On a gorgeous night in Corkagh Park, it was two strong riders with perfect timing who came out best - Bryan Geary in the Limit race, and David Swift in the Scratch.

With the warm sunshine drawing out the crowds, there were nearly forty riders for the first race of the evening, with 21 Semi-limit chasing 16 Limit. The bigger group got on terms with about four laps to go, meaning a big bunch gallop to decide the winner.

Stephen Barry accelerated off the front on the final bend, and looked to have it in the bag when Bryan Geary pipped him on the line. A strong former junior, Geary waited patiently about third wheel for much of the race, and then timed his sprint to perfection. With strength and a fine sprint at his disposal, we suspect Geary will be signing on as Semi-scratch next week.

Behind that pair, R2 winner Conor Murnane was clear of the pack for 3rd, while Jules De Meester held off evergreen Paul Tansey to take 4th. Keith Harte took the last prize for 6th, after placing 2nd last week.

The combined bunch toward the end of last night's race

Geary sprinting on the drops for the win

For the scratch race, again two similar sized bunches chased each other - 11 hunting 13. Scratch worked well together at first, and Semi-scratch fragmented under the pressure. Once the SS leaders were in sight however, the attacks began from the pursuers. Eric Downey and Darragh Long both tried their luck, but it was David Swift who chose his moment perfectly, swinging around the top corner after the finish, and driving into the headwind to tag on to the leading SS group.

It was his Gorey teammate Fionn Sheridan who smartly joined his surge forward, and together the duo brought back Brian McNally, with that trio staying away to contest the win. Swift had enough left in his legs to take the triumph, while McNally bettered Sheridan behind.

For the latter half of the placings, the A1s of the club battled it out, with the recently upgraded Philippe Bourdarias not quite managing to come around Pat O'Brien, and Downey trailing the top sprinters to take 6th.

On the second last lap, Ronan Grimes suffered a rear blowout on a bend, resulting in a tumble and plenty of cuts and bruises, but thankfully nothing serious.

The Semi-scratch bunch

The Scratch chasers, with Swift on the front

Sheridan, Swift and McNally in the winning break

That win puts Swift top of the league, having gotten placings in every event so far in 2014. Next week is the 10TT - see the forum for details!

All photos thanks to Paul Swift, with more available at Facebook.


Orwell League R4: Corkagh Park Criterium (25/4/2014)

Race #1 (L/SL)
1 Bryan Geary (SL)
2 Stephen Barry (SL)
3 Conor Murnane (SL)
4 Jules De Meester (L)
5 Paul Tansey (SL)
6 Keith Harte (SL)

Race #1 (SS/S)
1 David Swift (S)
2 Brian McNally (SS)
3 Fionn Sheridan (SS)
4 Patrick O'Brien (S)
5 Philippe Bourdarias (S)
6 Eric Downey (S)