Ras Teach Malain: Stamullen 2 Day
Stage 2 of the Stamullen 2-day was run over 13 laps of a 2 mile circuit around Gormanstown. Myself & Jason finished 9th & 10th on the previous stage, and this meant McNally Swords was placed 5th in the Team standings, only 2 points behind 3rd, so it was all to play for. We had a team talk and decided we had to have a Swords rider cover every move that went up the road. I was disappointed at missing the break on stage 1, which went clear when three riders contested a prime and kept going, but I was determined to make up for it today. After about 6 laps, a group of 5 riders went clear and I knew this what the move I had t o be in. I attacked on the main road, using another rider who was stranded between the bunch and the break as a stepping stone. Upon reaching the lone rider we worked hard together to make contact with the break and were soon joined by Keith Sharkey. We had the gap down to 30 yards or so but as we were fast approaching the turn off the main road, where the break would have the advantage of a strong tailwind, I knew it was now or never to bridge the gap. I took a good racing line into the corner ensuring I came out of it a full speed , and gave it everything to close down those last few yards, which all bike riders know are usually the ones that hurt the most! Unfortunately my compatriots didn’t quite get on before the tailwind and now, with just 3 laps remaining, the break was up to 6 (thankfully including me!) . Our advantage was about 30 seconds, and all 6 riders were working hard to ensure we stayed clear. A time check with 2 laps to go told us that our advantage was now down to 20 seconds, and on the bell we still has 15. On the main road, someone let a wheel go and Karl Dolan got a decisive gap. So what do I do? Try to jump across, bringing everyone with me, or wait for the sprint. As no one else seemed able or willing to counter, I decided to wait for the sprint. When we were in the finishing straight, I could see the bunch was only about 200 yards behind, but we had only about 300 yards to the line. I was placed about 4th in line, behind Jonathon Ryan (Stamullen MD) . He started his sprint and I went on his wheel. I came around Jonathon, and drew level with Ben Delaney (Bray Wh), and it was a shoulder to shoulder all the way to the line, with me taking it by half a wheel. I was happy with taking the sprint for 2nd place on the stage which also secured 2nd Overall in the event and Ben couldn’t have been too disappointed as 3rd gave him overall victory. Jason Kelly was 3rd in the main bunch (9th on the stage) and this helped bring us up to 3rd Team. Overall an enjoyable 2 days racing thanks to Gay, Kay and the Stamullen club and it was finished with dinner, and presentation in the Cock Tavern where we had a rare chance to socialise with our fellow competitors.