It was an early start at in the village of Loup as ETCC prepared for a full days racing.
The morning’s races consisted of 4 individual races with U14, U16, Masters and Ladies with the 3 races consisting A4, A3 and A1/2 race from midday.
The sign on was based at the Loup GAA clubhouse (kindly granted). All competitors where met with the now customary ETCC coffee and scones at the sign on. With all avenues covered by way of Static marshals, Drivers, Mobile & Static first aid units, barriers and Portaloo at start/finish and timekeepers the platform was well set for a safe and enjoyable days racing.
First off was the U16 race. It was all out from the start as these young guns hit the button from the start. On the 1st lap 4 broke away namely Aaron Swan, Jake Gray, Dion McCarthy & Declan Mulholland. These guys worked hard together from the outset all taking their turn at the front. At the finish it was down to the sprint with the podium places as follows.
This was a particularly good result for Jake as the other podium riders are multiple Irish Champions at different disciplines and age categories, are members of the Irish talent team (also a year older) but all three of them are going for the Youth Olympic selection criteria which will be held in Holland in July.
1 Jake Gray (East Tyrone CC)
2 Dion McCarthy (Fermoy CC)
3 Aaron Sawn (TSC)
The U14 race kept a steady pace with Errigal and Clann Eirann working hard at the front for most of the two laps, on the final ½ mile PJ Dougan (Eirgal) and Harvey Barnes (East Tyrone) touched bars and both took a slow speed tumble onto the tar.
Unfortunately PJ retired from the race having worked hard to set the pace however newcomer Harvey gathered himself up to rejoin the race.
1 Ethan Fleville (Clann Eireann)
2 Liam Wilson (Clann Eireann)
3 Harvey Barnes (East Tyrone CC)
In the masters race Ian Blayney from NDCC started the winning streak for his club as he sprinted to what was a well deserved win Ian was helped by his fellow teammates by Martyn Lyttle and John Hunter to control the race at a fast pace.
North Down then took the second win for the day in the ladies race with Janine McNally taking the first place by several minutes and her team mate Louise Togneri taking second on a sprint finish.
The second phase of racing then got under way with the A1/A2 race.
In the usual fast pace the A1/A2 kept the push on from the start. When the two groups merged it was the strongest that formed the break. This was a race of many attacks and team tactics.
The Eurocycles pair of Conor Murphy and Thomas Martin where the two to be watched as they controlled the race covering each other well and the other strong riders who helped dominate the leading pack where DID rider Javan Nulty who had made the trip from Dunboyne, Gary Jeffers (East Tyrone), Glen Kinning and Gary Cranston (Audi East Antrim), Stevie McKenna (Omagh Wheelers) Brian McKinney (Duffin Transport) Conor McIlwaine (Errigal CC), John Haverin (Clann Eireann)
After many attacks throughout the race the one that counted was on the last lap a three of riders slipped away namely Javan Nulty, Thomas Martin and Gary Cranston.
The chasing group rode strong to the finish in which was an exiting race from start to finish. We are sure to see these guys mentioned as the season progresses.
1 Javan Nulty (DID Dunboyne)
2 Gary Cranston, (East Antrim)
3 Thomas Martin ( Eurocycles)
4 Conor Murphy – (Eurocycles)
5 Glen Kinning (East Antrim)
6 Brian McKinney (Duffin Transport)
7 Gary Jeffers (East Tyrone)
In the A3 race which was introduced earlier in the week to accommodate the huge demand for racing. With great success and approval from all the riders this A3 only race was a chance for these guys (and gal) to shine.
The up and coming stars of the future were the dominate force right from the start. Their aggressive riding caused a split in the bunch on the second lap of five with fifteen riders getting away.
This strong group rode well together and at one point had a two minute gap on the chasing pack. On the final lap a bit of cat and mouse by the leaders allowed this gap to close to thirty seconds but with the line in sight it was U16 Ulster and Irish road race champion now in his first year as a junior Craig McAuley that had the legs to take the sprint finish from fellow first year junior Mark Downey and Paul Johnson taking a well earned third.
With four juniors in the top eight it was a great day for the young guns.
1 Craig McAuley (VON2)
2 Mark Downey (NRVT)
3 Paul Johnston (EACC)
4 Gary Wilson (EACC)
5 Angus Fyffe (Omagh Wheelers)
6 Cathal Doyle (Carn Wheelers)
7 Ivan Reid (Omagh)
8 Conor McAteer (Bann Valley)
The A4 race was a fast and furious race with plenty of attacks by Shelbourne Orchard team and East Tyrone.
West Down’s Darren Lynas kept an eye on proceedings at the front and went with all breaks but they were all pulled in again until the last lap when 5 riders kicked on the last hill and broke from the main group opening up a gap.
The five stayed away to the line with riders: Darren Lynas – (West Down Wheelers), Ryan Reid – (Omagh Wheelers), Ivor Wilkinson – (East Tyrone CC), Karol Dolan and Niall McEnhill (Omagh Wheelers), with the top 3 kicking a second time to get the podium points.
This was Darren’s first year open racing and his first points at A4. With the display of riding we don’t expect him to be in A4 much longer while Ivor Wilkinson from East Tyrone now earns enough points for a well deserved upgrade to the ranks of A3.
1 Darren Lynas (West Down Wheelers)
2 Ryan Reid (Omagh Wheelers)
3 Ivor Wilkinson (East Tyrone)
4 Karol Dolan Omagh Wheelers
5 Niall McEnhill (Omagh Wheelers)
6 Brian McBride (Errigal)
The promoting club (East Tyrone) would like to thank all who helped on the day namely McGlaughlin’s Bakery for the food and lead van, Eamon Bradley Car Sales for use of lead car, the members of the ETCC who helped out on the day with respect to organising the event and all those that helped with the catering; The Smyth family from CicliSport for prizes, KDM Hire for barriers and portaloo, and finally Naomh Pádraig An Lúb (St. Patrick’s Loup GAA) for the use of their Clubhouse and premises.