The 2012 Ras Dun na nGall, hosted by the Four Masters Cycling Club, took place over the June bank holiday weekend around the Ardara area.
The race being one of the premium events on the Irish cycling calendar with over 120 riders and 20 teams participating in the event. The race took the form of four stages over three days and 250kms of road.
Errigal CC ventured into the event on their very first time to enter a full team of riders, namely Sean McFadden, Danny Hunter, Sean McBride, Kevin Holian and Cormac Keeney.
The first stage measured 50kms and was a pretty casual affair with all Errigal riders arriving into Ardara in the main bunch. The second stage took the form of an individual hill climb time trial described by one rider as “nothing more than a goat track up a mountain”. McFadden was the best of the Errigal riders with an impressive time of 7.36, only conceding 36 seconds to New Zealand stage winner Sean Hambrook.
The third stage left Ardara in the direction of Clooney, Glenties, Fintown, Doochary, up over the ‘corkscrew’, on towards Lettermacaward, back into Glenties and finally into Ardara. This stage proved more challenging with a break away going early in the stage the tempo of the peleton was intense in an attempt to bring back the group up the road. Errigal suffered some bad luck, with both Cormac Keeney and Sean McBride puncturing twice. However, the Errigal boys showed some resolve with McFadden, Hunter, Keeney and Holian all managing to finish in the main chasing group.
The fourth and final stage proved to be the most difficult with many riders failing to finish the challenging mountainous stage with the stage finish atop of the famous Glengesh Pass. Holian had the misfortune of puncturing early on the stage and suffered as a result. A break went early on the stage and as the yellow jersey wearer, Sean Hambrook, had missed the break the pace was high in a vain attempt to reel in the stage winner and subsequent overall winner, Cormac Clarke. Errigal riders again put in a solid performance with both Sean McFadden and Cormac Keeney managing a top twenty finish.
Overall Errigal placed 4th on the team standings, McFadden secured 15th on general classification and Hunter managed a 4th in the under 23 category. In their very first attempt at this very challenging race all bodes well for the future of Errigal Cycling Club.