Whilst the weather did all it could to disrupt the day, there was going to be no stopping Paul Kennedy as he returned to Loughrea to take his second SSCC Open TT title. Missing from the start this year was 2020 winner and current National Champion Conn McDunphy who is currently in France racing for the CC Nogent-sur-Oise squad. Even with an excellent entry list lining up on the day, there was a certain amount of apprehension on the part of the organisers as to whether the times set would be on a par with those from last year.
As the riders came home one by one, it became clear that this apprehension was misplaced as an amazing 14 out of the 29 finishers broke the hour mark over the 40km. And quickest of all was Paul Kennedy; the Limerick man stormed to victory with an astonishing time of 49:23 and an average speed of 48.60Km/h. It was the first time the 50 min barrier was broken in the three years of the event with Paul beating his previous winning time from 2019 by 1m 24s. Home in second place was Orwell Wheelers’ Ross Hamilton with an excellent time of 53:09, followed by Seven Springs CC stalwart Eoin Whelan in third on 53:28.
Speaking after the event, club Chairman and PRO Colm Riordan was delighted with the event, particularly given the conditions. “Following on from the first two editions of the event, we were confident of being able to stage another successful one this year but when we saw the rain in the morning, we were wondering if anybody was going to brave the conditions! We shouldn’t have been worried and we are so grateful to all who took part and indeed the many who travelled big distances to be with us. And of course, without the outstanding support of our members, who give up their Sunday spin every year to help with marshalling and refreshments, we wouldn’t have been able to host it in the first place. We really can’t thank them enough. Finally, our sponsor Pat Callanan has been a great supporter of ours and again, to him, we express our gratitude.”
Looking forward to 2022, Riordan is hoping to increase the profile of the event even further. “I know last year we thought that we would surely be done with restrictions and lockdowns by the time 2021 came around. Still, we were lucky on both occasions to be able to stage the event and for sure, in 2022, we’ll be back again. It means so much to us, a relatively small club, to be able to attract such quality riders from all over the country. Here’s hoping the weather Gods smile on us next year!”