruth Johnston (Bann Wheelers)
Roslyn Graham (Unattached Ulster)The final group on the circuit was the scratch group who were a further 2 minutes and 30 Seconds behind the intermediate group. Saturday’s winner Erin Creighton was joined by Darcy Harkness (VC Glendale) and Irish Elite Triathlete Erin Mc Connell representing Ards CC.

The race would be reduced to compensate for the tough winds on the back straight to 35 minutes and two laps. As the race progressed the beginner’s group had certainly listened to the good advice given out by Julie Rea in the warm-up and we’re working really well together and after 4 laps still held a good lead. The intermediate group was not so cohesive and attacks by Richardson were covered by Mc Bride and Mc Parland before the group eventually began to split. The scratch group had formed a formidable trio working very well together clawing back around 40-50 seconds per lap on the groups in front. With two laps to go the beginners group was still asking questions of the other groups and still held lead which was tumbling quickly. In fact, at this stage, all three groups were at different stages on the home straight and as they approached the bell the three groups became one.
The last lap was to be a cagey affair and as they pushed on down the back straight into that ferocious headwind gaps began to appear with a handful of riders forging clear. At the top of the home straight, Erin Mc Connell was to set sail for home, this as to prove the race-winning move as she was to hold on to victory from Roslyn Graham from Omagh participating in her first race with Harkness and Creighton finishing 3rd and 4th. Creighton was also to finished best unplaced Junior
Phoenix CC member Mc Parland was to finish a fine fifth with Clare Richardson in sixth. Monica Savage from the beginner’s group finished just behind Richardson in seventh and also best-unplaced Master. Well done to all the women who participated and in difficult conditions entertained us all.

1.Erin Mc Connell Ards CC (Above photo taken from Erin’s social media page)
2. Roslyn Graham (Unattached Ulster)
3. Darcy Harkness (VC Glendale)
4. Erin Creighton (Mc Convey Cycles)
5. Helen Mc Parland (Phoenix CC)
6. Claire Richardson (Killinchy CC)
7. Monica Savage (Unattached Munster)
8. Ruth Fields (Bann Wheelers)
9. Ruth Johnston (Bann Wheelers)
10. Ruth Mc Kee (Banbridge CC)

Cycling Ulster Women’s Commission wants to firstly thanks our Youth Commission who presented us with this opportunity to work with them in delivering racing for Women and also Gary Mc Keegan for his help with race timing today. We all look forward to returning to Bishopscourt for further events yours in sport Shaun Mc Bride