It’s been a good week for North Down cycling with John Hunter and Paul Swenarton recording times of 22.45 and 22.12 respectively in the Ulster Championship, Noel Boyce taking second place in the combined race at Hillsborough, Paul Ferguson 4th in the Emma McMullan Cup, Nathan McLeer winning his first under 16 race and Stuart Henry finishing 2nd in the Sint baas Vijve race in Belgium.
However, for Stuart the ‘icing on the cake’ was the Email to confirm that he had been selected to ride for Ireland in the European Junior Championships in July. This was a season-long target for the Regent House schoolboy, who is now flat out in a race against time to ensure that, following the completion of his A Level studies, he is fully fit for this event which will be held this year in the ‘hot bed’ of world cycling, Flanders.
Everything is in place for one of the biggest cycling events in the country, the Bangor Coastal Challenge, which will cover the roads of the Ards Peninsula this weekend. The event starts at 10am on Sunday morning and over 700 cyclists will promenade through Bangor, en route for Donaghadee, Ballywalter and Portaferry where there will be a lunch stop. The group will then make their way back to the Ballykillaire Sports Complex via Kircubbin, Greyabbey and Ards.
North Down Cycling Club will be looking forward to welcoming cyclists from all over the British Isles to what could be considered some of the most beautiful roads in Ireland. As a charity event there is also a huge ‘spin-off’ for Diabetes Northern Ireland and the Stroke and Cardiology Units at the Ulster Hospital who last year received over £7,500 from this event. Thanks to the assistance of local sponsors, this target may even be surpassed this year. For example, not only are both North Down Borough Council and Ards Borough Council supporting the event but there is also much assistance from businesses, such as Bike It Cycles of Grand Parade in Belfast, Vittel Spring Water and Balloo based Bike Works are supplying mechanical back up during the event. All that is now needed is the weather!
Children’s Cycle Skills and Fun Night
This night next week sees the annual Children’s Cycle Skills and Fun Night move from the traditional Valentine’s site to Bloomfield Shopping Centre Car Park. This is a much awaited event and with around 60 children pre-booked, it clearly is as popular as ever. With the move to Bloomfield Shopping Centre, event organiser Noel Boyce has taken the opportunity to develop a new and an interesting set of skills to test the youngsters in a challenging, fun event.
Thanks to the support of North Down Sports Development, Bikeworks in Balloo and Autobar (Vending Machines) there will be lots of prizes on the night for the young people. Before the activities commence, at 6 pm, all the children will have the opportunity of having their bicycles checked in a MOT type test. This check will be carried out by Bikeworks mechanics who will provide this service at absolutely no cost.
The school children will then register and we would ask as many club members as possible to assist these young cyclists of the future. At the end there will be an opportunity to taste Terry Nicolette’s culinary delights at the barbecue.
Once again there was a big field in the club 10 mile time trial on Wednesday night last. The conditions were far from ideal on the Donaghadee to Groomsport Road; nevertheless some excellent times were recorded. Not surprisingly, it was champion time trialist Paul Swenarton who took the laurels (23.16), almost a minute ahead of the French rider Antoine Rivoire (24.12) with up-and-coming Richard McCullough (24.22) taking 3rd place. Two more experienced riders Norman Wilson (24.39) and Noel Boyce (25.13) completed the top five.