Last Wednesday evening seen round 2 of the Sligo League take place on the old Traders cup circuit starting at Carraroe, it was a packed field of 60 strong & handicapped into 4 different groups , the route took us to Ballygawley , left up past the hotel through Ballintogher, left at the bottom of Innisfree and turn back towards Carraroe.
A well organised event by YCCC and a classic finish up Union hill which brought with it a real dramatic finish.
The first group took off as the M50’s, M60’s & the ladies headed for Union for the first time. The second group on the road was where this reporter was with strong Limited competition group of riders, determined to keep away for the win, they pulled together and started the pursuit on what they decided was the biggest threat of the M50 category.
Next on the road were the more experienced LC riders (I’m not gonna say stranger 😆) and the A4 licence holders.
The scratch group had an array of talent gunning to get off the line and they may have been held back a little bit too long as they stormed out of the blocks & teamwork and tactics were thrown out the window as the group broke up fairly quickly which hampered their chance of catching any group and being in the race.
It was all happening in the LC groups, with talk from the Bottecchia camp the Yeats boys weren’t working at all & vice versa from the Yeats lads , we’ll just have to agree that both clubs worked well together and leave it at that 🙂
As I was in the front group we can talk about that and we worked extremely well to keep away as far as we could , Bottecchia Rider Conor Gilligan on numerous occasions made a few dashes up the road to try and entice and anger the Yeats lads which did work to some extent, half way round lap one the remaining 5 BOttecchia riders couldn’t help but notice there were white jerseys and Madone’s all round us, but it didn’t intimidate us, we kept plugging away with Aidan Mullane pulling the strings & motivating us to the front of the group on every occasion, as the second lap started we had the M50’s in our sights and we caught them just before Ballygawley, this only made the group stronger with Riders such as Shiny Steve, John Sheridan, Hugh Bennett & Annabel Gilmartin ready to take their turn in the group, the pace picked up and the group got stronger together. As we came in by Slish wood for the second and last time it was getting obvious us Bottecchia riders were well out numbered and we needed to do something Just to break up the Points if we stayed away, we rallied to the front of the group for the cork screw and we all made it up to be in a great position, but from here it was a game of cat and mouse, team loyalties went out the window and everyone who was working on the front were hiding in the group thinking this could be their race. We hadn’t seen the second group or the scratch and we were 4kms out , a shout from Mark Walsh & a dash from Conor with a chase from Paul Carr got us moving again but it was too late, we raced like we should to the bottom of union hill with Darren Caheny and Conor Gilligan both taking early attacks for the hill, with the end in sight it was 3 abreast for the line with Sligo’s top 3 clubs represented, Kevin Egan from Bottecchia, Hugh Bennett from IWCC & Walshie for Yeats with a few more in behind ready to pounce, 50 yards out though , it wasn’t the hill that took the wind out of our sails, Winner Ryan Annett, and two other riders zoomed by , we’d been caught just before the line, the handicapped had worked to an absolute tee, with the scratch group also in sight of the finish, although everyone in our group was happy with the finish, we can’t help but think what could have been if we kept the pace up over to Carraroe but that’s racing (I’m told), It was mentioned from the rear LC group where the winner came from , It was the physiological advantage that they could see us after the last corner, a massive push from Returning Bottecchia Rider Keith Raymond pulled the group closer which allowed the groups to get together, Bottecchia Riders Ronan Currid and Kevin Egan hung on for some points with 7th and 10th place finishes.
A great nights racing and although Yeats came away with the bulk of the points the two Mullane’s were proud of their teams performance, every one of us came away from the race wanting more & next time we’ll be pushing to get more Black & Green Jerseys amongst the points.
Wednesday week it’s back to TT racing with one to really look froward too, Carraroe to Calry through Dromahair is sure to be a classic.
There were a few crashes in the race , our own Davoren Fallon came off and by the way he rode today he seemed ok , we wish the best to the other riders Trevor Coen from IWCC & Rodney Reddy of Yeats , hope to see ye back on the bikes soon lads, see ye all in Carraroe on the 29th of July.