Weir lifts the Harry Ferguson Cup

DROMARA Cycling Club held their annual Harry Ferguson Memorial Cup Road Race as part of their club league on August 12.

The race started from the Memorial Garden on the Magheraconluce Road, Ballykeel and in attendance were members of the Harry Ferguson Celebration Committee.

This race is now in its fourth year and has continued to grow in popularity with the race attracting 60 riders among them 14 guests from other clubs. The cyclists and spectators were greeted with a blustery evening with overcast skies.

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Riders were split into five groups with starting handicaps set by Trevor Annett, club secretary for Dromara Cycling Club.

Racing got underway just after 7pm with the first group of 13 riders setting off, among them five youth riders.

Group Two, also with 13 riders, left six minutes later. Group Three was the smallest group on the night with just 7 members and they left three minutes after Group Two.

Group Four was the biggest group with 18 riders and they set off three minutes behind Group Three. Finally, the nine strongest riders went off in Group Five, just one-and-a-half minutes after Group Four but 13 and a half behind Group One which equated to over one lap on the short 2.86 mile course.

The groups were preceded by motorcycle outriders, five of whom were from the Ghostriders motorcycle club based in the village of Dromara..

The riders had nine laps to complete and the pace was quick from the start. This early pace along with the strong winds and challenging climb up Rafferty's Hill took its toll on the riders with 23 of the 60 pulling out.

Due to the short distance of the circuit groups four and five, had to unlap themselves before starting the race proper. This gave the timekeepers a challenging time as the groups caught and passed slower riders.

Newcomer Neill McAvoy was placed in Group One, as he had only been cycling for four weeks, but he had already learn enough about road racing and managed to hang on to Group Three as they made up their nine minute deficit. Neill was able to continue to the line to finish first almost unnoticed, much to his delight.

Youth rider Christopher Weir was the first Dromara cyclist over the line having put in a great performance as he had to keep up to the pace set by race secretary Nigel Sudlow.

Paul Wilkinson (West Down Wheelers) was third and got in before the big sprint between Simon Welby, Ronnie Smyth, Darren Weir and Banbridge Cycling Club youth sensation Mark Downey who finished in this order.

Finishing on his own was Davy McKnight just before another big sprint finish between Gavin Magowan, Noel Gibson, Gary Gibson and Chris Magowan. In total just 19 riders finished all nine laps of this very fast but hilly circuit. In the four lap junior race Eoghan McGuigan finished first ahead of Mark Cantley.

After the race the Harry Ferguson Memorial Cup was presented to Christopher Weir by George Cromie of the Celebration Committee. Dromara Cycling club would like to thank the timekeepers, the marshals, the motorbikers from Ghostriders and to the members of the Harry Ferguson Celebration Committee for their continued support.