BANGOR COASTAL CHALLENGE – A SIZZLING SUCCESS
This year’s Bangor Coastal Challenge enjoyed beautiful sunny weather in contrast to previous years with over 700 cyclists taking to the roads for the ninth year of the event. The oldest cyclist on the day to complete the trip was 84 – well done Billy. Also a number of visually impaired people enjoyed the trip courtesy of volunteer tandem riders. Organisers from North Down Cycling Club were delighted with the turnout and enthusiasm shown by the participants in their goal to raise funds for three units at the Ulster Hospital.
Among the starters at the Sportsplex in Bangor was a Police Bicycle Unit with Police Motorcycle outriders and a support vehicle to oversee this huge event. The route took the riders from Bangor around the Ards Peninsula passing through Donaghadee, Millisle, Ballywalter, Ballyhalbert and on to Portaferry via Portavogie and Ardminnan. Lunch was the traditional bowl of stew and some refreshments served up in the Barholm Guest House by the catering ladies who did an excellent job. The return journey was via the Shore Road, Kircubbin, Greyabbey, through Newtownards and on to the finish at the Sportsplex in Bangor. After collecting their well earned tee shirts and goodie bags the superbly organised display of bicycles by Bikeit Cycles and their main supplier Merida Cycles, as well as the traditional barbeque, helped people relax, catch their breath and reflect on a shared experience.
Mechanical backup for the event was supplied by both Bikeworks at Balloo in Bangor and Bikeit Cycles, Grand Parade, Belfast. Their services were greatly appreciated by the cyclists they assisted – they did a great job on the day.
North Down Cycling Club’s Event Co-ordinator, Terry Nicoletti, also wishes to thank the following: all the participants; the Club Volunteers who gave willingly of their time to marshal, assist with registration, car parking, road signing, sweeper vehicles and all other general assistance; the Police Service for their expertise and help during the event; the Pro-Paramedics for their valued medical back up; the County Down motorists for their patience and understanding on the day; Bikeit Cycles for their financial support which was gratefully received and appreciated.
Terry went on to say that the success of the event was attributable to the team work of the volunteers and supporters of this worthwhile charity cycle ride.
North Down Cycling Club looks forward to presenting a donation to Northern Ireland Diabetes, Stroke and Cardiology Units at the Ulster Hospital in due course.
Last week’s local action moved to the centre of Newtownards for the Ards CC sponsored town centre criterium. A criterium is a road race run over a relatively short road circuit, frequently in town centres and requiring the riders to maintain high speeds despite having to negotiate tight corners. There were two senior races on the card last week and in the main race it was local rider Martin Irvine who rode to victory, just ahead of Glen Kinning of East Antrim/Audi. North Down’s Ross Blayney also found the fast track to his liking and he came a creditable sixth. This type of race was ideally suited to Irvine’s strengths with him being a successful member of the Irish team pursuit track team. Irvine was in action again last Friday evening in a similar race, this time in the centre of Belfast. Riding for the Irish team he was up against some of the best riders in Britain, all of whom have been racing regularly in the Halford’s UK series.
The supporting race in Ards was barely begun when there was an attack by two riders, Mark McDowell of East Antrim/Audi and Warren Polly of North Down. The move proved to be decisive and the two men stayed away and McDowell took the sprint ahead of Polly.