North Down CC – Double Winners
When North Down Cycling Club’s president, Harry Adams, had the idea of rejuvenating the racing section within the club he could not have been aware of the success his vision would have in such a short space of time. With only four races completed in the local calendar, the North Down outfit has accumulated no fewer than five placings within the top 10, including two firsts and a second!
This is an incredible start to the year, especially as the club’s big guns Neil McKenna and Ross Blayney are only beginning to make their presence felt. In addition, there is talent galore waiting in the wings. New signings such as Richard McCullough have the ability to make a real impact on the local scene. All in all, the potential is there for a very successful season for the North Down club.
Henry triumphs in Dublin Grand Prix
On Saturday last Stuart Henry made the long journey to Dunboyne and took one of his biggest wins to date. In the Dublin Wheelers GP for S5’s Vets and Juniors, with a field of over 100 riders, the eighteen year old Bangor junior went from the gun. He was joined by veteran Irish Road Race Champion, Sean Bracken (Usher IRC) and John Wall (Cycleways) and the trio quickly set about establishing a substantial lead.
However, in typical style, the peleton did not give in easily and in spite of the efforts of the trio at the front, the lead rarely rose above 30 seconds during the first crucial 20 miles. However, gradually the elastic started to snap and the pursuers fell further and further behind. The concern for the North Down supporters was that Henry would be out-foxed by his more experienced break-away companions. However, they need not have worried. Wall led out the sprint but Henry quickly responded and on the line he had a clear victory. Brendan Whelan (Swords CC) won the massive bunch sprint to take fourth place.
Results Dublin Whelers GP
1. Stuart Henry (North Down CC)1hr 44mins 15secs
2. Sean Bracken (Usher IRC)
3. John Wall (Dunboyne CC)
4. Brendan Whelan (Lucan Staggs)
5. John Doris (Epic MTB)
6. Richie Keddy (Winning Solutions)
Boyce Wins Haldane
The following day the North Down mini-bus headed for Hilltown and the John Haldane event. The atmosphere on the way to the race was buoyant and it was even more enthusiastic when Noel Boyce forged ahead on the first lap. Along with Cummins (Phoenix), Quinn (Apollo), Gray (Cuchullain) and Boyland (Lakeland) Noel’s group quickly established an unassailable lead.
As on the previous day, it was the pink and black that was driving the break. Again the concern was that the Conlig rider may be leaving too much on the road. Once again their fears were totally unfounded. Noel has put in a tremendous winter’s training, both in the clubroom and on the road and he put it to good use. As the break neared the line Cummins launched a savage attack, but Boyce coolly and confidently accelerated forward unto his wheel. From then on it was a formality and with 100m to go he launched his attack, leaving the rest in his wake. A worthy winner and a very satisfying weekend’s racing for the North Down club.
1 Noel Boyce (North Down CC) 36 miles 1-32-44
2. Finbar Cummins (Phoenix CC) st
3. Davy Quinn (Apollo) st
4. Martin Gray (Cuchullain CC) st
5. Kenny Boylan (Lakeland CC) st
6. Paul Wilkinson (West Down Wheelers) @ 2-00
Coastal Cycling Challenge
The organiser of the Coastal Challenge, Terry Nicoletti, informs us that we can look forward to a bumper Coastal Challenge event this year. The event has had to be moved to a Sunday for the first time, due to PSNI concerns regarding the huge numbers of cyclists on the open roads. This year it will take place on the 21st June.
This is definitely an event which is appealing to the non-cyclist. Each year hundreds of casual cyclists from near and far converge on Bangor for this charity event. Even though the on-line entry system has just opened (www.northdowncc.com) already over 100 have entered! This is quite amazing as a maximum of 700 entries will be accepted. If any inhabitant of the borough would like to take part in this year’s Coastal Challenge they could contact the North Down club for advice and training tips.
The organisers are indebted to Bike It Cycles, Belfast, who are once again supporting the event. The 2009 Coastal Challenge will follow a similar pattern to previous years, starting and finishing at the Sports Complex in Bangor. Everyone’s hope is that this year’s event will be blessed with fairer weather than last year.