The road season in Ulster gets underway this weekend with the traditional openers, Annaclone GP and Phoenix GP taking place on Saturday and Sunday respectively.

Travers Engineering Annaclone GP – Saturday 2nd March

Banbridge Cycling Club will once again open the Ulster road racing season with the Travers Eng Annaclone GP this Saturday, 2nd March. With over 150 riders along with support crews and race officials Annaclone village is expected to be a hive of activity both in the lead up to and following the mid-day race start.

Two races will be on offer for competitors; a handicapped race catering for A1, A2 and A3 categories and a mass start A4 support race. The usual circuit starting from the Hawthorn Inn will be used, taking in Richies Bridge before a sharp left through Annaclone Village, Mays Corner and Katesbridge before returning to the Hawthorn Inn via the Ardbrin Rd. The ‘A’ race for A1, 2 & 3’s will be 6 laps of the traditional rolling circuit for a total race distance of approx. 50 miles / 80 km, with the winner being awarded the Eddie Sands Memorial Cup. The ‘B’ race for A4 men and A3/A4 women will cover 5 laps of the same course giving a total distance of approx. 40 miles / 65 km.

In addition to the Eddie Sands Memorial Cup for the winner of the ‘A’ race, the 2019 edition of the race will see the introduction of the Travers Cup for the winner of the ‘B’ race.
Sean Travers and the Travers family have been long-time supporters and a sponsor of Banbridge Cycling Club and the Annaclone GP and the Banbridge club are delighted to add a winner’s cup in Sean’s name to this popular event. Speaking ahead of the race Event Director Aaron Wallace commented “It’s fantastic to see the introduction of the Travers Cup to the event for 2019, we owe a great deal of gratitude to Sean Travers for his continued support of the Annaclone GP and indeed Banbridge Cycling Club. The Travers name and the Annaclone GP go hand in hand and being able to award the Travers Cup at the event seems rather fitting.”

The ‘A’ race has attracted a list of names which will be well known on the Irish racing circuit. Topping the bill will be last year’s winner and international track rider Marc Potts of Omagh and also Chris McGlinchey who has this year signed for the UCI Continental team Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brothers UK. McGlinchey famously won the ‘B’ race at Annaclone in 2015 before taking the Irish scene by storm.

They’ll be joined by former An Post professionals Angus Fyfe from Omagh and local man David Montgomery of Dromore. Another former An Post professional, Ronan McLaughlin, will head the newly formed Team Dan Morrissey-McCarthy Insurance Group squad and count Banbridge’s James Curry among his team mates. Following a strong couple of years based in France, Curry will be keen to produce a noteworthy result on home territory.

Another Banbridge resident, Lindsay Watson of Powerhouse Sport, who led the Irish Elite rankings for a considerable stretch in 2018 looks to have maintained his strength over the winter months and will be looking to start the season off well.

John Buller is the latest talent to roll off the Banbridge CC production line and joins one of the most exciting new Irish teams in recent years, Team Bioracer-DHL-FR Services. The team has ambitious plans for the year and like many of the spring flowers, they may well come to bloom early this weekend if young Buller gets a clear line to the finish and is able to utilise well known sprinting talent.

Multiple National Champion and International Mountain biker Gareth McKee will lead the promoting club’s charge, and will be joined in the ‘A’ race by Banbridge CC team mates Dan Purdy, Simon Curry, Chris Neill, Johnny McRoberts and new signing Aaron Parks. In the ‘B’ race Peter McBride, Richard McBride and Ian Cochrane will be keen to get some early points on the board with a view to upgrading during the season.

Both races are expected to finish between 1:30 and 2pm outside the Hawthorn Inn

Please click here for race manual

George Rooney Phoenix GP – Sunday 3rd March

This year sign-on will be in the Crumlin Leisure Centre (BT29 4UP) from 9:15.  Sign on will close 30 min before each race with free spaces being allocated to the reserve list. For pre-entry please click here

There will be full changing and showering facilities available as well as refreshments before and after. The sign-on fee is £15 for everyone except juniors who pay £5.  Juniors please note that on entry central, you will have to pay £15 for pre-entry, please make yourself known at sign-on on the day and we will reimburse you the £10 difference.  Entry on the day of the race will be £20/€25.

  • All riders must have the appropriate CI license card or print out from the CI website.
  • No refunds for riders withdrawing will be issued.Course details:
  • The course will be the usual Nutt’s Corner > Seven Mile Straight > Long Rig Rd course finishing at the top lay-by. 
    Sign on location Goolge maps 54.618304, -6.213043
    Race start location Goolge Maps 54.639893, -6.083842
    There will be five races:
    Women, over 50’s and A4’s starting at 10:45
    A1/A2 combined race and an A3 race starting at 12.30.
    A1/A2 Race. (George Rooney GP)
    This race will be handicapped and will be 6 laps in distance, approximately 50 miles overall.
    Start time 12:30pm
    Prizes for top 6
    A3 Race. (Don McGreevy Cup)
    There will be a separate A3 race over 5 laps, approximately 42 miles overall.
    Start time 12:35pm
    Prizes for top 5
    A4 Race.
    This race will be a scratch race and will be 4 laps in distance, approximately 34 miles overall.
    Please note this race will start at 10:45.
    Prizes for top 5
    Women’s race.
    3 laps of the course aprox 25 miles. This race will be run on its own if there are greater than 10 entries. 
    Race start approx 10:50am
    Prizes for top 3 **
    ** If the race has 3 – 10 entrants it will be run within the Masters race with a prize for the first female finisher only. For races with less than 3 entrants, that race will, if permissible, be combined with another race. For example if there is only 2 female entrants for the women’s race then those entrants can enter the Masters race with that race becoming a Masters/women’s race and prizes for top 3 finishers only.
    50+ Master Race.
    Phoenix is also proud to be promoting this Master race A3, A4 and club license riders who will be 50 or older this calendar year. These riders can choose to ride this race or the A4 or A3 race. The masters’ races are hotly contested with the ealry races proving the most popular. The race will be 4 laps in distance, approximately 33 miles overall.
    Race start approx 10:50am