“It’s a buzz, you never get to race in front of crowds like that”

Posted on: June 23rd, 2016

Susie Mitchell wins the Lisney Women’s Grand Prix in a sprint following a thrilling race. She is now setting her sights on the national championships this Saturday in Kilcullen (Photo: Ian Anderson)


Susie Mitchell (Sundrive Track Team) might be a relative newcomer to road racing but the Carlow woman used all of her track smarts to notch a memorable win in the Stephen Roche GP on Tuesday night.

The Sundrive Track team rider said it was the best win she’s ever had and is now eagerly looking forward to her first national championships on Saturday – and she will be impossible to ignore in this form.

“It was unbelievable, I was delighted,” she said of Tuesday’s win.

“It’s my favourite race of the year; the first time I did it was last year and I got third.

“It’s such a buzz, you never really get to race in front of big crowds like that, particularly the ladies who wouldn’t attract such a big crowd but everybody is out, there’s kids, women, men and juniors racing. It’s unreal.

“Coming up to the finish and hearing everyone shout for you is unbelievable.”

Mitchell said the fare was aggressive all night with plenty trying to get away but little managing to pull out any real time off the front.

She had a few digs herself but with four laps to go she knew the inevitable was coming.

“I felt it would end in a bunch sprint and I really wanted to win it,” she added.

“I looked at the course before and where the wind was coming from so I knew where I needed to go if I was going to sprint.

“I had a plan in my head, I managed to get some shelter on the last lap coming around the corner and I think Marie Claffey (UCD-Fitzcycles.ie) was in front of me.

“I was using her for shelter and when I got to the green with about 200 to go I kicked and then with 100 to go I heard Hugh Byrne (coach) telling me ‘kick now’ so I upped the pace and opened up a lovely gap and I kept driving it to the line.

“I was terrified someone would come up behind me but I was well clear in the end.”

Despite the elation she knows she’s got to keep herself firmly on the floor as Saturday’s contest is an entirely different prospect.

“I’ve one chance against these girls.

“People said there’s no hills on the course but I’ve ridden it myself so I know there’s hills!

“They’re not insurmountable so hopefully I’ll be able to get around okay. I’ve never done the road nationals so we’ll have to wait and see.”