Loughrea Race Report
It was a cold and early start for the 15 members of the Covey Wheelers who travelled to Loughrea Co. Galway to participate in this year’s first A1/A2/A3/A4 race.
For many club racers this would be a baptism of fire into A4 racing and all the accompany thrills and spills. For the older more experienced riders, this was the first opportunity to test out this winters training regime.
Representing the A4 squad was Tom Burke, James Mc Greevey, Noel Mulroy, Aichlinn O Reilly, Anthony Chappat, Micheal Flynn, Paidraig Gannon, Oliver Whyte, Patjoe O Connell, Dermot Warde and Colin Kelly.
The A4 course was a challenging 55km ring circuit with a dominating hill at 22-27km followed by more rolling hills, fast descents and all cumulating for uphill sprint finish.
The Covey A4 squad controlled the early pace of the race for the first 15km with most members of the squad taking a turn at the front of the 90 strong peloton. A small but significant achievement considering the average speed during this time was 40.3km per hour. This opening section was a real eye opener for most of the squad and a lot of experienced was gained into peloton cycling and wrangling for upfront positions.
The peloton started to slowly split on the on the ascent of the predominant hill while also contending with some serious crashes before reaching the summit.
On entering the final 10km the Coveys had 4 members in a 20 man breakaway group. This group kept up a high tempo until the final 1.8km ascent to the finish which saw a dominant 3 man sprint for the line.
The race was won by Sean O’Malley from Western Lakes CC in a tight sprint with Tom Burke and James Mc Greevey. Sean also took the KOH on Derrybrien. This was a great effort from James and Tommy. The gap from 1st to 3rd place was 4.5 wheels.
The A1/A2/A3 was a tough hard opener for the season. The A1/A2/A3 circuit was just under 90km in which the A3’s got a 4 minute handicap.
Representing Westport were Michael Brady, Padraic Conway, Keith O’Connell and Con Doherty.
The handicap was not used properly and by the top of the first climb a few of the scratch group had caught on and the pace picked up. There was a crash after the 2nd climb which split the group and lads had to chase back on. It wasn’t until 50k into the race that the main scratch group got back on but by this stage the race was well strung out.
A big bunch headed for the last 2k drag up to the finish from which a six man group got away with Liam Frawley of Galway Bay taking the spoils. Charles Prendercast, winner of Ras Mhaigh Eo 2012 took 3rd. Michael Brady showed some fine form, while Padraic Conway was going well he had a mechanical, Keith suffered and Con Doherty was narrowly beaten in the KOH prime by Thomas Fallon of the junior Vacon Soleil squad!
A big thanks to Colin Browne for driving the support car and providing backup for the lads racing yesterday.
Focus now turns to Navan next weekend and back to Loughrea the weekend after that.
Race Report submitted by Anthony Chappat