There were 34 riders at this week’s league race. With the finish line moved to the top of the 1km mark (under the bridge on top of the ramp), this was always going to be a tough race. Little did the back group know it would be as tough as it was. There were 3 groups as per usual with the first group getting a 5 minute head start. The middle group was the largest this week and a lot of strong riders snook into it. They had a 2 minute gap on the back group and managed to hold off the last group until the last 100m in what was a great finish.
All 3 bunches seemed to work well together this week with far less bodies strewn across the course. The fine weather conditions meant the pace was fast from the start. Going around the roundabout in Nenagh none of the 3 groups had come together yet, but there wasn’t too much distance between them. As we turned back into the wind things got tougher for the back group as the initial tough pace meant that very few were now able to roll through consistently. Up ahead the middle group had caught the first group and with their numbers swelled they worked very hard and kept a 45 second gap almost the whole way to Birdhill.
There was no time for break away attempts in the back bunch as they kept plugging away and whittling down the gap. As more and more of the last group recovered after the Yellowbridge pub climb, the pace increased and they could see there was a chance of catching the group ahead. Coming into Birdhill the last group were about 20 seconds behind with only really the last uphill 1km remaining. Aaron O’Brien kicked before the hill and took Seán Yelverton, Kenneth Kennedy and Shane Scully with him. Kenneth rolled over and emptied the tank before the hill in an attempt to get them up to the bunch ahead. Seán then took over and did the same for the two remaining lads, getting them onto the back of a strung out bunch. Up the climb they went picking off the bunch one by one.
With 250m remaining Graham Prendergast, Ken Costelloe and Jeff Punch had started their final push for the line. However, Aaron had snuck up on them and was able to overtake them within the last 100m. Graham managed to hold on for 2nd with Shane getting up for 3rd ahead of KenCostelloe and Jeff Punch. That was one heck of a good ride from everyone. The tired and broken bodies at the end were testament to this!
Next up: Race 10 takes place next Thursday at 7:00pm.
Final Results: Top 5
1. Aaron O’Brien
2. Graham Prendergast
3. Shane Scully
4. Ken Costelloe
5. Jeff Punch
Video of the sprint finish