Paul’s Pedal Power
It was reported a few weeks ago that top North Down Cycling Club roadman, Paul Ferguson, was beginning to make quite an impression in off-road events. Last weekend’s excellently organised XMTB event demonstrated just how far Paul has come as he decimated the opposition on his way to his first victory.
In the eight lap race Paul went clear on the first lap along with Johnny Beers (XMTB), Paul McMenamin (Specialized/Leisure Lakes) and Phil O’Neill (Banbridge CC). They quickly established a decisive break and the lead was swapped amongst the three during the first three laps. However, by the half-way mark Paul had forged a slender lead and lap by lap the gap to the others just simply kept getting wider and wider, leaving the local rider to score a convincing win over McMenamin, with O’Neill trailing in a further 30 seconds later.
Fourth to finish was another North Down rider, Stuart Henry. Although starting at the back of the grid, the strong schoolboy, however, worked his way through the field and by the half-way stage was up to fifth place. More importantly for Henry his main contender in the Under 16 Category, Johnny Beers, was now in fourth place. It was little surprise, therefore, that Henry, quickly closed the gap on Beers and by lap 5 was in the lead in the schoolboy category, a position which he never looked likely to lose, eventually finishing over two minutes in front of the Antrim rider.
North Down had two riders in the cyclo cross event, Keith Millar and Michael Hamilton. Keith, in particular, had a tremendous performance in an event dominated by Banbriridge international Roger Aiken. In the end Keith Millar was the best North Down fionisher in the cyclo cross race in 13th place, followed two places later by the ebullient Michael Hamilton.
However, Aiken looked awesome as he rode around half the pack to take the lead just before the start of the second lap. The Dromore based rider maintained his brilliant pace over the second half of the race, only easing off slightly on the final lap and despite a last lap charge from McGreevy, Ferguson held on to second, almost four minutes down on Aiken!
All in all, this proved to be a great day’s racing and full credit must go to XMTB for the course they designed and for the overall organization of the event. From North Down’s perspective, it is great to see Millar and Hamilton going so well on the cross bike and thrilling to see Ferguson so totally dominant in the mountain bike race. To all, a big ‘well done’!
Roller Record Attempt
Everyone in North Down were absolutely delighted to hear that Paul Swenarton intends having a crack at the Northern Ireland 12 hour Roller Record in 2008. In typical meticulous fashion, Paul is already planning for the attempt which he hopes will take place next Autumn. Record attempts are a particularly demanding but exhilarating aspect of any sport. Unlike road races, for example, there is no hiding place- you either win or lose, there’s no second place. Yet it is this very aspect which increases the kudos of such an event and makes the success all the more pleasurable.
The record that Paul hopes to break is the two-man Northern Ireland Roller Record which will require him and his partner averaging over 40 mph for the 12 hours! At present Paul is searching for someone of the right calibre to partner him in this challenge. Anyone who would like to be considered should contact him as soon as possible, with tests being carried out in the spring to decide the final line-up. So here’s your chance to get your name in the record books!