By Tony Mairs
Forty four riders of all ages and categories took part in the annual Irish track cycling season opener – the Duane Delaney Track Grand Prix. The event is a Omnium event with 3 “sprint” events favouring the fast men and women and an endurance scratch race to give the track sprinters a hard time.
The events for all categories took place in the following order:
(1) Flying 200 meter TT
(2) Mile (Max 10 per Heat)
(3) Scratch Race (10-15 laps depending on category)
Final event for top 8 in each category only:
(4) Standing Start 500 meter TT
Fine weather was in store for all at the track this June day with little wind and enough sun to ensure that many left the velodrome looking like fried lobsters.
The day started with the 200m flying TT and first up were the women and it was Gilford powerhouse Shenna McKiverigan who recorded the fastest time to gain a full 8 points with former World Masters Champion Orla Hendron (Scott Orwell) having to settle for second and Fiona Guihan (Irish Centre For Cycling) coming in third.
Thomas Kabs (Sundrive Track Team) took the top spot in the C category ahead of Neil McShane (U/A) and Paul Atkinson (McNally Swords).
In the B event, Ballymoney CC’s Arthur Taggart was fastest in a time of 12.68 seconds ahead of Sundrive’s Dave Sherlock and Rob Murphy with promising newcomer Marc O’Brien (Arcane Cycling Team) in fourth.
Current Irish National sprint champion Eamonn Byrne was on form and won in the A category with a PB time of 11.19s which is very impressive and a faster time than many internationals have achieved at Sundrive. The muscly Dublin man beat Belfast’s Tony Mairs into 2nd with Ronan Sherman competing on home soil for third position between successful trips racing abroad.
Next up was the Mile dash. This can be an exciting one to watch from the track centre and it did not disappoint. In the ladies it was a duel between two mighty women as multi worlds medalist Orla Hendron edged out Shenna McKiverigan in the final kick to the line with Sofie Loscher (Sundrive Track Team) grabbing third.
The C category was won by Paul Atkinson who made it to the line first over Paul O’Connell and Brian Coonan (Naas CC). Arthur Taggart used his sprint to win the B category with a powerful Rob Murphy (Sundrive Track Team) coming in second and the ceaseless Ger Ivory (Bray Wheelers) taking third spot.
Tony Mairs stayed out of trouble until 300 meters to go and won over an intimidatingly beefy Eamonn Byrne and Xeno Young coming third showing some top track craft and speed.
Just in case the riders missed a bit of suffering the scratch race would soon take care of that. The temperature was high and the fatigue was settling in for many.
Once again Shenna Mckiverigan would win over a battling Sofie Loscher with Fiona Guihan rounding off the top three women. Thomas Kabs took another victory over Paul Atkinson and Paul Tierney who came in third in the C category.
Paul Swenarton (North Down CC) was victorious in the 12 lap scratch race over fast first year rider Marc O’Brien and World Masters Champion Susie Mitchell.
Xeno Young took a great win over the tough and gritty Darragh Zaidan of Arcane Cycling Team and top Vet John Caffrey (Lucan CRC) coming in third. In the scorching heat that sapped our energy a special mention must go to multiple National Track Champion Eimear Moran who rode out of her skin like a champ with men in the A category.
Tony Mairs withstood the high temperatures to finish best of the sprinters grabbing two points over a visibly dejected Byrne, but Xeno Young now led the A category going in to the final event the 500m TT…
This is the final event and one to test the pace out of the start gate and also the speed endurance of riders who are by this stage very, very tired.
It looked like it would be Shenna McKiverigan’s race to lose and despite a difficult start out of the gate she stormed the velodrome with a blistering time of 40.34 seconds winning the women’s 500m TT and the race overall. The U16 Amanda Gallagher (Caldwell Cycles) proved that she is a force to be reckoned with after riding a superb time of 41.56 seconds ahead of Fiona Guihan who finished in 42.09 seconds.
In the C’s Thomas Kabs rode a great 500m to win over Paul O’Connell and cement his C category over all title. Paul Tierney (Scott Orwell) finished third in the 500m TT.
John Blackwell recorded the fastest 500m in the B’s over both U16 sprinter Arthur Taggart who is showing his future potential and Dave Sherlock both who recorded the same time of 38.97 seconds.
Going into the 500m TT Xeno Young was leading the overall in the A category with 19pts over Tony Mairs who was on 17pts. Mairs had to finish three places higher than Young to secure the overall A title.
He was up against the very fast although clearly tired sprinters of Eamonn Byrne, Ronan Sherman and Tony Mairs. A drained Ronan Sherman recorded a time of 35.37 with the bison sized Eamonn Byrne coming in with a PB at 35.10 seconds which he was incontestably ecstatic with having ridden to two PBs in one day, but it was up to Mairs to win the 500m TT which he did in a time of 34.63 seconds not far off his PB and still the second fasted ever 500m in Ireland. He finished the A event a single point clear of Xeno Young.
After all that is was definitely time for some after-sun and cold drinks! This was a great event and ran like clockwork as usual and the riders had were extremely well looked after, a very big thank you to everyone who helped things running very smoothly!
Duane Delaney Overall:
1st) Shenna McKiverigan (Powerhouse Sports) – 31pts
2nd) Thomas Kabs (Sundrive Track Team) – 29pts
3rd) Dave Sherlock (Sundrive Track Team) – 27pts
1st) Shenna McKiverigan (Powerhouse Sports) – 31pts
2nd) Orla Hendron (Orwell Wheelers) – 24pts
3rd) Fiona Guihan (Irish Centre For Cycling) – 23pts
1st) Thomas Kabs (Sundrive Track Team) – 29pts
2nd) Paul Atkinson (McNally Swords) – 24pts
3rd) Paul O’Connell (Usher IRC) – 23pts
1st) Dave Sherlock (Sundrive Track Team) – 27pts
2nd) John Blackwell (U/A) – 24pts
3rd) Arthur Taggart (Ballymoney CC)
1st) Tony Mairs (Arcane Cycling Team) – 25pts
2nd) Xeno Young (Powerhouse Sports) – 24pts
3rd) Eamonn Byrne (Sundrive Track Team) – 22pts
U16 boys – Arthur Taggart (Ballymoney Cycling Club)
U16 girls – Amanda Gallagher (Caldwell Cycles)
National Record: 500m TT 40.34s – Shenna Mckiverigan (Powerhouse Sports)