North Down’s Neil McKenna continued to display the sort of form last weekend which has made him one of the most feared roadmen in the country. In the 60 mile Tour of the Lakes, over hilly roads on the Inishowen Peninsula, the going was always going to be tough and in such circumstances the best always come to the fore.
In the closing stages Ballymena junior, Philip Bremnar, attacked and was soon joined by current National Hill Climb Champion, An Post’s Ronan McLaughlin, current National Criterium Champion Peter Hawkins, Lurgan’s Thomas Martin and McKenna. This group quickly built up an unassailable lead and in the sprint for the line it was Hawkins, who recently competed in the 5 day Tour of Surrey, who took the victory, narrowly edging out both McLaughlin with McKenna .
This was an exceptional result for Neil who has recently been up-graded to S2. As was noted by many, he will be a rider to watch out for next season. I would suggest, however, that he will also be a rider to watch in this weekend’s Ulster Road Race Championships. We all wish him every success.
Jessica on International Duty
North Down’s Jessica Laird was in Belgium last weekend, riding in the Irish Junior squad. This was a fitting accolade for the Regent House pupil who has been riding strongly on the road all season.
In the first race, which was a Criterium, Jessica told me: ‘…from the word go attacks were launched every few seconds.’ Jessica was pleased with how she was able to respond, but disappointed when the group she was detached from the main peleton. Howeve
r, this disappointment only added to her determination for the race the following day.
Again the attacks started almost straight away. Learning from her experience from the previous day, Jessica made a point of staying at the front. Unfortunately for Jessica, two girls got away and the rest seemed unwilling to work to bring them back. Nevertheless this was good experience for the North Down first year junior and will stand her in good stead when she returns to Germany as part of the Irish Junior Squad.
Club 5 Mile Time Trial
In the final 5 mile time trial of the season Matt McInerney returned an exceptional time of 11 minutes and 3 seconds to crown what has been an excellent come-back year. Clearly with a good, solid winter’s training in his legs, Matt will be winning not only North Down races again next year but also open events.
1. Matt McInerney, 11:03
2. Paul Swinerton, 11:10
3. John Hunter, 11:15
4. William Barkley, 12:08
5. Craig Swinerton, 12:15
6. Mark Hodgins, 12:44
7. Ian Inglis, 12:52
8. Duane McCreadie, 13:05
9. Colin Massey, 14:19
Ardill and Patterson Road Race
The final club road race of the season saw Neil McKenna lift the coveted Ardill and Patterson trophy. This quiet, unassuming rider certainly has finished the season with a bang and must be really looking forward to the club prize-presentation.
On the night the scratch group, which had been given a 4 minute handicap, worked well from the start and quickly over-hauled the rest of the field. Constant attacking on the last lap reduced the main group to a quintet of Paul Ferguson, Liam Curran, Neil McKenna, Stuart Henry and Alan Lavery. Twice on the run-in from Donaghadee Henry opened small gaps, but was reeled in each time. As Henry was caught just before Groomsport, McKenna, who had been a power-house all night, launched what proved to be the decisive move, crossing the line 4 seconds in front of Liam Curran with Paul Ferguson taking third place a further 2 seconds in arrears, Alan Lavery and Stuart Henry filled the next two positions a further 5 seconds back.
This result means that not only did Neil win the Ardill and Patterson Trophy but he also is the winner of the season-long Road Race League! The final Road Race
League Table is as follows:
Neil McKenna 28 points
Alan Lavery 16 points
Noel Boyce 15 points
Stuart Henry 14 points
Paul Ferguson 14 points
William Barclay 13 points
Matt McInerney 13 points
Nathan McLeer 11 points
Darren McKee 7 points
Matty Blayney 3 points
Sam Craig 1 point
Norman Wilson 1 point
Whilst the racing season is very much on the wane, the recreational cyclists are going strong. Touring Secretary, Terry Nicoletti, has drawn up a programme for September:
- Sunday 7th Island Wheelers 100K Gortgonis Sports Centre Coalisland 9.30AM www.islandwheelers.co.uk
- Sunday 14th Tour of Strangford 100K Portaferry Road Newtownards 10.00AM www.ardscyclingclub.co.uk
- Saturday 20th Marie Curie 30miles Downpatrick East Down Inst 9.00-11.00AM www.mariecurie.org.uk
- Sunday 21st John Lindsay Mem Torr Head Chall 115K or 85K Ballygalley 10.30AM www.team-makigan.org.uk
- Sunday 21st September Orchard CC are running a charity cycle for Age Concern in conjunction with Richhill festival week. The run will be 60 miles and is open to everyone of all ages and abilities. There will be refreshments along the route and at the finish. The cost is £10.00 for a good cause. Sign on is open at 9am with the roll out at 10am. For more information contact me through this email address firstname.lastname@example.org