Previous holder of the 25TT title, Tom Blennerhassett retook it in imperious style in R15 of the club league, while Ann Horan blazed to the women's title by nearly a minute over her nearest rival. R16 saw the lowest turnout yet for a round, with Eoin Byrne emerging triumphant in horrendous conditions.

Forty riders signed on for R15, most for the 25TT Championships, but including two youth riders who were completing a 10TT. Significantly, there were five women on the start list (with six eventually competing) so for the first time ever there was a championship race for the women. For those who are interested in such things, you only have to go back to 2007 to find a time that there weren't even five Orwell members in the 25TT altogether, irrespective of gender.

Half of those forty were taking part in a club 25TT for the first time, a very encouraging sign of the current health of the club. However, none came close to the overall winner Tom Blennerhassett, previous holder of both the 10TT and 25TT titles. His time of 56'20" set a new senior club record, and was nearly a minute ahead of Brian 'bridesmaid' McArdle (57'08"), who collected his 4th silver medal in a row for the flat time trial events. Defending champ Dick O'Brien earned bronze, and vehemently denied he had set a new vet record of 57'29" for the course.

For the women, last year's silver medallist Ann Horan took the title in 1h 7'42", leapfrogging Brianne Mulvihill (1h 8'33") who had bested her in the 10TT Champs. Horan posted a small improvement on her previous best, while Mulvihill was tackling it for the first time - as was Helen Horan who rounded out the podium in the bronze position with 1h 8'43".

Elsewhere in the result, Valdis Andersons was perhaps the most disappointed of the night, who took a massive 3'03" off his PB, but missed the last of the medals by only two seconds. Similar commiserations to Gavin Dodd who took 3'21" off his PB, recorded a 59'28", and still managed to miss out on the points entirely.

Most improved went to two underage riders - U16 Seán Murnane and Junior Naoise Sheridan, with both of them knocking over five and a half minutes off their records. Stephen Barry was the top debutant, just outside the hour with 1:00:58, and good enough for 10th overall.

The placings throughout the categories saw the top two Limit riders mixing it up with the Semi-limit placers, tied on time, but Roger McMorrow won out over Barry Mooney in the fractions of seconds. Luke Potter and Stephen Hayden were 3rd and 4th, with Hayden enjoying a run of form at present. The final points went to the top two female medallists Horan and Mulvihill.

Predictably, Dave McLoughlin topped Semi-limit, in amongst the Semi-scratch placers, with David Bradley in 2nd. Eoin Byrne, Richard Cattle and Kilian Doyle all finished within a minute of each other for 3rd-5th, with Colin Caesar taking the last points.

Jamie Busher was a fabulous 5th overall to take the prime position in semi-scratch, with coach Aidan Hammond also inside the overall top ten. The afore-mentioned Barry beat David Maher to 3rd by two seconds, with Seán Murnane in 5th, and Fionn Griffin 6th.

The three medallists took the top three Scratch spots, and Andersons was in 4th. Patrick O'Brien and Brian McNally both recorded sub-hour times to take the final placings in that category.

Full times available on the forum and in the spreadsheet at right.


With R15 having taken place in relatively mild conditions, R16 was a different scenario. Forecasts of heavy rain kept many at bay, with the numbers racing only just exceeding those marshalling. A new course at Tulfarris was intended to be used, but the rain had left a section of road greasy, and with it having been the scene of several car accidents during the day, the organisers wisely moved to the more familiar circuit at Manor Kilbride.

Three Limit and four Semi-limit set off together, chased by three Semi-scratch and four Scratch 7 minutes back, each group braving buckets of rain and freshening gusts. The catch was never made, with Eoin Byrne looking comfortable the whole way around as part of the front group that worked well together. He took the small bunch sprint, with Richard Cattle and Kilian Doyle hot on his heels. Fintan Keatinge earned 4th, while Sean Higgins took 5th and netted himself an upgrade to Semi-limit as the only Limit rider able for the pace.

Stephen Barry was the only rider from the Scratch group with the energy to launch an attack for the final placing.

Special word of thanks to the marshals who turned out on a miserable night to stand around and get wet and cold to keep the race safe.

Next week we head to Mondello for the Club Road Race Championships - information as usual on the forum!



Orwell League R15: 25TT Champs (9/7/2015)

Men's Medals
G Tom Blennerhassett - 56'20"
S Brian McArdle - 57'08"
B Dick O'Brien - 57'29"

Women's Medals
G Ann Horan - 1h 07'42"
S Brianne Mulvihll - 1h 08'33"
B Helen Horan - 1h 08'43"

1 Roger McMorrow
2 Barry Mooney
3 Luke Potter
4 Stephen Hayden
5 Ann Horan
6 Brianne Mulvihill

1 Dave McLoughlin
2 David Bradley
3 Eoin Byrne
4 Richard Cattle
5 Killian Doyle
6 Colin Ceasar

1 Jamie Busher
2 Aidan Hammond
3 Stephen Barry
4 David Maher
5 Sean Murnane
6 Fionn Griffin

1 Tom Blennerhassett
2 Brian McArdle
3 Dick O'Brien
4 Valdis Andersons
5 Patrick O'Brien
6 Brian McNally


Orwell League R16: Brittas RR (16/7/2015)

1 Eoin Byrne (SL)
2 Richard Cattle (SL)
3 Kilian Doyle (SL)
4 Fintan Keatinge (SL)
5 Sean Higgins (L)
6 Stephen Barry (SS)