Craig Arrigan’s legs learn quickly! Having cramped up on his open race debut with senior riders in Dundalk last week, Orwell’s reigning Under-14 National Champion showed no ill effects of the elevated distance this year as he raced to a fine third in the gallop for the line in the Cycleways Cup A4 support race in Navan yesterday (7th March).

The prolific youth race winner showed that he was not cowed in the presence of older riders over the extended distance that Under-16 riders are allowed ride this season as he produced a powerful surge on the slight drag to the line after 70 tough kilometres in the Meath countryside.

He was followed over the line by Ivan McAvinchey who found a path through to finish fourth after initially being baulked in the slightly chaotic run to the line. McAvinchey had produced a powerhouse display to lead the bunch up hill and down dale for extended periods throughout the afternoon and still found the energy to record his second open race placing in two days, and in only his fourth ever open race.

Ivan had been to the fore in the previous day’s Dublin Wheelers Grand Prix, jumping across to complete the winning break of nine that held off a huge combined A3/A4 bunch to fight out the finish in Dunboyne after 58km. The winning selection included two other A4s including Martin Ridge, fresh from victory in Dundalk the previous week.

The break produced an almost blanket finish with Ridge a fine fourth, and first A4, just over a bike length behind race winner Brian Cunningham (Murphy and Gunne). McAvinchey was less than a bike length behind in sixth and he and Ridge are surely destined for a quick upgrade.

Apart from the impressive results from the aforementioned trio, several riders made their open race debut over the weekend and honourable mentions should go to Patrick Conlon who was rarely far from the front of the bunch on his debut in Navan, Tom Blennerhassett who was very smooth and accomplished on Saturday in Dunboyne and John Latham, who was cruising to a debut bunch finish on Saturday until he tumbled into a ditch near Warrenstown, fortunately without serious injury. There were several others who impressed, too, and apologies to anyone I’ve missed out. The sheer volume and quality of new Orwell racers this year is a real boost to the club.

Dublin Wheelers Grand Prix A3/A4,

Dunboyne, 6th March, 58km.

1, Brian Cunningham (Murphy and Gunne);

2, Alan Maye (Clonard CC);

3, John Wall (Dunboyne CC);

4, Martin Ridge (Dundrum Town Centre Orwell Wheelers);

5, Darragh Zaidan (Staggs Lucan CC);

6, Ivan McAvinchey (Dundrum Town Centre Orwell Wheelers);

2nd unplaced A4, Declan Quigley (Dundrum Town Centre Orwell Wheelers).

Cycleways Cup A4 Support Race,

Navan 7th March, 70km

1, Stephen Lynch Usher Irish Road Club);

2, Michael Healy (Bohermeen CC);

3, Craig Arrigan (Dundrum Town Centre Orwell Wheelers);

4, Ivan McAvinchey (Dundrum Town Centre Orwell Wheelers).

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