On Sunday afternoon the Carn Wheelers hosted the Carn Classic on the outskirts of Maghera. Weather conditions throughout the week suggested a wet race however, Saturday evening it began to show potential for a dry race and as it turned out, it was a glorious Sunny afternoon, with only a testy breeze to take the shine off the weather and which gave a tailwind out and a headwind home. As usual a full card of races was available for entrants. Velo Club IVEAGH had two entrants Ronnie and Mervyn, both of which were entered in the 2 lap Masters Race.
It was a good field of 40 plus that took to the start line in the Masters, with the participation now growing week on week. Riding as ever in this category was strong, with the pace quicker than the A4 race on lap one with a first lap average of 24.8 mph. The second lap was down a little, no doubt caused by having no breakaway to close down and quite a bit of gamesmanship and posturing at the front. Mervyn having a number of races under his belt was joined by Ronnie whom on this occasion was finishing only his first race. With the pace stiff right from the start and at an average of 26.6 mph over the first 6 or 7 miles, things then began to settle, but where quickly disrupted with a crash taking down two riders on a fast straight before the race had reached 10 miles. With the race carrying on, It was not until the start of the second lap that the first substantial effort was made at a break. Brian Hannon of BCC and one of the fields key riders, went off the front and quickly gained around 200m. Little effort was made to bring him back and it seemed all were happpy as he was pegged there for several miles. With the tail wind and having sat in on lap one and feeling fresh, it was Ronnie who broke off the front to chase down the leader, eventually taking two others with him. At this point Mervyn was still mid field keeping a mindful eye on proceedings. Having worked hard to catch the leader, for Ronnie it turned out a little frustrating as those u front up front seemed unwilling to push on together and before long the group was back together. As the race made its way into the headwind and onto the back straight, numerous breaks were attempted and continued to be covered by Ronnie always keen to go on a break. But it was Mervyn’s wisdom that paid off for VCI. As the race was now setting up for a gallop finish, Ronnie went 4th into the last corner and was 800m from home chasing hard, when the watchful main field stormed through to force a frantic bunch sprint. Mervyn well placed and with a good solid sprint was able to produce a good turn.of pace and on the back of a 6th place at Omagh Wheelers McCann Cup, went one better taking a solid 5th place, Ronnie rolled in at the back of the sprint group probably a little the wiser. This was Mervyns first points in the Masters League, points definately hard earned. All in all a good day was marred briefly by an early crash and then while sitting cooling down, the witnessing of a fairly major crash at the end of the A4 Race. Sadly several sustained fairly bad injuries and we wish them and all those involved the best for a speedy recovery. Big thanks to Carn Wheelers for a well organised event and fantastic spread afterwards.