The Thatch Bar Drogheda was the venue last Thursday night for the official launch of the 2018 Ras Tailteann as well the Louth Jons SCME Dimplex Ras team. Drogheda Wheelers secretary Gerard Campbell spoke about Drogheda’s strong Ras tradition, acknowledging the presence of several local Ras veterans among the enthusiastic audience. Others who spoke passionately about the event were Drogheda Wheelers chairman Andrew Watters, race director Eimear Dignam and Drogheda Mayor Pio Smith.
While the town has hosted stage finishes on a number of occasions, this will be the first time that Race start will take place in Drogheda. The Louth Jons SCME Dimplex Team includes two Drogheda Wheelers riders, Barry Hughes and Niall Craven. Barry competed in the event two years ago, but suffered appalling luck with two crashes in the first two stages, the injuries sustained forcing his retirement on stage three. This will be Niall’s first Ras. Despite suffering a broken shoulder and collar bone just weeks ago, Niall’s determination meant there was scarcely any doubt about his participation. Niall and Barry are joined by Waterford man Paul Smith. Two Stamullen riders, Cian Delaney and Arek Kluz complete the line-up. Their inclusion is a poignant reminder of the vital part played by the late Gabriel Howard in making this team a reality. Gerard Campbell spoke of Gaybo’s tireless contribution to the Ras over the years and said that the opening stage will be dedicated to his memory.
Details of this years race route can be found here