On Saturday past, Armagh Down Cycling Club hosted the Hilltown GP. Over the past few years, this has become a race that many (particularly A4 racers) target, with the hilltop finish often providing a different outcome than the bunch sprint often seen in other races. However, owing to current Covid restrictions, the organisers opted for an A1/A2 handicap race and a seperate A3 race, giving the A3 racers an opportunity to compete with each other, without worrying about the groups coming from behind.
We were represented by James Dane and Stephen Hanna in the A3 race. James gave us a few comments afterwards.
“I think Stephen and I both have mixed feelings, as the race was over before the first half of the first lap. From the very start, there was attack after attack! Both Stephen and I went with every one, having to put in some big efforts to stick on to them, but of course the one we didn’t go with was the one that got away.
Many of the riders that were left had teammates in the breakaway and had no interest in trying to chase it down, leaving it impossible to close the gap. With a group of eleven up the road, there would be no points on offer for the remainder of the peloton.
Stephen was in good form and riding very strongly and a few of us took turns at the front trying to make the race interesting. Stevie and I, along with Jamie Gregg of Dromore CC, even managed to launch another breakaway, but unfortunately we couldn’t make it stick.
As is often the case, the race was really decided by being in the right place at the right time. Hopefully we can get a better result next time out. It is encouraging that we are both feeling strong enough to think about changing the race (through breakaway groups) when it suits us. If we get a few more races like that it is definitely going to click some day.”
Thanks, as usual, to Sharon McFarland for photos.
Also, a word of congratulations to friend of the club and regular visitor on our club runs, Gareth Rogers (Dromore CC) for his third place finish.