That was another great race at this evening’s Nenagh Summer League. The last few races have seen a real battle between the host club Nenagh CC and Mego and this evening was no different, with Mego triumphing once again. The racing that went on beforehand was very aggressive and very fast with plenty of splits. Lots of people seem to be riding out of their skin at the moment and it is great to see that improvement.
The handicaps were better this evening but could still do with some tweaking. Due to another large sign on, we had 4 bunches on the road with handicaps of 4 mins, 5 mins, and 2 mins. The 3rd bunch was very large this week and contained some heavy hitters. For many, making the choice to chance the 3rd bunch instead of the 2nd bunch proved to be a bad one. We hate seeing people out the back straight away so choose better next week.
As per usual, the tail wind to Nenagh meant the pace was seriously fast. The scratch bunch worked well together but were only reeling in the 3rd bunch slowly. Up ahead our junior bunch worked well together and were first to turn at the roundabout. Things got much tougher for them once they turned back into the strong head wind and they began to lose time quickly. They were soon gobbled up by the 2nd and 3rd bunches, with the scratch group just 30 seconds back and closing fast.
All 4 groups merged at Mulrooney’s garage and the pace eased a fraction. This allowed a strong group of 4 to break away at the front. These early breaks rarely mount to anything but you never know unless you try. They were left dangling out there for a while as some of the other strong racers waited for the hill to jump across.
Heading past the Yellowbridge and a few in the back bunch got itchy feet and pressed on to close the gap. Doing all the closing down then leaves you vulnerable for when the real attacks go on the hill. When the attacks went, the large group split to bits and two men were out the front but plenty more were out the back. Seán Yelverton and Shane Scully pressed ahead but were caught by a chase bunch of 8 or so riders.
More attacks were thrown in immediately with a threatening break containing Paul Kennedy, Emmet Murphy and one or two others going clear. This was chased down 2 miles from Birdhill. Again the pace slowed as nobody wanted to do the work, with the hill finish approaching fast. This can be a great place to break if you have the power as few will be willing to be the one to chase. Paul Kennedy made his bid for glory on the road into Birdhill. He quickly built up a sizeable lead. Would he be able to hold on like Simon Ryan did the previous week?
Nenagh CC had 5 in the chase group and Mego had 2 so both had a great chance of victory. The Nenagh CC lads never let Paul get too far ahead but it was Vinny Gleeson that but in the big break to get up to Paul. Mike Browne from Nenagh CC was straight onto his wheel with Shane Scully and Seán Yelverton not far behind. This 4 hit the final ramp to the finish at speed. The climb is 1km in length and straight into a head wind so few make it from top to bottom out on their own.
Vinny put in a mighty push up to the 500m mark and closed the gap to Paul. He faded at this point and then Mike Browne put in a dig to get across. Shane and Seán were getting a free ride to the top. Neither wanted to lead the chase but Shane was forced into action with 300m to go as Mike ran a little out of steam. The pace upped and Paul was overtaken. Seán couldn’t be dropped and was rewarded with the simple task of coming around Shane at the end to take an impressive win.
Man of the Match certainly goes to Paul Kennedy but that line just didn’t come quick enough! Sinnead Oakes came home first lady with Denis Allen first junior over the line. It was great to see all our juniors finishing strong and battling all the way up the hill to the line. Ye are improving very quickly. Keep up the good work!
Thanks to our marshalls: Kevin Sherlock, Will Rymer and Benny Delaney.
1. Seán Yelverton
2. Shane Scully
3. Mike Browne
Next up: racing members – consider heading down to Blarney for the Munster Champs this Sunday if possible. Send Shane a text if you need a lift down in the campervan.
Video of the finish