Northern Ireland Road Race Championships
From Jon Miles
part of the WomensCycling.net Northern Ireland Novice Series - Race 4
Race 1 Race 2 Race 3
The inaugural Northern Ireland Open Road Championships for women was won in convincing style by a below par Mary Boyd - Team Letchworth-Extran on a cold and windy day near Bangor.
Using a 7 mile circuit based around Bangor-Ards-Donaghdee and supported by North Down Council, the Championship was a joint venture of the two cycling bodies, organised by Ian Henry and Toyota North Down CC, that will go down as a landmark in Irish cycle racing. The strong headwind blowing down the finishing straight and the hills on the road to Ards saw the field keep together until 12 miles was covered when first to lose contact was Gillian Orr - Ex MTB and two miles later it was Hillary Thomas - Phoenix CC and Margaret Curran - Omagh Wheelers who lost those vital rear wheels but as is so common in women's racing, they completed the race.
With 17 miles covered Trudy Brown - Northern CC-Dave Kane, had a short dig in the lane that connected the two main roads of the course but this was snuffed very quickly.
At 21 miles covered and there were four riders in the lead, Mary Boyd, Trudy Brown, Mary McKee - Phoenix CC and Ann McFarland - Omagh Wheelers; McFarland had just got rid of the next brace that she had been wearing for months and it was encouraging to see her with this lead group.
23 miles covered, Boyd and McKee opened a gap which forced Brown to close as she was considered to be the danger to Boyd winning retaining her road title.
3 miles later and McFarland just began to lose contact and then it was three riders in the lead with three medals at stake; the speed began to rise with Mary McKee spending the most time at the front of the break, tellingly most of it was into the head wind.
Turning at the final roundabout, and into the strong head wind, Boyd immediately attacked on the outside and kept her lead for the remaining 600 metres to cross the line with Trudy Brown 2nd and Mary McKee in third to complete a satisfying race for organiser and helpers.
"I have not been able to ride my bike for a week since I retired from the 2 day stage race in England last weekend, I have problems with breathing", explained Mary Boyd.
"This is my best finishing position", said Trudy Brown, "I am fairly new to road racing as I am a triathlete; I upped the pace on the last lap but I am pleased with my race. Mary is so very experienced".
1. Mary Boyd Team Letchworth-Extran 1 hr 21 mins 10 secs
2. Trudy Brown Northern CC-Dave Kane same
3. Mary McKee Phoenix CC same
4. Ann McFarland Omagh Wheelers at 2 mins
5. Hillary Thomas Phoenix CC at 3 mins 14 secs
6. Margaret Curran Omagh Wheelers at 4 mins
7. Gillian Orr EX MTB at 7 mins
UNDER 14 YEARS OF AGE
1. Nadine Morris Ballymena Road Club
2. Katrina McKernan Ballymena Road Club
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