Irish Record for Rachel
Last weekend the Cycling Ireland Track Commission ran a selection event in Dublin to pick a development team to compete in the Meadowbank Grand Prix in Edinburgh next month. The inclement weather did hamper the cyclists in their efforts, but an outstanding ride by North Down Cycling Club’s Rachel Mitchell saw her equal the standard set by Cycling Ireland for the 200m, recording the fastest time of the day with 14.60 sec, to put her name in the record books as the first holder of the Junior National Women’s Record.
Next off was the Standing Start 500m Time Trial, where Ailbhe Ivory (Bray Whs) set a new Irish Record when her time of 45.84 was one second inside the standard set by Cycling Ireland. Her joy, however, was short lived as Rachel again set the fastest time of the day taking a full 3 seconds off the standard.
Not surprisingly, therefore, Rachael was the first name pencilled into the team for the junior women’s team which will represent Ireland at the Meadowbank Grand Prix in August. The other members of the team are: Rachael Withers Fintona CC , Ailbhe Ivory Bray, Fiona Guihan Navan RC, Heather Beirne Navan RC
Not content with this performance Rachael returned to Dublin for the International Meeting and in a field of top class seniors beat her own Junior record this time posting a time of 42.20 in a race won by Joanna Hickey (Usher) in a time of 39.71 secs (which is also a new National Record). Clearly Rachael is in terrific form and we wish her well when she takes on the cream of the cross-channel talent at Meadowbank.
All-Ireland Youth Championships
Top North Down schoolboy, Nathan McLeer, made the long trek to Arklow for the All-Ireland Youth Championships last weekend. In an event which the Ulster youths dominated, winning a total of 26 medals out of a grand total of 54, Nathan continued to impress.
The All-Ireland Youth Championships comprises of three events; a time trial, criterion and road race. In some respects it was a frustrating weekend for Nathan as he came exceptionally close to a podium place on two occasions and was baulked by a crash in the criterion. However, it was nonetheless a fine weekend’s racing by the St. Columbanus pupil and one that he can be very proud of.
Nathan competes this weekend in round one of the two-round Youth Inter Provincial Track series takes place next week at the Sun Drive Track in Dublin. After his experience in Belgium and his form at the All-Ireland’s he is clearly an important part of the Ulster team which will hope to bring the trophy back north.
Around 36 dedicated cyclists set off from North Down Cycling Club's head quarters at Park Drive Club Rooms in Bangor to undertake the 100 mile route to Newcastle and back taking in some of the most scenic countryside that County Down has to offer. The route took the cyclists through Newtownards, Comber, Raffrey, Crossgar, Clough, Maghera and on to Newcastle in much welcomed dry and sunny weather.
The pace was challenging but remained at a level which enabled a large spectrum of cyclists a safe and satisfying event. At the halfway point in Newcastle a much anticipated refreshmen
t break was enjoyed by all and this also gave an opportunity for the participants to consider the return journey to Bangor which would see them navigate their way around the coast to Dundrum, Killough, Ardglass and Strangford. After the short ferry crossing to Portferry the group, now in familiar territory, made rapid progress with the aid of a tail wind up the Ards Peninisula via Cloughy, Ballyhalbert, Ballywalter and on to Bangor.
During the cycle organiser, Terry Nicoletti, highlighted the need for cyclists to have consideration for other road users when cycling in such a large group and emphasised the need to keep a disciplined two abreast formation, keeping as far as possible well into the left of the lane. He went on to emphasise that where necessary it is important for the group to move to a single file formation to allow traffic the opportunity to pass when safe to do so. The roads are busy places and we as cyclists, who are generally also motorists, know what it is like to sit behind a slower moving vehicle for mile after mile and therefore should show as much understanding as possible to ensure a mutual respect when sharing the roads.
This event has become a regular trip for North Down Cycling Club and this year has been a great success with the good weather greatly contributing to a safe and enjoyable outing for the Club. The number of calories consumed in Newcastle helped fuel the return journey!
Aquatech North Down Grand Prix
Plans are well ahead for the Aquatech Grand Prix, promoted by North Down CC. This year the event will take place on Sunday the 23rd August on the Bangor, Donaghadee, Orlock, Springwell circuit. There will be in access of £700 in prize-money for this major event with the winner lifting a hefty £150.
This race is open to all racing cyclists and should attract the cream of Irish cycling to the roads of North Down. The event is being co-ordinated by Anthony Mitchell and as usual he is asking as many club members as possible to make a note of the date, so that they can be there either to compete of help officiate.