Dubliner rider, and National Track Scratch Race Champion, Eoin Morton, made his way to Country Antrim to kick off his 2016 season, and in doing so claimed victory in the hard-fought George Rooney Phoenix GP at Nutt`s Corner.
The UCD rider, who was due to travel to the US as part of the `Dublin Thunder` track team taking part in the World Cycling Series, event just got the better of Adam Armstrong in a controversial two-up sprint finish.
With six laps of an 8½ mile circuit to complete, the total race distance of 51 miles was in keeping with the early-season Ulster events, although the attacking racing and weather conditions made for a hard day.
The aggressive A2 bunch were active from the off, however the race came together by around half distance, with the strong men forging ahead in small groups, with 10 riders forming at the head of affairs on the final circuit.
With numerous attacks towards the end of the race, it was Armstrong and Morton who pulled clear to fight it out for the win; in a long sprint which saw Armstrong unhappy, claiming Morton had baulked him in the final 200 metres, however the result was upheld – albeit with Armstrong vowing revenge later in the season!
Below A close finish in the A1 event. (Pic. Toby Watson)
Craig Rea from the promoting Phoenix club; 2nd to Roger Aiken (Wheelworx ASEA) at the previous day`s Annaclone GP took the final podium place.
Young Junior rider Joash Lawrence (North Down CC) took a fine win in the A3 event, with Stephen Mullan (North West CC) the A4s.
The Masters was won by Brian O`Kane (Square Wheels) with Team Madigan`s Katherine Smith taking a close sprint win ahead of Junior rider Shauna McFadden (Nicolas Roche Performance Team) in the Women`s race.
Result. George Rooney Phoenix GP A1-A2 Race
1st Eoin Morton (UCD CC)
2nd Adam Armstrong (ASEA Wheelworx)
3rd Craig Rea (Phoenix CC)
4th Ali Macauley (ASEA Wheelworx)
5th Christopher McGlinchey (Chain Reaction Cycles)
6th Jody Wright (Phoenix CC)
1st Joash Lawrence (North Down CC)
2nd Christopher Birney (Team Sportactive Racing)
3rd Dave Walker (Phoenix CC)
4th Harvey Barnes (East Tyrone CC)
5th Stephen Barry (Orwell Wheelers)
6th Aaron Parks (CCT)
1st Stephen Mullan (NWCC)
2nd Timmy Burns (NDCC)
3rd Gary Walker (Team Madigan)
1st Brian O’Kane (Square Wheelers)
2nd Vincent Drain (Dunloy CC)
3rd Brian Hannon (Banbridge CC)
1st Katherine Smyth (Team Madigan)
2nd Shauna McFadden (NRPT)
3rd Jane Millar (Bann Wheelers)
Katherine Smyth gives Team Madigan a win in the Phoenix GP Women`s race, narrowly pipping Shauna McFadden on the line. (Pic Davy McVeigh – The Belgian Project.)