On Patrick’s Day the Tom Sheehan Memorial A3 and Junior Race was run over five laps of a 20KM circuit near Carrick on Suir. It is a classic race that has been won by some illustrious riders, including the current top man, Sam Bennett. To get there from Allihies is a 550KM round trip, so we left on Saturday and stayed in Blarney with some friends. Neil deliberately missed a race on Saturday as he wasn’t feeling his best on Friday, deciding instead to save himself for the Tom Sheehan event. This turned out to be a wise choice as he subsequently went on to win the Tom Sheehan race in fine style. A break went away on lap one and it got a two minute lead before anybody seemed to feel the need to chase. The break was eventually caught though and on the start of the last lap Neil and four other riders broke away.
On the last corner coming into the steep uphill finish, Neil powered on and came home with a good few bike lengths for First place. Neil needed fifth place in the race to move up to an A2 race license. Neil now has 19 points from his two races this year. His next race will be with the A1 and A2 riders so it will be longer and faster. A great start to the season.
The first four in the winning break were
Neil Hodges Killarney CC
Alex Sparrow Bandon CC
Bernard Sweeney Killorglin CC
Conor Coleman Panduit Carrick Wheelers
Some reworked photos of the race
Neil now has 19 points from his two races this year. His next race will be with the A1 and A2 riders so it will be longer and faster. A great start to the season.
Tom Sheehan Memorial A3 and Junior Race
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Neil started his 2019 season with a second place in the A3 and Junior Ras Luimni race, which starts in the County Limerick village of Caherconlish. The race was organised by Limerick Cycling Club, and held over three laps of a 30KM circuit. The weather conditions were not very nice with plenty of wind and rain. At the end of lap one a break of seven riders had formed including Neil. Half way through the lap Neil and Jason Kenny from UCD had forged on ahead and that is the way it ended with a comfortable 2 minute gap. Jason got the better of Neil at the end of the last lap and came in a good ten seconds ahead of Neil.
So Neil who is now riding for Killarney Cycling Club has 9 points from one race and needs 6 more to move up to an A2 licence. Jason Kenny had already won a race earlier in the season so already moves up to A2.
Ras Luimni A3 and Junior Race
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West Cork had a good showing at the traditional end of season Charleville 2 day stage race.
The main A2/A3 race took place over two days and three stages. On Saturday there was an 80km road race where Neil was 24 seconds behind the winner, but importantly at the same time as nearly every other rider. On Sunday morning the 6KM time trial was run and Neil was in the top twenty times.
Watch a short video here….
Charleville two Day Stage race 2018
Stage three was a tough climbers circuit of 90KM and Neil went hard on the climbs and ended up in a three man break. They had a 38 second lead at the end and importantly the third place rider Tom Shanahan from Limerick was two seconds slower than Neil which meant that Neil was the winner on General Classification by only one second.
The rider who won the stage was Jeremy Canty from Bantry riding for Bandon Cycling Club.
In the A4 race Den Bat O’Sullivan was in the winning team for the race, De Ronde Cycling club from Cork city.
Well Neil’s second go at Gorey and what a story. Riding for the Munster team again which had seven riders. Unfortunately two dropped out on day one so the team was left with Tom O’Connor and Neil Hodges from Kanturk O’Leary Stone, Jamie O’Donoghue from Kilarney cycling club, Sean Lynch from Cork County cycling club and Pat Sheehan from Sliabh Luachra. Lot’s of training and extra experience one year on. So a good first stage riding strongly to finish with the bunch. A few lads up the road with over a minute lead. But finishing same time as most riders.
Second day had the time trial and 99 KM road race. The time trial was not too bad and made up some time on other riders bringing him up the GC rankings. A few lads with some very top class Time Trial bikes made it hard for others to be competitive, maybe fairer if all riders at this level had to use the same bike for all stages…
The road race some some aggressive riding with a group finishing ahead of the main bunch, Neil was chasing this group with an other rider so got 50 seconds advantage on the main bunch which put him into 14th position on GC.
Third day the weather was terrible and the bunch finished together with most riders getting same time as winner. The 14th place on GC was held and the race was over. These stage races really make for great races and interesting weekends. The next one will be the Kanturk Three day beginning of May. Between then and now though a few Sunday races.
Gorey Three Day Race 2018
Watch a short video here
All the photos from the Weekend
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Took part in the B race of the De Ronde cyclo cross race located at the Tramore Valley Park on the outskirts of Cork city. I was told to get to the first corner first and work from there. It worked out fine and I built up a strong lead until the finish line where I got first place.
Gorey Three Day Cycle Race was great experience. Three stages of 103KM, 123KM and 93KM over the bank holiday weekend. Had a bad stage one but did well on stages two and three. Here are some pictures of the race and a short film of the start and finish of stage 3.
The average speed for the whole race was 40KMH, not too shabby.
Watch a short film here below.
Gorey Three Day Cycle Race
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Hunt Aero Wheels 31 Deep 24 Wide just arrived here un boxed and got ready for use. I used a pair of nice Shimano Ultegra wheels last year for racing that were very good value for money at 300 €. These wheels are a bit more and like my Ultegras I now have them ready to go with Schwalbe Pro One 25MM tyres with 25ML of sealant and an Ultegra cassette 14-28 for Junior gearing.