For the second weekend running, the sun was shining on Donegal Bay as the local club hosted their second event in two weeks, the Kermesse race around the village of Mountcharles.
Just like at the Sportive the previous weekend, there was some fantastic scenery on offer around the 6.2km circuit which had to be covered 13 times, but the riders had little time for sightseeing once the flag dropped.
Instead it was left to the sizeable crowd of spectators who gathered at the top of the tough climb up to the finish line to cheer on the riders and take in the spectacular views over the bay.
It was Angus Fyffe who took a second successive victory for Omagh Wheelers at the event following in the wheel tracks of Marc Potts who won here last year.
In 2nd place was Conor McIlwaine of AAA cycling, now back home racing after spending a year in Belgium, and third went to last year’s runner-up Ryan Reilly who is currently based in France but is home on a break.
Once again the race proved to be a real war of attrition with that steep 1km climb to the finish line on each lap really sorting things out. If Fleche Wallone has the Mur de Huy, then participants in the Donegal Bay Kermesse have the Mur de Mountcharles to contend with......13 times!!!
The A3/Juniors started first with a 2 minute handicap over the A1/2 bunch but this was wiped out within 2 laps of the circuit and with only 12km covered. Even at this early stage, the race was in bits with riders scattered all over the course in small groups and riding alone.
Not long after, the main break of the day formed with 7 riders getting away from the rest. These included inform riders Angus Fyffe(Omagh Wheelers), Cameron McIntyre(Banbridge), Conor McIlwaine(AAA), Jody Wright(Phoenix), Darragh McCarter(Donegal Bay) Aaron Swan(NRPT) and Ryan Reilly(Bisontine AC).
The host club had their hopes for success pinned on Darragh McCarter who was going strongly but sadly a mechanical took him out of the lead group and by the time he got going again, he was back with the second group on the road at almost 2 minutes with very little chance of seeing the front again.
Meanwhile Angus Fyffe was giving a demonstration of his current good form when he took the KOH prime on the fourth lap opening up a small lead over the top before being reeled in again. He would repeat the feat on the 2nd KOH prime after 8 laps to run out a convincing winner of the KOH competition.
Each time up the tough climb took it’s toll with Jody Wright(Phoenix) and Aaron Swan being forced to give way at around the half-way mark. The lead group was now down to Fyffe, Reilly, McIntyre and McIlwaine followed by Wright and Swan with a bunch of 10 riders a few minutes back. Unfortunately for Swan he was forced to drop out after suffering his second puncture of the day and with no spare wheel left his race was over. This left Wright by himself but he soon had a target to aim for as young Cameron McIntyre became the latest casualty of the testing circuit, dropping off the leading group.
This left just three at the front and despite various attempts to escape each other, the trio remained together until the deciding climb up to the finish line. Last year Ryan Reilly had given a demonstration of top class climbing to almost take the win but this time he was to suffer a more auspicious experience, cramping up on the climb to leave Fyffe and McIlwaine to battle it out. Donegal man McIlwaine was really aiming for the home win but it was on form Fyffe who opened a small gap and held it to the line for a well deserved victory.
Reilly crossed the line next and behind, Jody Wright rode very well to catch up with Cameron McIntyre but the Banbridge junior was still strong enough to take the sprint for 4th.
Final time up the climb saw the chasing group of 10 blow to pieces with Davy McFall(Omagh Wheelers) taking the final points on offer in 6th place ahead of James McGreevy(Westport Covey). Rodney Orr(Caldwell Cycles) was first unplaced A3, Matthew McKinley(AAA Cycling) first unplaced A2 and Ciaran Harkin(Errigal CC) toughed it out to take the unplaced Junior prize.
Afterward the presentation took place in the race HQ at the St.Nauls Clubhouse with plenty of food on offer. Ted McCaffrey of Race sponsor Teds Bike Shop, Donegal Town presented the prizes and Liam Hyland of the Donegal Times who sponsored the KOH prize.