Round one of the 2023 National Series took place on Sunday 26 March in Blarney. While there was no rain, there was enough wind to add to what was already a challenging course.

In the A1/A2/Junior race, run over 140km with some long, draggy climbs and a few short, sharp ones too, it took a while for a break to settle. With just two men about 40 seconds up the road, the attrition really kicked in after about 80km with another few riders getting dropped on every climb.

As the going got tough, Joe-Nathan Matar had a mechanical issue and had to withdraw. With about 60km to go a group of three more kicked on, along with a few chasers, including several juniors. Padraig O'Flynn lost contact with the dwindling bunch on the last significant climb while the action ahead was intense, with several groups up front breaking and remerging.

Arriving at the line in groups of 2 and 3, the first four riders were A1s, followed by second-year Junior Liam O'Brien from Mallow, who has had a storming start to the year. Two British juniors were next, followed a few seconds back by Orwell's Killian O'Brien, who out-sprinted another Junior to secure a remarkable eight place, in his first ever race over 80km. When he joined an early break one of the more senior riders suggested he go back to waiting in the bunch ... they might not say that next time!

The women's race was run over 90km. Yvonne Doran raced strongly throughout, just losing contact with a small leading group on the last climb. She time trialled her way to a strong fourth place finish.

A really strong start to the racing year continues for Orwell Wheelers.