It wasn’t a night for fast times, but Brian McArdle braved the cold and the damp to finish fastest in the league’s round five 10TT at Batterstown.

With heavy showers throughout the day, it was feared the turnout for the first 10TT of the 2014 league would suffer, but in fact it surpassed last year’s similar test. 46 riders signed on despite lingering misty conditions and crosswinds, with seeded start times thanks to Dave Mc.

Chief league organisers Eddy Lane and Damien Long were on the scene to start riders off, with seatpost numbers for easy identification by Jen Sheridan as they crossed the finish line. And of course the usual helpful contingent of marshals keeping everyone safe.

It was Gavin Dodd who set the early time to beat, his time of 24’01” eventually placing a fine 6th overall, and Frank Moriarty’s 25’30” standing throughout the evening as the fastest Limit time. That time was all the more impressive in the context of the next best placed Limit riders, over thirty seconds further back - David Bradley, Gavin Moutray and Paul Burgess all finishing within ten seconds of each other. Rounding out the Limit prizes were Graham Scanlon and Michael Hanley.

In Semi-limit, Corkagh Park winner David Maher was top finisher, 13th overall with 25’04”. Ken O’Neill was less than ten seconds behind, with Garry Blair not quite managing to match his Pine Forest performance, but still standing on the Semi-limit podium. Julian Moore took 4th, while Paul Brosnan crossed the line 5th, an encouraging indication of recovery from his broken elbow.

Seamus Nolan held on for the final prize despite taking a slight detour at the halfway roundabout - his time was only separated from Brosnan's by hundredths of seconds, and with Moore only another second ahead, Nolan could have finished two places higher but for that small error.

Dick O’Brien showed his 15th place in the Gorey TT stage was no fluke, repeating his standout ride from the opening league round to post the fastest Semi-scratch time and coming an excellent home 4th overall in 23’50”, despite foregoing aerobars. The recently demoted Valdis Andersons was nipping at his heels four seconds back, and will no doubt be floating back to Scratch soon enough.

Ed O’Mahony’s last-minute decision to sign on paid a decent reward, snagging 3rd in his category, with his Gorey teammate Fionn Sheridan just two seconds behind in 4th. Sheridan managed to shave over a minute off his previous course best, a significant gain. Jamie Busher - another Gorey man - was the 5th Semi-scratch finisher and 9th overall, and just outside the top ten but under 25 minutes was Jules Cantwell for the last placing.

Gorey clearly gave many a boost in form, with Philippe Bourdarias only a single second behind Brian McNally for the last two sets of points in Scratch. Dodd’s early time put him in 4th for the category, but the last three men off were the top three finishers – all A1 riders benefiting from a post-Rás Mumhan form bump.

As the reigning club 10TT Champ, Eric Downey was last off, but last night his usual strong legs deserted him to a certain extent - 23’27” leaving him over a minute off his PB, but still doing enough to take the bronze position from Dick O’Brien by over 30”.

Patrick O’Brien was pushing hard on his TT bike, which helped him hold off Downey’s often superior challenge by a mere six seconds for 23’21”. However, he lost precious time when he had to negotiate a build-up of traffic at the turning point, and may well rue what might’ve been.

The top finisher of the night was Brian McArdle, who came closest to his PB of the trio – just five seconds shy in 23'03”. As Club PRO, McArdle is well known for writing about himself in the third person, and - as he tells anyone who will listen – broke his collarbone at Christmas, so the result is a great sign of a return to form.

McArdle in action in last year's hill climb champs

Full results are available on the forum.

It's David Maher's points which do the most in the overall – putting him top of league ahead of Pat O'Brien and Fionn Sheridan, while Dick O'Brien and Brian McNally are just off the podium in joint 4th. Still plenty of time for change though, with the first road race taking place next week!


Orwell League R5: Black Bull 10TT (1/5/2014)

1 Frank Moriarty
2 David Bradley
3 Gavin Moutray
4 Paul Burgess
5 Graham Scanlon
6 Michael Hanley

1 David Maher
2 Ken O'Neill
3 Garry Blair
4 Julian Moore
5 Paul Brosnan
6 Seamus Nolan

1 Dick O'Brien
2 Valdis Andersons
3 Ed O'Mahony
4 Fionn Sheridan
5 Jamie Busher
6 Jules Cantwell

1 Brian McArdle
2 Patrick O'Brien
3 Eric Downey
4 Gavin Dodd
5 Brian McNally
6 Philippe Bourdarias