DROMORE will once again be the setting for one of the north’s biggest one-day cycle races, when Banbridge Cycling Club hosts the John Beggs Memorial this Saturday, 11 August.
Having been part of the Irish National Road series for the last three years for both men and women, it continues to attract the strongest of domestic fields.
The women’s race will see last year’s defending champion, Eve McCrystal return, and having just defended her double World Championship win in both the tandem time trial and road race along with her partner Katy George Dunlevy, looks to be in super shape and will start as a firm favourite.
With upcoming juniors including Lara Gillespie coming through the ranks, McCrystal is likely to face tough competition.
In the men’s race defending champion Adam Stenson will be missing from the start sheet this year, now basing himself from Switzerland with Elite National Team Speeder Cycling Team.
Those likely to succeed him on the John Beggs Memorial trophy include Banbridge local man, Lindsay Watson who is having the season of his career and showing fantastic consistency which has led him be the second ranked elite rider in Ireland.
National Criterium champion Dillon Corkery from the Gerard DHL Team has also been having a fantastic season, collecting numerous wins and showing a real hunger for racing - all eyes are likely to be on his back wheel this weekend.
Another former winner, Ronan McLaughlin, who has just enjoyed overall victory in the Foyle International three-day will be backed by a strong Pactimo Viner Caremark Team and would love a repeat win.
Darnell Moore of Caldwell Cycles is unlikely to be too far from the fron.
Again another prolific winner this year, claiming the national under 23 road title as well as runner-up in the elites against the country’s top World Tour riders, Darnell shows exactly what he is capable of and should he turn up with that form, there will be few who will be able to match him.
Given the hilly parcour of the race, Mark Dowling will also fancy his chances of victory.
The Leinster man struggled with injury and illness over the winter months but his class is once again showing and he is back to winning ways.
He has enjoyed victory in all other Banbridge CC-promoted road events including the Travers Engineering Annaclone GP, the Noel Teggart Memorial and the Banbridge Crit - a win this weekend would complete his set.
All races will face the same 30km circuit taking the riders out of Dromore, winding and rolling through the villages of Kinallen and Dromara with the Mourne Mountains as a backdrop, making their way toward Hillsborough before they turn back once again in the direction of Dromore.
With the climbs of Ballykeel Hill, Kinallen and Ballykeel scattered around the circuit, mass bunch finishes are an unlikely outcome for most races.
All races will exit the circuit for the final run into Dromore town before the final climb to the finish line atop Mount Street.
The men and women’s National Road Series races will be supported by an A3 and A4 race.
These will include a large number of competitors from the local clubs including hosts Banbridge CC, Dromore CC, Dromara CC, VC Iveagh, TVR and West Down Wheelers, all of who will want to perform in front of the crowds which are likely to gather around the circuit.
Racing will commence at 12pm with the first of the races likely to finish shortly after 2pm on Mount Street.
The estimated finishing time for the women’s race is 3pm to 3.15pm and the elite men are likely to conclude their racing 3.10pm to 3.30pm.
Traffic diversions will be in place to facilitate the event so some short delays are expected in the area during the early to mid-afternoon.