Sports

Fitzpatrick claims Skelly Cup win with close finish on 17 mile circuit

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

WEDNESDAY, 31 May was the last day of spring and the Skelly Cup TT was held over a 17-mile circuit.

This tough undulating circuit included Annaclone climb, Cattle Hill and not to mention the little tough climbs before Cattle Hill.

With a head wind to deal with out to May's Corner, it wasn't going to be easy for the 16 riders and two guest riders who signed on.

Paul Hannigan was first to set off into the gusty Rathfriland Road with Paul coming back and getting a great time of 58:35.

Mal Jenkins was out next, setting the early mark with 52:32. Sara Glover was out to get some lastminute speed into the legs, before she took on the Gran Fondo Mourne Route for the first time on Sunday.

Sara got a great 57:23, with her son Charlie first home on the night getting a great time of 50:12, just missing out breaking into the 40s.

Brian Curran was back in the saddle to test his legs, just missing out on beating the 50-minute mark with a 51:28. Ian Cochrane was next up getting the better of the windy conditions with a 48:16.

Ronan Kennedy trying the circuit for the first time got a brilliant 47:02 on a tough night to try this course out.

Tim Lees, over from Sheffield riding for the Rotherham Wheelers and also trying this circuit for the first, got a great time of 51:04. Brian Wilson was also a debut on this course, getting a great time for his first dig at it 53:52.

Dan Purdy was the first of the quick men home, getting into the 46 minute mark with a 46:33. Mark Kendall got another great time of 48:33. Pete McBride also 'Mr Consistent' had a brilliant 46:43.

Guest rider Joe Penny just missed out on hitting 47 with a 48:03. Martin Fitzpatrick and Stephen Fitzsimmons were back in together with Marty battling hard to stay with Stevie.

Marty finished in 46:35 and Stevie got a brilliant 45:41.

That was almost five minutes off his time from last year and the fastest time of the night, beating Mark Stewart's 45:45 by four seconds.

What a close finish over a 17 mile circuit! Not an easy task to beat Mark on a TT circuit. Stevie will be in the new scratch group next week if he keeps these times going.

But congratulations to Marty Fitzpatrick on winning the Skelly Cup, just shading it ahead of Stephen Fitzsimmons on handicap.

Thanks to Hazel and Ann for their time-keeping duties and to all the marshals who covered every junction.

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