25 Mile Time Trial – Wed 16th May
Twenty-five brave riders turned up for the first “25” of the year. Fortunately the rain stayed off and the winds were light allowing rides to set some fast times along the Portaferry road with two riders coming in under the magic “hour.” It’s not the flattest “25” in Northern Ireland so well done to all who participated.
Heading the results sheet was Louise Tognieri with Alison McMullan, as ever, not far behind. Can’t be long now before Alison takes her first win of the year! She has already set an average time over the last three events quick enough to qualify for a club medal so with the season stretching ahead of her she is surely only going to improve.
As ever many thanks to our helpers and marshals. Eric in particular did a fine job considering he retired from the role nearly 6 months ago.
Next week the club is back down at Kirkiston for Round 2 of the racing series. As ever the race will be handicapped giving everyone the possibility of winning and with children’s racing too there should be something for everyone.
The club has put together a program of leisure events that it will be actively encouraging members to participate in. These will be mostly flatish events of 50 to 60 miles, sometimes with a longer option. The next event will be Sun 27th May. Over the Quoile promoted by La Lanterne Rouge and departing from Loughinisland at 09.45am. There will be £10 entry fee.
Everyone in the club was sorry to hear that Des McCoy took unwell recently. Best wishes and a speedy recovery to him. Hopefully one of our usual midweek cyclists will inform the staff in the coffee shop at Ballywalter to cut back on the rhubarb tart production for a week or two. To the cognizant Des is most readily identified as the proud wearer of the Merckx era Molteni jersey with a similar style of riding.
Chain Reaction Cycles Northern Ireland Championships
‘Superb racing, on a safe well marshalled circuit,’ was the comment of local cycling legend, Paul Kane after taking the silver medal in the Northern Ireland Road Race Championships. Kane’s comments were echoed by others who proclaimed the North Down promotion as an excellent championship circuit which; ‘separated the men from the boys’.
The day began at 10.00 with the Northern Ireland Youth Championships, which were sponsored by the Bokhara Restaurant in Bangor. This is an Indian restaurant with close links to the promoting North Down club and what was served up was a fine array of the hottest talent around and some of the finest racing seen this year. Nowhere was this more evident than in the under 14 race where East Tyrone’s Jake Gray raced to an impressive lead in the first lap and was never seen again, reaching the line almost 5 minutes in front of the opposition. Those at the finish at Orlock were clearly seeing a star of the future in the making.
The winner in the Under 16 category was third generation Banbridge CC rider, Matthew Taggart who also lifted the crown in 2011. After last year’s race the question was asked: ‘Has another dynasty been born?’ as both Matthew’s father, Neil, and his grandfather, Noel, as being champions in their own right. It seems that Matthew is beginning to answer that question himself.
The Over 50’s race was held on the same circuit and the large field took to the event with youthful enthusiasm. For the first time in one of these events a handicap was introduced to give the less experienced ‘club riders’ a greater opportunity. This really worked well and it was not until the latter stages that the limit group was reeled in. When it came to the sprint their was only going to be one winner, the one and only Noel Boyce. Noel, from the promoting North Down club has been simply unbeatable in this category in 2012 and once again he took the chequered flag.
In the Heineken Cup on Saturday Leinster made it three in a row and on the roads of North Down on Sunday Heather Folley(Maryland Wheelers) became the ladies championship for the third consecutive year. Like Boyce in the Over 50’s race, the Commonwealth Games competitor is simply in a class of her own and she soloed to another impressive victory. However, it was really encouraging to see so many North Down ladies in the fray. Alison McMullan, Kerry Speers and Louise Togneri were always in contention for a podium finish, with Louise Tognieri having to eventually settle for an excellent 4th place.
The A4 race was hugely competitive from the drop of the flag. The massive peloton, however, never allowed anyone to establish a significant lead. Eventually it was all down to the sprint. With riders of the caliber of Noel Munnis, Paul Kirk, Garth Beattie and Barry Hamilton at the head of affairs the partisan home crowd were hoping for another North Down rider crossing the line to take the victory. Disaster was to happen literally yards from the line when a touch of wheels resulted in a mass pile-up taking no less than three North Down riders out. Noel Munnis, Peter Doggart and Barry Hamilton ended their day, not on the podium but in the Ulster Hospital. We wish them well and a speedy recovery. The race was won by Peter Stewart (Phoenix ), with Paul Kirk being the highest placed North Down rider in 5th place.
The senior ‘blue ribbon’ event was a thrilling and very unpredictable affair. Numerous breaks went off the front and were closed down by the efficient Pink and Black train, which was working tirelessly for Matty Blayney. Around the half-way stage, as so often happens, an innocuous break slipped off the front and very quickly built up what seemed to be an unbeatable lead. However, once again the Pink and Black train hit the front and after a long hard chase brought the break back with less than three miles to go to the finish. At this stage the very experienced East Antrim rider, Gary Cranston attacked and reached the line with seconds to spare before the fast moving bunch all but swallowed him up. In the mass gallop for the line Matty Blayney once again demonstrated his sprinting prowess taking 6th place overall.
Perhaps the biggest winner was the well-oiled North Down machine, which did such a great job marshaling the event. With devoted club members willing to drive cars in the cavalcade and stand for hours as marshals them what else could it be but a huge success and well worthy of the accolade of being one of the best single day classics in the country.
Chain Reaction Northern Ireland Senior Championship
1 Gary Cranston East Antrim Audi
2 Paul Kane Dave Kane Cycles
3 Thomas Lavery Comeragh
4 Kieran McKenna East Antrim Audi
5 Glen Warnock Omagh
6 Matty Blayney North Down CC
N. Ireland Junior Champion
1 Matthew Doyle Foyle
2 Daniel Stewart East Antrim Audi
N. Ireland Woman’s Championship
1 Heather Folley Maryland Wheelers
2 Judith Russell Phoenix
3 Shinead Rivers Roe Valley
4. Louise Togneri North Down CC
Bokhara N. Ireland Under 16Championship
1. Matthew Taggert Banbridge CC
2. Declan Mulholland ClannEireann
3. Cahill Clarke NewyWheeelers
BokharaN. IrelandU14 Race Championship
1. Jake Gray East Tyrone CC
2. Keiran McFadden Errigal
3. Conor McLaughlin Newry Wheelers
Bokhara N. Ireland U14 Race Girls’ Championship
Sheena McKievergan Banbridge
A4’s – 67km
1. Peter Stewart Phoenix CC
2. Michael Doherty North Pole CC
3. Aaron McGrady Dromara CC
4. Stephen Fletcher East Antrim Audi
5. Paul Kirk North Down CC
6. Gary McDermott East Antrim Audi
Over 50’s Race
1. Noel Boyce North Down
2. Ian Cochran Banbridge CC
3. Phil Beattie Phoenix CC
4. Geoff Hewitt Banbridge CC
5 Ian Blayney North Down CC
6. Paul McGuikin Banbridge CC
1st Un-placed NDCC Michael Crowe