The Newry 3 day is a firm favourite on the local calendar and one which Phoenix riders will always target. With clubs limited to 5 riders, Aaron McGrady, John Neil, David Neil, John Smyth and Karl Morgan rolled out for Phoenix.
Thanks to John Smyth for the following riders view of the race:
“First of all thanks very much to Jay for driving the team car on Friday night and Saturday and to Eamon Jnr for today. It is much easier for the riders knowing help is there if required and unfortunately I had to avail of it today. Its also very generous to give up a weekend to do this so from all the riders thanks very much.
Stage 1 – Friday – 3 .5 loops of the Warrenpoint to Newry carraigeway (a bit dull but very fast on tailwind section from newry to warrenpoint) and then a flat out sprint up Grinnan Rd. Big ring all the way. Karl and AAron stayed with the lead group of about 20. I lost touch near the top after getting held up on a narrow bit by boys going sideways. Full pelt to the line. Karl and Aaron placing 3rd and 4th.
Sat TT – 2.3 miles. 4.35 from Ingliss 4.47 for AAron and 4.52 for me – I felt awful during this – probably supposed to but v hard to get a rhythm. Karl and JN did this on road bikes and lost a bit of time. David unfortunately DNS due to bad chest.
Sat pm stage 3 – a 55 mile blast around Hilltown. 3 laps of Kilcoo circuit and then reed hall followed by elm hall and back down to finish in Hilltown. Good riding from the 4 of us with Aaron and karl again placing very highly and holding onto good GC positions. We were leading the team comp at this point.
Sunday 70 miles – seemed to cover most of Co Down and possibly a bit of Armagh. Break went at 5 miles. We did not have anyone in it but no problem 65 to go. Getting a bit worried when they had 3 mins plus. great effort from JN and Aaron from castlewellan to rafthfriland to close down most of the break which must have been down to 3 or so riders. Up rathfriland hill for first time (little ring here!) – great support from the Anti Social cheering us on squeezed a few watts more out of us. Hell for leather into Newry and then a real tough section back to Hilltown. Got dropped on rd out of newry but got back on just after Hilltown. Back into rathfriland with another surge of lactic acid screaming “whats wrong with golf at me”. Final lash into newry. Unfortunately I got into a tangle with another riders wheel 0.5 miles from Rathfriland and dented a kerb (yes bike ok but front wheel a bit square). Lost 2.5 mins due to this -and the team prize as well. Gutted as well as sore. Aaron, Karl and JN rode really well today on this stage and were very unlucky.
This is a brilliant race and I thoroughly enjoyed it bar the last 5 miles!. Super organisation and Marshalling from Newry and great support from PSNI. Aaron and Karl were very strong and there is much more to come from both of them. Aaron was very unlucky to drop down GC today – it was a strange stage. Great effort from JN today in the headwind section and then in an attempted break with 15 to go. David unlucky with illness. very strong wind over the 3 days made it a difficult race especially for the GC guys with limited teams.”
So mixed fortune for the team – fantastic individual performances and some bad luck with David’s illness and John’s crash. Congratulations to Karl who is now upgraded to A2.
Stage 1 report
Stage 3 report
Stage 4 report and final GC