by Tommy Campbell

“Rumble in the jungle”

Familiar words! Yes, another cancellation this weekend! And, the weather has not intervened on this occasion. The Silver Pail Grand Prix and the Dan O’Donovan Memorial has been moved to a later date in the year.
As a mark of respect this weekend (Saturday and Sunday) to the late Gabriel Howard, the events listed, John Reilly Memorial and the Stamullen Grand Prix were cancelled a number of weeks ago.
Slotting into the vacuum is the Cycleways Cup which was originally scheduled for blast- off on the fourth of March. DARE I say, it was postponed because of snow. Three event cancellations, because of weather conditions. Since the beginning of March it has certainly put the cat amongst the pigeons, with one event just coming back on track this weekend.
Well last weekend it was all go in three Provinces with the exception of Connacht. Whilst I can only comment on Munster and the Kerry Group Ras Mumhan! Sunday was untypical of early April. Also it would be unfair to the organisation if I failed to elaborate on the marshalling and safety of the event over the four days. Whilst, Sunday in my opinion, will go down as one of the worst days for the persistent rain and wind!

Taking, into consideration that the competitors had to face two extraordinary climbs of significance, especially Coom an Easpaig. Both static and motorbike marshals covered the event with professionalism that was of highest quality. Both men and women were the unsung heroes of the days. Safety in their opinion was critical.
He may be our president of Cycling Ireland, Ciaran McKenna but he was in at the deep end with the motor bike marshals who made sure a safe passage was plotted along the course along with the GARDA motorbikes. YES plural!
From what I can gather the Dixon Contractor Tour of the North experienced a bad day on Monday and had to deviate from their original planned stage. But it all worked thankfully.
Plus the Gorey Three Day (in the Sunny South East) which went for export to Scotland with their Juniors winning the overall prize plus. No doubt they’ll be back for the Junior Tour come July, and there is a real possibility that Scotland will break there duck! YES! Alice and her crew experienced the worst of the weather also.
Lot of damp clothes concerning the abysmal conditions that both race officials and competitors experienced. Hopefully they have dried out or sadly ended in the bin!
Before we get to the serious part of the racing programme this weekend.
Joe Doolin from the Leinster Federation will be in Corkagh Park (Clondalkin) on Saturday for underage racing. Perfect set up for the girls and boys to participate prior to the SKODA Ras na nOg which will be Held next weekend. SEE POSTER ATTACHED with all the details and tell Mr. Doolin I sent you!
Now, for the serious stuff. Cycleways Cup will be staged on Sunday and likewise PLEASE note the new location for the sign-on for this prestigious event. ALSO see Poster and additional information.
Viner/Caremark/ Pactino certainly sent a message out loud and clear last weekend. Theyll be serious contenders during the season. Conor Hennerby’s overall win plus the stage win was unquestionably a star performance considering that Sunday’s stage was one of the toughest.
Still, Sunday is another day and I’m sure he’ll have his work cut out to maintain a winning sequence. Strong opposition could come from the duo representing Strata3/Velorevolution, James Davenport and Philip Lavery. Paidi O’Brien of Team Gerard/DHL at one time KING of the Kerry Group Ras Mumhan for the number of stage wins. From my vantage point it looked as though he was positioning himself for the final sprint on the run to the final stage finish. But the nightmare of all nightmares happened! He punctured and the rest as they say is history. If he makes the journey to the Cycleways Cup, be sure to take note. A late addition to the line up last weekend was Fintan Ryan representing Leinster. He adequately filled the place of Mark Dowling as a replacement. Super sub as they say. He certainly kept Leinster in the frame all week.
More, anon next week about the jungle.

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