40 riders signed on in Roundwood on Saturday morning to give their all in the Noel and Kieran Hammond Memorial time trial. With plenty of prizes on offer, competition was tight, but defending champion Ian Richardson took the overall from Sean McKenna with 22" to spare. Conor Murnane walked away with the Kieran Hammond trophy, awarded this year to the top Junior.

Forty was a great increase on the ~30 testers of 2014, with plenty of incentives thanks to the sponsorship of BikeFitting Ireland. Nine sets of prizes were on offer for the top two in each category, as well as team prizes.

The day opened with the youth racers tackling a shorter course, with three youngsters setting times, and Seán Murnane unlucky to DNF due to a mechanical. Orwell's Andrew Ryan faced no competition in the U12 category, his time of 22'09" setting the standard for future competitors.

In the U14s, Will Ryan saw off home rider Uisneach Sheridan, who clocked in at 19'13". The visitor was resplendent in his national time trial champ's jersey, the fastest of all the youth riders with 16'33".

The seniors had to face a daunting 32km of rolling and lumpy terrain, with plenty of sharp corners to test their technical abilities.

Former National Champion Melanie Spaeth was the only other rider to DNF, suffering a mechanical only a few kilometres from the finish line. Aishling Barry of Lucan made the most of her absence to score a win in the women's category with 1:01:07, beating Orwell's Helen Horan into 2nd place by a little under two minutes.

For the Juniors, the only female competitor was Naoise Sheridan. The Scratch champion opted to skip the National Omnium Championships, and her time in Wicklow of 1:05:44 wasn't far behind some of the senior times despite her restricted gearing.

Conor Murnane (Orwell Wheelers) continued a strong showing of form this year to clinch in the win for the Junior Men. He beat Bray's Sam Gilmore by over four minutes to earn the Kieran Hammond Memorial trophy. Previously awarded to the top A3, this year the club realised it's long held ambition to make this cup the Junior prize again.

The competition was formerly the Kelly-Roche junior classic, organised by Kieran until his unfortunately premature passing. It used to get huge fields in the 90s, and only become the Vets and Cs prize when after years of steady decline there was a year that no Juniors showed up. This year there was four, and we hope to see that number continue to increase in future editions.

In the A4 section, Orwell's most prolific category once again rallied to the challenge and took both prizes. Having faced off on Thursday night in the club's 10TT Champs, this time the tables were turned, as Freddie Stevens and Ken O'Neill's margin remained two seconds, but Stevens was on top on this occasion, with 54'02".

National Duathlon champion Cathal O'Donnabhain (Aquablue) topped the A3s with a scorching time of 47'32" that put him on the overall podium as well. A similarly strong performance, 2nd placed John McGettigan of St. Tiernan's was 4th overall, the pair of A3s - along with David Carroll (Usher IRC) beating all the A2 entrants.

McGettigan will enjoy bragging rights over clubmate Fergal May, who was the fastest A2, holding off Slipstream's Declan Kinch. Kinch has some consolation in winning the team prize along with Denis McCarthy and Paul Kinch - 8th, 9th and 10th respectively.

The team prize was resurrected as a little nod to history, and lies in the origin of the Noel Hammond memorial trophy. In its very first incarnation in the 1930s it was known as the Rudge Whitworth 50, and was awarded in the 30s and 40s for the winners of a team 50 mile time trial (not the same as a 50 mile team time trial!), where teams of 6 were invited to compete and the best 4 times counted.

This year the best 3 times counted, which resulted in some very tight placings. A single second separated the Wexford-based Slipstream trio's 2:34:13 from nearest rivals UCD's 2:34:14. Slipstream all finished within 22 seconds of each other, while UCD's placings were more spread out - 1st place winner Richardson, top ten A3 Colm Ferrari and A4 Timothy Duffy in 28th.

3rd place on the team podium was a tie between Wheelers - promoters Orwell (O'Mahony, McNally, Rowsome) and the local Bray club (Dunne, Howick, O'Caoilte), the top three times of each totalling 2:38:37.

For the senior men's podium, A3 winner Cathal O'Donnabhain took the bronze placing with 47'32", while Aquablue's Sean McKenna won silver on 45'53". Enjoying a hugely successful 2015, McKenna is no stranger to Orwell, having raced with the club until his move to UCD a couple of years ago. He would also be quite familiar with the Noel Hammond Memorial - his uncle Ciaran McKenna won the 1984 edition.

The day belonged to Ian Richardson of UCD however. He has now scored a third consectutive win for UCD, his victory last year following that of Eoin Morton the year before. That means that UCD have won every edition of the Hammond Memorial since it reverted to its time trial format in 2013.

Having taken two county prizes at this year's An Post Rás, as well as winning the blue jersey on stage 1, and defending it to the final finish line in Skerries, Richardson is clearly in phenomenal form. He'll be a marked man for National Champs at the end of the month, in both disciplines.

Thanks to BikeFitting Ireland for their sponsorship, and to Aidan Hammond, Dave McLoughlin and Jen Sheridan for their superb organisational skills on the day and during the run-in. Many thanks also to all the volunteers who came out to marshal corners and encourage the participants

Full results, times and photos available at Hammond TT 2015 Results

 

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