A Glorious Sunny morning close to the County Down coast greeted riders on Saturday morning, creating perfect racing conditions at Bishopscourt for the latest event in the Ulster Women’s League.
First up was a one lap time-trial. Velo Performance Rider Ciara Kelly on her first outing of 2021 was to set the fastest time blasting round the circuit in 5mins 12 Seconds she was to have 12 seconds from newbie Karen Baines from TVR with Kilinchy’s Claire Richardson just one second behind in third. Emily Roberts the second TVR was our best unplaced Master
1st – Ciara Kelly Velo Performance – 5.12
2nd – Karen Baines – TVR – 5.22
3rd – Claire Richardson – Killinchy CC – 5.23
4th – Helen Mc Parland – Phoenix CC – 5.24
5th – Keela Mac hale – Arcane – 5.36
6th – Clodagh Allen – Clonard CC – 5.39
7th Emily Roberts -TVR- 5.42 – Best Unplaced Master
8th Pamela Ayre – Titanic Quarter – 5.46
9th Therese Zwahlen – Phoenix CC – 5.49
10th Linda Poots – Dromore CC – 5.53
Following the TT, Julie Rea hosted another training session with a focus on cornering and an introduction to Team Time Trial in preparation for next Saturday
After some fantastic youth racing, the women were back on the track again this time for a 50 minute plus two laps race. This week we had two groups on the track. The first group away was as follows
Rachel Mc Bride (Arcane), Linda Poots (Dromore) Ruth Fields, Ruth Johnston and Miranda Mitchell (Bann Valley) Monica Savage, Emily Roberts (TVR) Pamela Ayre (Titanic) and Edie Carroll (Unattached) formed the limit group that had five minutes of a handicap.
The scratch group included previous winner Erin Mc Connell (Ards), TT Winner Ciara Kelly, Claire Richardson(Killinchy) and Helen Mc Parland (Phoenix) – both upgraded after race 1. Emma Smith (Bann Valley) Clodagh Allen (Clonard) Keela Mac Hale (Arcane) , Ellie Mc Ardle (Square Wheelers) and TT Runner Up Karen Baines (TVR) completing a strong group.
In the early laps a lack of cohesion in the lead group saw gaps reduced by around 30 seconds per lap with Mc Connell, Mc Ardle and Kelly particularly to the fore.
Mid race the picture was to change with four riders in the lead group, the two Ruth’s from Bann Valley, Emily Roberts from TVR and young Carroll (Unattached) starting to work very well together and through laps 6 and 7 they actually increased the lead by 15 seconds.
As dropped riders were caught be the second group the pace was increased again and the gap began to close.
As the group crossed the line with two laps to go our “fab four” still held 40 second advantage and it looked like a surprise was on the cards. At the bell this gap has reduced to a perilous 20 seconds.
On the back straight the “Fab Four” were eventually caught setting us up for another bunch finish.
As in previous race Erin Mc Connell set sail for home at the top of the hill and just like last race wasn’t to be caught, Ciara Kelly was to hang on for second from a fast finishing Ellie Mc Ardle with Emily Roberts one of the “fab four” finishing strong for fourth place and best Unplaced Master.
For the second week in a row we had a brilliant race. In particular Mc Parland and Richardson having been upgraded were excellent in the chase group with Smith from Bann Valley, Allen from Clonard RC and Baines from TVR all contributing to an excellent chase.
The stars today were our “Fab Four” who so nearly kept the chasers as bay.
1st Erin Mc Connell – Ards CC
2nd Ciara Kelly – Velo Performance
3rd Ellie Mc Ardle – Square Wheelers
4th Emily Roberts – TVR
5th Claire Richardson – Killinchy
6th Emma Smith – Bann Valley
7th Karen Baines – TVR
8th Helen Mc Parland – Phoenix CC
9th Edie Carroll – Unattached Ulster
10th Clodagh Allen – Clonard RC
Well done to all of the women who raced.
The Womens Commission want to thank Martin Molloy from Dunloy CC for all his help as time keeper and finish line. We also want to thank Peter Brown and Gerry Heverin from our Youth Commission for facilitating our participation in these events and finally the one and only Dany Bondeel for his music and commentary and in generall for all he does for Womens Racing
Next Round – Saturday 5th June
This Saturday 5th June we are back in Bishopscourt for another double header. As this is our series finale we are doing something a little bit different.
Our first event at 11am is a team time trial. The teams will race four laps of the Bishopscourt Circuit against the clock. Teams can have either 3 or 4 riders. Times will be calculated on the third rider crossing the line. We have discussed with the Youth Commission and U16 Riders can form part of a team with a maximum of two U16 riders per team. This is a fantastic opportunity to try something different. Remember as these events are part of the Cycling Ulster Women’s Development League a minimum of an LC License is required for participation.
After Lunch we will run our third circuit Race – Thus far these races have been brilliant with the handicaps working out really well and all groups merging on the final laps. We will continue with this format as it offers opportunities for women of all abilities. Saturday proved this will the valiant efforts of these four women to stay away from the chase, so much so that they were caught in the last KM of the race.
Saturday race should be a similar race with a number of groups on the circuit meaning everyone has something to race for.
To sign on to either event use link – https://eventmaster.ie/event/kblRcK2TA2