Across the cycling community, there is one stand out race in the calendar that never fails to disappoint; the PJ Logan Cup.
Sunday 24th March saw the Island Wheelers host this prestigious race for the ninth successive year, and once again provided a fantastic days racing for all.
The recent inclement weather almost forced the event to be postponed, thankfully the 6.8 mile race circuit outside Coalisland escaped the snow, however not the bitter cold and artic winds. That said, the weather didn’t put riders off, and like previous years over 160 riders signed up to compete in the three races on offer.
The first race of the day was the A race which undertook 8 laps of the fast and furious circuit. The A3 riders were off first and had a short handicap over the A1 riders. The pace was hard from the start with the A3s looking to capitalise on their advantage over the chasing A2s and A1 riders behind.
Nonetheless, the quality of the chasers proved too much, and by the third lap the race came together, however, almost immediately, a number of riders attacked and a small breakaway formed. The break contained some of the countrys leading cyclists, and these protagonists raced hard to the finish to the delight of the spectators.
The aggressive racing saw Jack Wilson, who current rides for Sean Kelly’s An Post CRC team, and Mark Buchanan (NORTH POLE CC), who came to the race off the back of an excellent win at last weekend’s Potato Race in Burt, both go clear.
In the end, it was Mark Buchanan who edged out Jack Wilson in the sprint to take the win. Glenn Kinning (EAST ANTRIM CC) came third ahead of Stuart Henry (NORTH DOWN CC), Rory Devlin (NORTH POLE CC) and Mark Downey (NICOLAS ROCHE PERFORMANCE TEAM).
The B race consisted of 5 laps, and a total of 15 Island Wheelers hungry to use the home advantage to their benefit. However, it was Sean McIntyre of Shelbourne Orchard CC who stole the show with a fantastic solo win. Sean broke clear midway through the race with Michael Scullion (CARN WHEELERS), and Lindsay Watson (PUSHMTB).
The men worked well together and opened a sizable margin on the rest of the field. Sean however, put his time trialling skills to good use and made an audacious attack with over a lap remaining. The move paid off, and Sean soloed to the finish line to take a great win. Michael Scullion finished 2nd, and Lindsay Watson 3rd.
A special mention should also be given to young Island Wheeler Dean Burnside, who claimed the hotly contest 1st Island Wheeler prize in what was only his first ever race!
The final race of the day was the Masters and Ladies Race consisting of three laps of the circuit. In the ladies race it was Rachel Mitchell who was victorious. The Masters race was dominated by the Hewitt brothers, with Geoff Hewitt (PHOENIX CC) claiming first place, with Mike Hewitt (PHOENIX CC) in second and Raymond Beers in third.
The Island Wheelers would like to thank a number of people who helped make the day a huge success. Firstly, the marshals who gave up their Sunday to stand in the freezing cold to ensure rider safety were not compromised.
Also to the lead car drivers and the commissaries for ensuring rider safety was the number one priority on the day. The Order of Malta who were on hand and thankfully their services were not needed. Dungannon Council for ensuring the circuit was in top condition. Cycling Ulster, who were there on the day taking some superb pictures and video of the event which can be found on their site.
Everyone who was involved in feeding over 150 hungry cyclists; the sandwiches, soup, and buns went down a treat! The event sponsors, Cavanagh Kelly Chartered Accounts and S Wright Tyres Newmills. Finally, the club would like to thank all the riders who took part on the day; we hope to see you back next year!
PJ LOGAN CUP RESULTS
1st Mark Buchanan NORTH POLE CC
2nd Jack Wilson AN POST CRC
3rd Glenn Kinning EAST ANTRIM CC
4th Stuart Henry NORTH DOWN CC
5th Rory Devlin NORTH POLE CC
6th Mark Downey NICOLAS ROCHE PERFORMANCE TEAM
First Island Wheeler -A lan McKeown
First unplaced 2nd cat - Damian Lagan NORTH POLE CC
First unplaced 3rd cat - Jonathan Dooey SPIRES CC
1st Sean McIntyre SHELBOURNE ORCHARD WHEELERS
2nd Michael Scullion CARN WHEELERS
3rd Lindsay Watson PUSHMTB
First Wheeler - Dean Burnside
MASTERS AND LADIES RACE
1st Geoff Hewitt PHOENIX CC
2nd Mike Hewitt PHOENIX CC
3rd Raymond Beers
First Lady - Rachel Mitchell