Charleville Park Two Day 2012 Full Report & Photos
Thanks to Brian Hayden for the report and photos
“St Tiernan’s have been dominating this climb as they have been since the beginning of the stage” this is what crackled over the race radio in the A4 race that led to whoops and hollers from the inside of St Tiernan’s very swanky back up vehicle. Our excitement was understandable and expected since this stage was completely different to the day before.
It has been a while since I was on a stage race but here I was again travelling down to the Charleville Park Two Day 2012. What started as a passing comment turned out to be another great weekend for me. Eamon mentioned to me a few weeks ago that some of the lads were thinking of heading down to Charleville for the 2 Day end of season race. I asked that if they were looking for a team manager would I be able to get first refusal and when I was able to confirm my availability I think I may have hijacked Richie’s original plans (sorry about that Richie). What was even more impressive was that when word got around that a few of the “lads” were heading down the interest from St Tiernan’s riders was rampant and we ended up with a largest contingent since 1994 at a stage race, 11 riders (2 of which were guest riders) , 5 backroom staff and numerous supporters along the route.
Weather was to be good all weekend and upon arrival we got to meet up with the full team. Spirits were high and the good humoured atmosphere was beginning to build around the hotel. When I got to the hotel I was met by the sight of some old friends from the Inter Club League (Alice, Mick and Frank), they were part of the race backroom staff. Once I saw this crowd I knew this was going to be a good weekend of racing. After some time catching up and discussing how big St Tiernan’s CC had become it was time to get ready for the afternoon stage. The room that Rob, Michael and Richie shared became the race HQ (the only reason for this is because they had a desk in the room). Discussions about the route, wind direction and possible plans were discussed with the same passion as any Pro Tour team on the eve of a stage race.
With only four cars in the A4 cavalcade I was able to secure car number one and through some sweet talking to the organisers myself and Andy had race radios to listen in to the Commissaries’ and neutral service. The new St Tiernan’s CC car signs were mounted on the team cars and with the accompaniment of Paula and Adrienne I was ready for the off. During the stage I was ready to educate and enthral the ladies with my knowledge of cavalcade driving, the importance of the super fast wheel changes, the etiquette of the peloton and how best to assist riders if they need to palm the car or get a sticky bottle, unfortunately today was not to be the day. With a malfunctioning radio and no attacks we spent stage one admiring the scenery and chatting about the plans for the next 2 days. The bunch stayed together pretty much for the full stage, a few riders finding the pace tough were dropped but all of our riders finished and Martin V got 6th in the sprint with our mountain goat Joe F taking 11th. At the finish we were met by the A2/A3 back up team, a few of the A2/A3 riders and the O’Toole clan to support the A4 riders as the crossed the line. 2 riders in the top 11 and all riders finishing, this was a good start to the weekend of racing.
Back to the team HQ for the well deserved/received rub down from Adrienne assisted by Paula (I think you found a new calling Paula) and a couple of leg rubs by yours truly it was then time for dinner. As was expected the queue of riders for Adrienne’s plinth was much longer than the one for mine.
An early start next morning meant that the evening festivities were cut short. The TT was held over a 6.4km flattish road with riders going off in numerical order.
The results of the TT are as follows.
E. Peregrine – 9.38.27 R. Gallagher – 9.37.50
R. Kelly – 9.22.71 D. Allen – 9.29.84
J. Flynn – 9.30.28 C. Tobin – 9.48.63
D. Heffernan – 10.05.00 M. Verker – 9.23.93
M. Mescal – 9.56.31 D. Doherty – 10.43.17
M. Farrelly – 10.30.03
Back for a quick breakfast and then back out for the A4 TT. All riders eventually got out to the start and completed the course in good time. Mark I told you we would get to the start with time to spare I think our relationship is stronger for the moments of tension we shared.
The final stage was a 70km road stage with the major climb of the day occurring about 20kms from the finish. There was plenty of discussion from the riders about how the stage would unfold. My objective was for the riders to stay in the front half of the peloton and be ready for any of the breakaways with all of the riders evenly matched it would be hard to get away but if we rode hard over the climb Joe (our mountain goat) and Martin just might be able to get away and the rest of the lads would stay in the bunch preventing any major counter attacks. As a team we were in second place 1’03” behind Wexford Wheelers so it would be tough to jump ahead of them. All riders had the same idea about the stage and it stayed pretty much together until the main climb and that is when our radio eventually crackled into life picking up the spirits of the support team. The hard riding done by St Tiernan’s riders over the climb broke up the group and now there were only about 20 riders remaining, of which at least 3 were St Tiernan’s men.
Eventually I got to the chance to show off my skills of back up service to the girls not too long after the descent. Richie had a puncture but was unable to get support from the A2/A3 cavalcade or neutral service and we spotted him standing to the left of the road along with another rider waiting for help. I pulled the car up, ala the Skoda ad, and jumped out of the driver’s seat thinking watch and see how it is done girls but before I could get the back door open I heard a voice asking what wheel was needed and as I looked over the top of the car I saw a wheel being handed out to Richie. It all happened in a flash but between Adrienne and Paula they had sorted the wheels got it out of the car and I was able to help put it on the bike. My constant story telling obviously helped the girls get ready when we jumped into action. We left Richie after the next drag to get back onto the back of our race and see what was happening. We could see Joe bouncing up and down at the front of the group and Martin looking to get position. We then passed a Wexford Wheelers guy and I was trying to see how many they had in the main bunch. With the top 3 riders taking the time for the team prize if there were only 2 WW riders left we could jump over them and take another prize. The dropped rider rode hard and got back onto the back of the group so there were definitely 3 WW riders in the bunch.
With about 6kms to go I noticed a pair of yellow shoes almost stopping and then turning right on the road. There was only one rider with such distinguished shoes our very own Martin V. He had taken a wrong turn and was about 100m off the back of the bunch. I began to shout out to ride hard to catch up so he wouldn’t lose his overall placing. The only people that could hear me were Paula and Adrienne and they realised that I was now panicking so much so that when Martin got back onto the group after some really hard riding I failed to notice that a WW rider had punctured. They then explained to me that if WW only had 3 riders in the front group then they were down to 2 riders. If this rider finished more than 1’03” down we could take the team prize. The next 5 km were spent shouting out the team car and watching to see if the rider behind would catch the group. The bunch rode hard to the finish but due to the hard ride put in during the race there was no stage win for any of our riders.
Again at the finish there were plenty of St Tiernan’s jerseys waiting around for the finish. All riders finished the A4 race and as proof of the determination Marc F got a puncture about 4km from the finish but because he was so far ahead of the broom wagon he spent his time alternating from running and cycling to the finish. It was with disbelief that myself and Paula witnessed Marc running with his bike about 300m from the finish he then jumped on the bike and rolled over the line. Just in case you were wondering the WW team had 4 men in the main bunch so when they lost a man they still had enough to take the team prize.
Having all riders finish, getting riders into the top 20 overall and getting to know better more of our teammates I would mark this weekend down as a successful one. Everybody that went down for the weekend, riders, backroom team and roadside supporters made this a great weekend. Everyone played an important part and when each rider crossed the line (irrelevant of the position) they received a winner’s welcome. I thoroughly enjoyed my weekend and I thank all of those who were there, those that provided extra clothing, provided vehicles for backup services. As mentioned before I have compiled some more stories to educate the future generations of St Tiernan’s CC members.
Check back soon for Gallery.