The second round of the Appleby-Orwell Crit League took place last night in a wild and windy Corcagh Park.  Hairschtyles were firmly pinned down and stetsons donned as a huge turnout of 45 riders took to the track in a determined fashion, ready to do battle with the gales. One lady in particular stole the show early on in the evening and was the focus of a lot of justified attention. Big brown eyes, long slender legs and eyelashes to die for .......John Hammers beautiful dog Lola, who was making her debutante appearance at Corcagh Park. She was superb in her unofficial role as ‘ladies crit league therapy dog’, offering a furry ear to scratch and a waggy tail to help calm the pre-race nerves for both racers and supporters alike.

The B race was first out of the blocks with an impressive count of 28 riders on the start line. The B- were given a 30 second head start on the B- women and worked extremely well together, until the second group of more experienced B riders began to gain ground and the groups eventually converged. Thanks to Scott-Orwell riders Muirna, Grainne and Irene for riding with the less experienced group for the first few laps to mentor and keep a watchful eye

The B race in a Flying V formation!

A significant amount of work was done in the chasing group by Helen White (Stamullen), Aisling O’Connor (Scott Orwell), Arron Fox (Belpark) and Emma Desmond (De Ronde Van).  The final push for the line was dominated by Helen White (Stamullen) who pulled out a small gap on the closing laps and managed to hold it to claim first over the line. The win was closely followed by Hannah Tilly (Arcane CC) a very promising youth rider and rounding off the top four places were Arron Fox (Belpark) and Aishling O’Connor (Scott Orwell). Following shortly after in 5th place was Catherine Mahoney with another up and coming junior rider in 6th place, Caoimhe May (Scott Orwell).

B race leading group

The second star of the night (aside from Lola!) was the very Brilliant Bates (Gerard DHL) who launched a blistering attack on the A group early on in the race. Sofie Loscher (Sundrive) made a very strong and temporarily successful bid to stay on her wheel, but Jennifer managed to extend a gap after several laps.

Jen & Sophie make the break!

Not content with creating distance between herself and the rest of the field, Jen proceeded to determinedly try and lap several of the riders on the course and lap she did – catching all but the first chasing group by the end of the race. An extremely impressive solo performance by Blistering Bates, particularly in the context of the challenging headwind.

Sofie’s brave effort was eventually caught by the chasing group of Bea Golzak (Arcane), the Scott-Orwell Monica duo of Freiband and Marconi, Niamh Stephens (TC Racing) and Lyndsey Bryce (Dublin Wheelers CC ).  The group worked extremely well together for the remainder of the race with a tightly contested bunch sprint for placings at the end.  Lyndsey won the battle for second with her trademark strong sprint effort with Sofie (3rd) and Bea 4th) hot on her wheel coming over the line. The initial 3 were swiftly followed by Monica Squared and Niamh taking 5th 6th and 7th slots with little separating the group.

A race group with one lap to go

The second chasing group also worked well together with the remaining racers dotted in pockets around the course due to the race being blown apart early by the wind. Of note was Louise Keane’s  (Scott Orwell) new approach to cycle attire as she donned an  interesting ‘I’m only wearing one sock’ look. The jury is out on whether this was an attempt to create a new cycling trend or an endeavour to reduce drag going round the corners. Report to follow J!

Louise "One Sock" Keane

As always, the event does not run without the help of our marshals and supporters. Thanks due to Shaun and John for helping to organise the groups and send us off from the start line. Thank you to Sinead who did a marvellous job of being Tea Lady and helped keep us all fed and full of the ever welcome Cup of Tay and a Bun. Thank you to Luke GJ and Emily for capturing the essential video clips of the finishing line. To Brendan Culleton and John Hammer for taking some super photos and capturing lovely memories of a very enjoyable evening – they are much appreciated by the lovely ladies and we look forward to seeing them each week.

Big thanks due to Orla H for her trojan efforts in organising the league and also to ‘One Sock Keane’, her very able PA in helping to pull everything together. To Genevieve for her supply of delicious out of this world muffins and tasty sandwiches – thank you from all the racers and also from Lola who received her fair share of ‘treats’ last night and gave her seal of approval. Thank you to our new sponsors Appleby Jewellers and  our post race-yogurt suppliers Pro-U Yoghurt – your support is appreciated.

Lastly, thank you and well done to all the ladies for some great racing last night. Many closely fought encounters ensued  that forecast an exciting few weeks ahead as the battles progress in both A and B camps - with all still to play for at this early stage! See you all next week for sign on at 18:30

Until next week! Ciara Ni F

Photos from tonight by Brendan Culleton - Brendan's Photos Round 2

Photos of the B Race thanks to John Hammer - B Race John Hammer
Photos of the A Race thanks to John Hammer - A Race John Hammer

Results for tonights races -

B Race

 1. Helen White
2. Hannah Tilly
3. Arron Fox
4. Aishling O'Connor
5. Catherine Mahoney
6. Caoimhe May
7. Ciara Wilson
8. Helen Kelly
9. Emma Desmond
10. Noirin Mallon


A Race

 1. Jennifer Bates
2. Lyndsey Bryce
3. Sofie Loscher
4. Beata Golczak
5. Monica Frieband
6. Niamh Stevens
7. Monica Marconi
8. Sandra Fitzgerald
9. Gill Haverty
10. Maeve O'Grady 


Finish Line Videos (thanks to Luke GJ Potter)