International cycling star Lara Gillespie made the most of a short visit home to Ireland when she won her second senior Irish national road race championship title in County Tyrone recently.
The 22-year-old drove her Johnson & Perrott Fleet Cupra Formentor from her home in Enniskerry, County Wicklow to rolling hills around Dungannon last month where she took on and beat what most pundits agree was the highest quality field ever assembled for a national road race championship.
Even before her trip to Tyrone it had already been a stellar season for Gillespie who is on track to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games with the Irish Team Pursuit squad and who has added a series of breakthrough performances in the cauldron of European professional road racing.
Dovetailing her Team Ireland commitments in the velodrome with a road racing programme as part of the UAE Development Team, Gillespie scored a podium finish behind former World Champion Amalie Dideriksen and then took a great victory in the Schellebelle Kermesse in West Flanders.
Her road racing successes are likely to lead to further outings with the UAE World Tour team at the highest level of the sport. Meanwhile she will also be focusing her attention on the track cycling world championships in Glasgow next month. Ahead of that is an appearance at the Under 23 European Championships in Portugal this week.
Helping her on her journey this season is the Johnson & Perrott Fleet supplied Cupra which she has the use of throughout 2023, an agreement forged between herself and Jonathan O’Brien, Managing Director of Johnson & Perrott Fleet following her two stage victories in Rás na mBan last September.
Johnson & Perrott Fleet are the official vehicle suppliers to Rás na mBan, Ireland’s top international stage road race.
Lara dropped in to Johnson & Perrott Fleet headquarters to show off her new national champions jersey on her way to her pre-European Championships training camp. Managing Director Jonathan O’Brien said: “Lara’s achievements continue to inspire us all. She’s bounced back from illness and injury in recent seasons to become one of the most impressive sportswomen in Ireland. Her focus, talent and determination serve as an inspiration to all.
Lara Gillespie said:- “I am so grateful to be helped by Johnson & Perrott Fleet. It’s been my busiest season yet and their support has been so incredibly helpful this year!
“Having the wonderful Cupra Formentor has made travelling to to and from training and the airport stress free. With four out of nine Olympic Games Qualifying races completed already this year, the Olympic dream is looking good so far! Thank you Johnson & Perrott for believing in me and helping me make these dreams come true.“