McCullough’s 1st Win
It was fitting that Richard McCullough, grandson of a founder member of North Down Cycling Club Eric Dunne, won the first club race ever to have used the Kirkiston circuit. Richard, an acknowledged expert on the waves, demonstrated that he is just as good on two wheels as he is using the power of the wind. Like a sizeable number of yachtsmen, Richard has in recent years taken to the bike to try and improve fitness levels and found themselves ‘hooked’. Indeed Richard has begun to show. promise in open races and is competing in the tough Donegal 3 Day this weekend.
On Wednesday night last he didn’t have to contend with the hills he’ll face in Donegal, but he did have to deal with a ferocious wind in the back straight. As the handicap race progressed, this began to take its toll on the large field. The 12 man middle group, of which Richard was a part, proved strongest on the night. They were given a 2 minute start on the scratch group, but after a few laps it was obvious that they were never going to be caught. With experience and ability in the form of Raymond Brownfield, Noel Boyce, Paul Swenarton and Alan Lavery, this group began to actually increase their lead and it was ultimately the middle group which caught the limit riders and sprinted for the line.
1 Richard McCullough
2 Noel Boyce
3 Paul Swenarton
4 Paul Ferguson
5 Michael Hamilton
6 Duane McCreadie
7 Nathan McLeer
Paul Ferguson is riding into a rich vein of form with strong aggressive riding in both last Saturday’s Groucho Grand Prix and Sunday’s Tour of the Mournes. On Saturday Paul broke from the bunch, along with Ray Brownfield (Team Curran) on the second lap. However, the peleton were not in the mood to let anyone go and they never had more than a 30 second advantage.
Brownfield eventually dropped back into the bunch but Ferguson, now joined by Cathal Smyth and Fergus Rooney of Phoenix CC, kept on the attack. The three of them stayed away for much of the race with Smyth dropping back on lap 7. The other two kept going only to be caught in the final run-in to the finish.
On Sunday the Tour of the Mournes was run over some of the most beautiful roads in the country, starting and finishing in Newry and taking in Newcastle and Rathfriland. Once again Paul demonstrated that he can read a race and was at the head of affairs, in the decisive move as the race returned to Newry. In the dash for the line Paul took a well earned 4th place. These performances bring Paul up to equal 7th place in the all-Ireland S2 rankings, just 4 points behind the leader, Dublin’s Ciaran Mangan. It is clear that Paul is now oozing with confidence and his first win of the season must just be around the corner.
North Down’s Soigneur
One of those who must accept some of the credit for the performance of riders such as Paul Ferguson is the club’s soigneur, Harry Adams. Harry has worked hard to encourage and present the North Down riders in the best physical condition for all races. His efficiency and expertise has been noted and this weekend he heads off for his biggest event yet, the FBD Rás, where he will be masseur for the Down team. Harry has the aptitude to do an excellent job, regardless of the event, and this might be a stepping stone to even bigger things. We wish him well.
Tour of Mayo
The Tour of Mayo, which is one of our traditional recreational tours in which North Down Cycling Club participates, is being held this year on Sunday 24th May. It is planned to take the minibus to this event, travelling there on the Saturday. There will be a limited number of seats and accommodation needs to be booked for the Saturday night. It is imperative, therefore, if anyone wants to book a seat that they contact Terry Nicoletti immediately.
Tuesday Night Recreational Cycles
If it’s your desire to try your hand at recreational cycling, but you have limited experience, the famous Tuesday night cycles have recommenced after the winter lay-off. These trips last about an hour and take in the highways and bye ways of North Down. If you are interested, then all you have to do is turn up at the Groomsport Roundabout at 7.30pm on any Tuesday night and you will be made most welcome.
Cycling Skills Night
The North Down Cycling Children’s Skills night is planned for Thursday 25th June. This is one of the occasions when the club can give something back to the community by encouraging children to ride their bicycles safely and at the same time realize the fun that can be had through cycling. By tradition we also have a free barbecue after the event, so it’s certainly not a night to be missed. This year there will be a change of venue, with the club being fortunate enough to be offered the forecourt of Bloomfield Shopping Centre. This will be a fitting shop window for one of the most progressive and community minded clubs in the country.