Cycling: Duncan and Millican come out on top in Spires CC Grand Prix

Pictured at Ballyronan Marina on Saturday morning at the start of the Spires CC Grand Prix were (from left) Robert Paul, Race Safety Officer, councillor Anne Forde, John O'Neill, Race Director, Magherafelt Council chairman Catherine Elattar, Seamus Donnelly, Club chairman, Sean Henry, Magherafelt Council Good Relations officer and Pearse McAleer, chairman of Cookstown Council. INMM1014-127ar.
Pictured at Ballyronan Marina on Saturday morning at the start of the Spires CC Grand Prix were (from left) Robert Paul, Race Safety Officer, councillor Anne Forde, John O'Neill, Race Director, Magherafelt Council chairman Catherine Elattar, Seamus Donnelly, Club chairman, Sean Henry, Magherafelt Council Good Relations officer and Pearse McAleer, chairman of Cookstown Council. INMM1014-127ar.

Spires Cycling Club from Magherafelt held the second edition of their Grand Prix Road Race on Saturday.

The early season open race saw a field of 60 A4 riders line up in Ballyronan for four laps of the challenging 8 mile course. Racing was fast and furious from the gun.

After a high speed run to the line it was Aaron Millican (Bann Wheelers) who took the victory in the sprint finish.

James Mullan (Roe Valley CC) and Chris Brown (Ards CC) took second and third place spots on the podium.

The ‘A’ race saw 40 A3 riders get a 2 minute advantage over the 30 A1 and A2 riders. The A3 riders started fast and kept the tempo high. At one stage they had gained 20 seconds over the chasing group. The high pace meant any attacks were closed down quickly.

Gary Cranston (East Antrim CC) and Frazer Duncan (Northern CC) were the only two riders who managed to successfully bridge the gap from the A1/A2 group. The two riders attacked shortly after making the junction and put in a massive effort to turn a 10 second gap into a 1 minute gap within the space of a lap.

Eventually Duncan made the decisive move on the final lap and pulled clear of Cranston all the way to the line, taking the victory by 30 seconds.

The remaining podium spot went to Gordon Scott (East Antrim CC) who used his experience to position himself in prime position to use his powerful sprint.

The best positioned local rider was Chris McCann (Dig Deep/ Inspired Cycling) who managed to avoid a crash inside the last 500m and take 5th position.

After the racing had ended everyone went back to The Marina Centre, Ballyronan, where they were greeted with a great spread of food and some warm soup.

Spires CC would like to thank the PSNI for their assistance with traffic control.

The race organisers would also like to thank the Vestry of the Woods Parish Church for use of their car park and premises, the staff of Ballyronan Marina Centre, KDM Hire for the use of the safety barriers, all marshals, helpers, supporters, club members, those who provided photo finish equipment and the photographers for all their input and efforts in helping to run a very successful event.

A special word of thanks must also go to the race commissaire Martin Lees who did a great job on behalf of Cycling Ulster and Spires CC.

A final word of thanks goes to all the residents of the local areas, who were very accommodating of the race and co-operated fully with marshals and PSNI on the day. It was great to see so many people out watching and supporting. We hope to see you all again next year.

If you have any interest in cycling or joining a club please contact Spires CC on any of the following email addresses info@spirescc.co.uk or Chair@spirescc.co.uk or www.spirescc.co.uk