Gorey 3 day 2014 report

Jeff Torrens-Spence, Jody Wright, Steve Geary and myself (Niall O’Gorman) represented Phoenix at 2014 edition of Gorey 3 day race. Team met at HOS @4pm with Jeff and Stevie driving. After stopping for quick Burger king at services and then on to Gorey by 8pm. Lack of team car was a bit of concern for the guys, but i was quietly confident because my uncle Gerry rides for South East Road Club (SERC) had promised to sort us out – more on that later.

Sat – Stage 1 127km Blessington to Gorey
We found out day before that stage 1 was increased to 127km – was 110km last year.
First question was how to get to Blessington. Jeff drove and left his car. Up stepped the SERC boys to bring 2 bikes up and get our extra gear back. The sun was shining so sun cream on. 190 riders rolling through town at brisk pace and past roundabout heading south.
Fast and furious, fighting for position all day to stay near front. Cars on right causing bunch to compress. Crashes. Guys shelled on the climbs at Hacketstown, Holts pass, Carnew (x2). Stevie was probably best positioned near front, rest of us mid-pack. I had a dig at Holts pass climb – only time i had open road knowing it was lining out behind.
I think we all felt distance – a case of hanging in bunch and possibly trying for late move. Unfortunately there was fatal car crash ahead of the race so we got stopped with 3km to go. Right decision. Terrible tragedy for that family.

Sun – Stage 2 (TT), Stage 3 96km Gorey-Carnew-Camolin circuit
I was up several times in night – stomach trouble. Not good. Brisk headwind for the TT but all the lads all put in good times. Jody 09:26, Me 09:38, Jeff 09:48, Stevie 10:00. Then it was quick 2hr turnaround before the afternoon stage – 4 laps of 24km. Almost straight away i was in trouble, back of the field. First time up Carnew hill I has last man to keep contact – guys behind me got shelled. It lined out over top, 60kph for next 8km. The LH turn at Camolin was into wind. Stevie again was well positioned at front, Jeff and Jody safe in pack, me eating bar tape at the back. Second time up Carnew hill, i got distanced but fought back on (again guys behind me shelled). But there was a gap in line ahead which meant a 60kph chase on empty legs. Stevie had mechanical and dropped back to check it out. He got going just before turn into wind. He passed me and fought like mad to get up through cars but no joy. At this stage my stomach was in bad way. We formed a grupetto and rode on. End of 2nd lap had to make emergency pit stop at the Statoil loo. 10mins later got going and it started lashing with rain, very cold. I rode on but completely empty and as i finished 3rd lap was pulled in. The race finished 5mins later, Jeff and Jody safe in bunch. Stevie came in 25min down. Cold and nearly hypothermic, SERC came to our rescue with van to take us back to B&B.

Mon – Stage 4 91km Gorey to Blessington
I felt a bit better and decided to give race a go. After his disappointment, Stevie was pumped to go on the attack. Jody was only seconds down on a top 10 GC place so plan was to sit tight and try for a late move. Again SERC helped us out to take stuff up to finish in van.
Really fast first hour – 43kph. Stevie was in early move up the road. Carnew was crazy – 50kph through town over ramps, bottles everywhere on road. Climb after Shillelagh was fast and lined out for ages on the descent. Turned north at Tullow into cross head wind which calmed it all down. A few more crashes but pace was a bit more steady up to Blessington. In the end we all came home in the sunshine and safely in the bunch.

Results & thanks
Team rode well all weekend in a huge field including some quality riders.  Jody was best of Phoenix riders in 27th, Jeff in 46th and Stevie in 112nd. I didn’t get a placing because i didn’t complete full distance on stage 3, but in end i was happy to complete the race back to Blessington.

Thanks to race committee for their support and a big thanks to John Rooney who supplied us with hand-written notes on what to expect, all of it 100% accurate. It is the Gorey bible. The B&B (Stone Lodge, Riverchapel) was excellent – great breakfast in the morning, definitely would recommend. Thanks to Claire and family.

The biggest thanks has to go South East Road Club. Every single member of that club was friendly, welcoming and only too happy to help. From the mechanic who fixed Jeff’s gears 5 mins before stage 3, Pat who transported us in his van and fellow racers. If you ever meeting a SERC rider out on the road be sure to give them a wave.

Win at Bann Valley

Congratulations to Craig Rea who won the A4 race at Bann Valley Classic on Sunday 13th April.  A cool and blustery wind greeted the riders. As often is case in A4, no break was able to get away and the strong head/tail-winds didn’t help.  However conditions didn’t deter Craig who made his move on the last lap to take a clear win.  Olan Byrne showed his improving form by taking 3rd place.  It was a very strong race from all the Phoenix A4 men, with Michael Green getting into the points and rest of team finishing within top 15-20 places.


Craig wins A4 race at Bann Valley

Craig wins A4 race at Bann Valley

Race report and photos here


Visit Nenagh Classic

Rory Maguire was part of a very strong cycling Ulster junior squad which raced Nenagh classic on sunday. The team had 3 riders in top 12, Craig McCauley 3rd, Cathal Clarke 6th, Rory 8th and Ryan Reilly 12th.

More info on race when it becomes available, but here is cycling ulster report

Wallace Caldwell

Well done to all the Phoenix riders who took on Wallace Caldwell.  Northern-Dave Kane domination continued with Adam Armstrong and Fraser Duncan taking another 1-2 for the Fluro-train.  Fergus Rooney who was very active in break until the race blew apart at Springwell forest.  No placings for Phoenix this time out but a hard days racing for all and good miles in legs for Ras team.

Race report and photos here


A Very Good Weekend for Phoenix

On Saturday 29th March Phoenix had two wins at the Ciclisport GP promoted by East Tyrone CC.  In the A1/A2 race Mike Millar won his first race, Brian Stewart finished 6th and Nephew Daniel Stewart 7th.  Daniel rides for East Antrim but is guesting for Phoenix in this years RAS.  In the A4 race Paul Crowe won to give us two wins on the day.  Val O’Neill continued her excellent season coming second in the Women’s race.  Here is Mike winning the A1/A2 race.  The picture is courtesy of Marian Lamb of Cycling Ulster you can read a full report here.


On Sunday a group of riders from the club went to Balbriggan to contest the Ben McKenna cup races.  In the A1/A2 race, in a very strong field Ali Macauley finished an excellent 7th place.  In the A3 race our junior Irish cx champion Rory Maguire finished in 2nd place. Rory was away all of the race in the front group and was outnumbered 5:1 by the Nicholas Roche Development team, he didn’t let this phase him and attacked them, taking one of them with him. Unfortunately he was beaten in the uphill sprint, he reckons he was in the wrong gear, but what a ride!  Here is Rory getting his prize.


Tour of Ards

On Saturday the 22nd of March the club were well represented in this classic race.  Brian Stewart (Big B) pictured below had an excellent ride finishing in the prize money in 8th place.  Ali McCauley was very unlucky to puncture while riding strongly in the leading breakaway group.  Our guest rider in the RAS team, Daniel Stewart of East Antrim, finished runner up after just being caught before the line by Fraser Duncan of Dave Kane Cycles.  There is a full report here  on the Cycling Ulster site and the picture is also courtesy of Marian Lamb of Cycling Ulster.



St Patricks weekend racing

The St Patricks weekend saw a very busy schedule of racing over 3 days.

Red Hand Trophy

First up was the Red Hand Trophy promoted by Ballymena road club.   This is one of the oldest and most prestigious races on local calendar and attracts a high quality field.  The 2014 edition was won by in-form Northern-Dave Kane rider Fraser Duncan from Ronan McLaughlin (Dig Deep inspired Cycling). Phoenix man Ali McCauley was in the break all day and sitting in top 4 until Adam Armstrong and Ryan Sherlock bridged across in final km to take 3rd and 4th, with Anthony Walsh (UCD) 5th and Ali coming home in 6th.  A great result – well done Ali.

Of the other Phoenix riders, Karl Morgan had another strong ride and was active in leading groups. Alex Donald and Mike finished behind a chase group, with Big B, Cathal, Ciaran and Jay coming home in the bunch. Feargus had mechanical losing a pedal.

Report and photos here.

 Danny Boy Races

On Sunday 16th, Roe Valley hosted Danny Boy races.  In the A4 Olan Byrne was top Phoenix rider placing 7th and taking his first points of season.

The womens race was also round 4 of the ulster womens series sponsored by Bling Bike kit.  With series leader Amy Brice racing at Boyne GP, current Phoenix ladies champion Jude Russell took a very convincing victory to continue the domination of the series by Phoenix women.  Well done Jude.

Report and photos here.

 Potato Harvest race Boy Races

On St Patricks day,  North Pole CC and Four Masters  CC jointly promoted the Potato Harvest races.

In the A race for A1/2/3 riders, ex-Phoenix rider John Neil took a fine win on St Patricks and move up to A1.  Congratulations John.

In the masters, Sean Harrigan from Phoenix took 2nd.  Well done Sean.

Report and photos here

John Moore and McCann Cup

The 3rd week of road racing calendar saw Phoenix turn out in force for both the John Moore Memorial on Sat 8th, and McCann cup on Sun 9th March.

John Moore Memorial

The John Moore is always a favorite of Phoenix riders, with the circuit often used for club races.
The 2014 edition of the race promoted by neighbouring club Castlereagh CC was no exception. COnditions where cool but blustery which meant good bike handling was essential. In the A4 race Jody Wright continued his excellent run of form by getting into the winning move and taking a convincing win. Gerry Maguire also an escapee from the bunch got a great 5th place which gives him enough points to move up to A3.

Jody wins A4 race at John Moore

Jody wins A4 race at John Moore

Well done all the other Phoenix riders in the A4 who rode strongly in support of their team mates.
The A race for A1/2/3 riders was one to forget for Rory Maguire who came down in a crash at speed. Luckily no one was seriously injuired. We wish all riders a speedy recovery.
Congratulations to the winner Fraser Duncan (Northern/DaveKane) and all the riders in A race.

McCann Cup

On Sunday a good number of Phoenix men and women made the journey to McCann Cup, promoted by Omagh Wheelers.
In the womens race, Val O’Neill took the win by half a wheel from former Phoenix rider Amy Brice, with Jude Russell completing the podium. Julie Rea came in 7th.

Photo finish in womens race at McCann cup

Photo finish in womens race at McCann cup

In the C race for A4 riders Crowe put in a really strong performance in his first ever race. Very active at the front throughout, he placed 10th in the final sprint.
In the B race for A3, Niall O’Gorman got into the decisive break with half a lap to go. The group of 6 rode with great commitment to stay away with Niall taking 4th.
The A race for A1/2 saw repeated attacks and Phoenix men Feargus Rooney and Cathal Smyth very active. In the end, race winner Connor Murphy (Caldwell) got clear with Phoenix’s Karl Morgan coming in 5th.

Thanks to Omagh Wheelers for a great racing, well organized and a super spread of food afterwards.

John Moore results available here
McCann Cup results available here

March 1st/2nd race round up

The second week of road racing season saw Phoenix riders competing at Spires GP, Haldane Memorial.

Spires GP saw mixed fortunes for Phoenix men.  Firstly, congratulations to Rory Maguire who placed 4th in A race for A1/2/3 riders against some very seasoned road racers.

In the A4 race, Jody Wright was first across the line but unfortunately was disqualified by commissionaires.  There is an appeal in on this one. Stevie Geary came in 5th (4th in results) which gives him points to upgrade to A3. Gerry Maguire took 8th and is a point closer to his upgrade.

Julie, Val and Jude in action at Haldane Memorial 2014

Julie, Val and Jude in action at Haldane Memorial 2014

The Haldane memorial, run by Newry Wheelers was run in wet and windy conditions but saw more success for Phoenix.  Ciaran McVeigh won the A4 race last year and followed it up with a very fine 4th place in A3 race this year.  In the women’s race, Val O’Neill marked her return with a 3rd place finish holding off Jude Russell in 4th and Julie Rea in 8th.  Tommy Lamb came in 4th in masters race.  Speedy recovery to Karen Hull who had misfortune of crashing in this race.

Spires GP report and photos here

Haldane Memorial report and photos here


Hewitt & Gilpin Phoenix GP report

After a wet and windy Feb, conditions where bright and cool on Sunday 23rd Feb for the 2014 edition of the Phoenix GP.  This years event was bigger and better thanks to the efforts of club volunteers and our sponsors – Hewitt & Gilpin solicitors, Lease Options car leasing and  McConveys Cycles.

Phoenix GP 2014

Phoenix GP 2014

With Phoenix riders in all the categories there were note able results for Julie Rea & Therese Zwahlen – 2nd and 3rd in the ladies race, Michael Tolan – 2nd in the Masters, Mr 18-30 – Stu, 7th in the A3 and Jody Wright taking 3rd in the A4

Full report and results available on Cycling Ulster site here

Hewitt & Gilpin Phoenix GP – 23th February 2014

The A1/A2, Over 50s and Womens races will accept entries on the day.  The A3 and A4 races are full

Phoenix CC are pleased to announce a generous sponsorship deal with Hewitt & Gilpin solicitors ensuring a spectacular prize fund for the opening weekend of the 2014 racing calendar.  (All the race details and entry information are below the photo)

Pictured here is Naomi Gowan of Hewitt and Gilpen, with guest of honour Ronan McGlaughlin at the Phoenix Club Dinner handing over the sponsorship cheque for the Phoenix GP to Phoenix stalwart Eamon Burns.

This year the Phoenix GP will be held on Sunday 23th Feb. Pre-entry for this event will be via Entrycentral and will open at 7.00pm on Wednesday 5th Feb. The sign-on fee is £12 for everyone except juniors who pay £6.

As entry is on a first come, first served basis with a limit on the entries for each race, you are urged to submit your entry as soon as possible.

Please note the new Sign-on location which will be at Crumlin FC (54.621959,-6.216676 )  from 9:30.

Course details:
The course will be the usual Nutt’s Corner > Seven Mile Straight > Long Rig Rd course finishing at the top lay-by. For a circuit map click here – Phoenix GP Race Route

There will be five races: Women & over 50’s starting at 11am and A1-A4 starting at 12.30.

A race.
For A1, A2. This race will be handicapped and will be 6 laps in distance, approximately 50 miles.

A3 race.
There will be a separate A3 race over 5 laps, 42 miles.

A4 race.
For A4 riders. This race will be a scratch race and will be 4 laps in distance, approximately 34 miles overall.

Women’s race.
Phoenix CC is again proud to host the first round of the Ulster Women’s Road Race League. This race will be handicapped and will be 3 laps in distance, approximately 25 miles overall.

50+ Master Race
Phoenix is also proud to be offering a race to A4 and club licence riders over the age of 50. A4 riders over the age of 50 can choose to ride this race or the A4 race. These races were very hotly contested in 2013 and Phoenix CC wish to build on that success. The race will be 3 laps in distance, approximately 25 miles overall.

Phoenix Reliability Sun 9th Feb

The Phoenix Reliability Trial will take place on Sunday 9th February. The format will be an “A” run aiming for an average speed of 20-21mph, and a “B” run aiming at 17-18mph average speed.

Sign-on – please note – the venue will be the same as last year – at the Queen’s “Sport at Malone” clubhouse where there are toilet and changing facilities. The entrance is situated approximately 100 metres past the House of Sport on the Upper Malone Rd. Sign-on is open from 9:15 with the A run leaving at 10:00 and the B run leaving shortly after. The sign-on fee is £5
Riders, who are intending to take part, should have already applied for their 2014 Cycling Ireland membership. Those who haven’t received their membership card are requested to login to their own page on the Cycling Ireland database and print off the licence status.

The route is the usual Phoenix RT route, a map of which can be found at:


The route is; to Lisburn via the Upper Malone Rd, through Moria to Magheralin where we turn left on to the B9, left at the T junction on to the B2 to Dromore. Through Dromore to Ballynahinch where we turn towards Downpatrick. Through Annacloy then at the T junction we turn left on to the A7 towards Belfast going through Saintfield and Carryduff. We return to the House of Sport from the Saintfield Rd by passing Belvoir Park Hospital and going over Shaw’s Bridge.

Both runs follow the same route which is approximately 60 miles.

In the interests of safety all riders must wear a helmet.
There will be a lead vehicle for each group and for safety reasons it is important that riders do not overtake the lead vehicle. This is particularly important in towns and at junctions and at any “pit stop”. Any marshalls are only there to show directions and not to stop traffic.

As these are leisure events run on public roads and all riders must respect the “rules of the road” and ask for the cooperation of all riders in ensuring the event runs safely and the minimum of inconvenience is caused to other road users and members of the public.

Many thanks and I hope you enjoy the day.