Saturday 12th March arrived and Covey Wheelers Westport Cycling Club was all set to host Ras Mhaigheo  youths 2016, this year we decided to make the event even bigger so we made it a 3stage race, it has always been marked as one of the big youth stage races of the year, 3 good testing courses was decided on and there was going to be something to suit all types of riders. Stage 1 was a hill finish with 3  KOH spots to race for,  to keep the riders fighting it out for points around the course, stage 2 was a Time Trial to suit the strong guns and stage 3 a flat course to suit the sprinters.

The good weather arrived just on time to set the way for a great weekend of racing, with just under 100 youths embarking on the town of Westport, they were all buzzing to hit the tar and prove who had put the hard miles in over the winter months. Aughagower country lodge hotel was HQ for the weekend.
Stage 1
The U12’s would start from front the gate of the country lodge hotel, the U14’s and U16’s would start from the village, all age groups would take on the testing climb of Callach hill to the finish line, the last 1.5 km’s would test the legs of the riders and would prove to be the game changer, All 3 races ran without any major incident with a few minor crashes but this would not spoil the weekend.
Stage 2A
Sunday morning was an early start with the first rider set to leave the start line @ 8:31, the weather was perfect for the TT and the sound of turbo trainers and rollers could be herd around the village of Murrisk, all riders completed the 4.25km course in good times without any incident.
Stage 2B
The Srah loop was the course picked for stage 2B, this would give the sprinters the chance to show there party piece, the start finish line was set up at the old school for all 3 age group races, U12’s hit off first and it took off like a sprint, with 200m to the finish line there was a accident that would take down some of the top GC riders but all of them got back on their bikes with the exception of one rider that had to walk the last 200m to the finish line as his bike wasn’t fit to be cycled.
The U14’s were next up, they had 3 laps of the course, this was a bit more tactical as riders were watching each other but one man decided he was not going to be part of the game and the strong Kanturk man decided he was going for another solo victory and managed to stay away to the finish, again this race would have some minor incidents but nothing a bandage would not sort out.
The U16’s were next to line up, the strong men came to the front and put the power down, there was a 2 man brake away until the last 2kms when that would reduce to one and see a one man take the chequered flag alone with the bunch hot on his heels, there was some minor incidents here too but again nothing serious.
Well done to all the riders that took part over the weekend, you did yourselves, your parents and your clubs proud, there was great sportsmanship shown over the weekend between riders of all age groups. If you did not get the results you hoped for over the weekend just remember it’s only March and the season is long, keep up the training.

Thanks to the commissaire’s for their professional services over the weekend
I would like to thank the order of Malta ambulance service, they were busy over the 2days and the service they provided was second to none.
Thanks also to the lead car drivers and neutral service car drivers for giving up there weekend to support our event,
Thanks also to the motor bike riders for giving up there weekend,
I’d like to thank our head Marshall’s for putting together a top class plan and implementing a great traffic control plan, thanks also to all that put their names forward to help Marshalling,there was no stone left unturned,
I would like to say a big thank’s to all the local people from the Aughagower, Murrisk  and Srah Community’s  for working with us for the weekend.
Without the support and corporation from all of these groups this weekend could not go ahead,
Thanks also to the local Gardaí and Mayo County Council, we have a great working relationship with both and this is what makes for great safe well run events,
I would like to thank the crew @ core timing for the service and speed they got the results to us after each race and I look forward to working with them again next year, they provided a top class service over the 2days.
Thanks also to the outdoor staff at South West Mayo Development Company for the support they have given the club, they have always been on hand to offer support when needed.
Last but not least I would like to thank my fellow club and committee members for the support in organising the weekend.

We have set the way for next year and it is our intension to run Ras Mhaigheo youths 2017 as another 3stage event,

I have not named riders/helpers in the report so I don’t leave anyone out, it was a busy few weeks for the club as we had the senior Ras Mhaigheo the weekend previous, now it’s back to the day job for me to play catchup, it was my first big race as “Race Director” and it was a great experience and I look forward to the next event.

Race Director
Noel Mulroy