It was another big weekend for the club, with Brian McArdle's dominance of the KOH competition in the Newry 3 Day undoubtedly being the highlight. Philippe Bourdarias also earned his upgrade to A2 after nipping in for 6th in Mullingar on Sunday, while Oisín Boland took a fine 4th in the A3 race.

We'll start with last Tuesday's Corkagh Park ladies' racing, with Orwell placings a regular occurrence. This week was Monica Marconi's turn to take the honours, coming in a stunning second behind National Champion Mel Späth (Team Tibco).

About 23 ladies had lined up for the race, with seven B riders, five A2s, and a small army of A1s. The A1s got on terms with the A2s after a fast 2.5 laps, with the Bs sucked in not long afterwards.

There's no shame in finishing behind the National Champ, and Marconi will be happy with her performance. Thanks to Lakeside Wheelers for putting on a great night's racing, and no doubt the regulars will be looking forward to Adamstown's night next week.

In Mullingar on Sunday, several Orwellians lined up at the start of each race, but with miserable and windy conditions, it was a tough race to call. For the A3s, a break went within the last 20km, and despite some chasing, stayed away with a 20m gap until the close.

At the front the bunch sprint was the Orwell train, with Philippe Bourdarias, David Halpin, John Twomey and another unidentified Orwell rider in action. It was Bourdarias who took the first placing for the club, grabbing 6th - the last of the prizes, and the five points he needed to make his upgrade to A2.

Bourdarias has shown he's a man not afraid of any terrain, sealing fifth on an uphill finish in the Jazzer Wherity Memorial (and indeed, third in last Thursday's club race up Ballysmuttan), before taking third with a strong sprint in Emyvale. With his A2 level achieved, he plans to rest on his laurels for the rest of the season, and he's earned it.

Update: We can confirm that David Halpin took 7th place, with a display of power that has become his trademark. John Twomey was close behind in 8th, adding the first of many points to his A3 licence.

In the A4 edition, Oisín Boland opened his A4 account with an excellent 4th place. Fighting it out against 70 riders, with a strong team present from the home club, Boland did well to sit tight in the bunch until the final sprint. He was a little unhappy with his final finishing moves, but as a first placing, 4th is a position of which to be proud!

Boland has gone from strength to strength this year, moving from Limit to Semi-limit in the league, and just missing out on the prizes last Thursday after a storming ride up Ballysmuttan. While the number of opportunities for points decrease at this stage of the season, we won't be at all surprised if Boland hits A3 over the summer.

The women of Orwell didn't fare as well in their race, but Anne Dalton took second for DID Electrical. She attacked from the gun, and stayed away with Fiona Guihen, before Mel Späth and Fran Meehan bridged. Ultimately Meehan won the sprint, but Dalton was delighted to take silver.

Finally, last but certainly not least, Orwell had a strong team competing in the annual Newry 3 Day. Competing for the second year in a row were Brian McArdle and Aidan Collins, and they were joined by Neal Hudson and Tom Blennerhassett.

McArdle's ambition for the weekend was the polka dots, and he took it confidently on Friday evening, cresting the only categorised climb of the stage in the lead. A group of 17 riders formed around him on the rapid descent, with Hudson motoring amongst them. The pair finished 14th and 15th respectively, losing only 1" to the winner. Collins and Blennerhassett both finished in the bunch, 18" down.

Saturday morning's TT saw each Orwell rider limiting their losses. Heading into the afternoon's 85km stage, the team were committed to riding to defend the polka dots. As the race approached the first KOH, there were five men up the road, and Hudson and Collins were pulling hard on the front.

Though McArdle failed to pick up any points on the first climb, the single point he scored on the second was enough to retain the jersey. McArdle was in the front chasing group of 12, and went on to take fifth on the stage, which also earned him his upgrade to A1.

Behind him, Hudson was unlucky to come down while in the lead group on the climb. Nursing a sore arse and a grazed elbow, he showed his hard man qualities by getting back in the saddle and finishing in a chasing group only 1'28" down. With the uphill finish, the times were well split, with Collins losing only 58', and Blennerhassett just behind him at 1'02".

The final stage contained four Cat 2 climbs, so the team faced a daunting challenge to defend the jersey. Collins was unfortunate to suffer a mechanical about 20km in, and had to pull out. A break of eight went early, and while Hudson and Blennerhassett contributed what they could on the front, the chase was being disrupted well by clubs with a man up the road.

With 80km done, McArdle knew the polka dots would be lost unless he did something dramatic - he broke away solo, quickly putting a minute into the bunch, and passing half of the break before some chasers caught him, and together they worked up to the leaders. There McArdle again broke away solo to ensure he led across the top of the Seven Sisters KOH, sealing the mountains competition.

The front group stayed away until the final KOH, where McArdle took second place. He then unfortunately lost contact with the leaders and eventually caught by the yellow jersey gorup. Blennerhassett finished 45th on the stage, while Hudson was again unlucky, coming down on a wet corner. The broom wagon took him home, so along with Collins he was recorded as a DNF. The A3 rider should take some solace from the flying form he displayed throughout the weekend, and likewise Collins and Blennerhassett showed they're well able for pace of stage racing.

Receiving the KOH winner's jersey (courtesy of Neal Hudson)

Though the jersey was on McArdle's back, he attributed his success to the sacrifices the team made throughout the weekend, putting in efforts on the front to chase down breaks and giving him advice on which socks to wear. He also apologises to Newry Wheelers for missing the prize-giving, as he was helping a hobbled Hudson with his dressings. The club once again put on a fantastic race, with an unparalleled squad of moto-marshalls constantly protecting the riders, and a course that gave everyone a racer's chance.


Newry 3 Day

Full results available at

King of the Mountains

1 McArdle, B (DTC Orwell Wheelers) 17 points
2 Lynch, Kevin (Newry Wheelers) 11
3 Davenport, James (South Dublin CC) 8


Corkagh Park Ladies Racing - R4

A Riders
1 Melanie Spath (Team TIBCO)
2 Monica Marconi (Orwell Wheelers)
3 Roisin Kennedy (Adamstown Cycling Team)

B Riders
1 Kayleigh Gibbons (Adamstown Cycling Team)
2 Elaine Purdue (Lakeside Wheelers)
3 Vanessa Fenton (3d Tri)

U16 Rider
1 Emily Birchall (Unattached)


Mullingar GP - A1/A2 Race

1 Damien Shaw (Aqua Blue)
2 Javan Nulty (DID Dunboyne)
3 Sean Lacey (Aqua Blue)
4 Neil Delahaye (DID Dunboyne)
5 Gary Jeffers (East Tyrone CC)
6 Mark Dowling (Polygon Sweet Nice)

A3 Race

1 Paul Coffey (Blanch Wheelies)
2 Niall Doggett (Navan RC)
3 Keith O'Connell (Covey Wheelers)
4 Darragh McCarther (Omagh)
5 Mark Reilly (Lucan CRC)
6 Philippe Bourdarias (DTC Orwell Wheelers)
7 David Halpin (
DTC Orwell Wheelers)
8 John Twomey (
DTC Orwell Wheelers)

A4 Race

1 Brendan Kiernan (Lakeside Wheelers)
2 Richie Lenehan (Lakeside Wheelers)
3 James Dignam (Adamstown CT)
4 Oisin Boland (DTC Orwell Wheelers)
5 Stephen Corroon (Lakeside Wheelers)
6 Dan O'Brien (Killarney CC)

Women's Race

1 Francine Meehan (Aqua Blue)
2 Anne Dalton (DID Dunboyne)
3 Roisin Kennedy (Adamstown CT)
4 Emily Birchall (Neenan Talent Team)
5 Ciara Doogan (Neenan Talent Team)
6 Julie White (North Tipp Wheelers)