A tribute to Eric Dunne

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A tribute to Eric Dunne.

It was with great sadness that members of North Down Cycling Club, past and present, learnt of the death of founder member, Eric Dunne, on 27th August. Eric had been in poor health for some time and he passed away peacefully at home.

Eric was a really enigmatic character who was much loved by all who knew him. Like his father and his two brothers, Ivan and David, he was a stalwart of City of Derry Wheelers where he was industrious in organising and competing in events throughout his youth. Work took him away from the Maiden City in the early 50’s and he joined the Kings Moss club back in 1954. He remained a member of ‘The Moss’ up until he was persuaded to be part of the steering committee which brought North Down Cycling Club into existence in 1977.

Eric was a fine athlete. He was the British Police Champion and he podiumed in countless local races. Indeed, he was 2nd in the Tour of Wicklow where he was beaten by the legendary Shay Elliott.

Perhaps his greatest accomplishment, however, was the input he had in developing cycling in the local community. He was a tireless worker for the fledgling North Down club, always on hand to assist at races, lead club runs or pass on his cycling expertise to a younger generation. He was the first treasurer of North Down Cycling Club and it was under his careful stewardship, that the club was established as one of the most progressive outfits in the country.

Eric particularly enjoyed the pioneering work which the club did with cycling for the visually handicapped. He piloted a tandem for both Michael Beggs and Paddy Gallen, winning many races both at home and abroad. Eric had the perfect temperament for this activity. He was an athlete and enjoyed the physicality of racing but he was also very caring and he appreciated the opportunity of sharing with others the freedom which cycling affords.

On top of that he had a real sense of fun. The stories that are associated with Eric are countless. For example, on a tandem trip to Norway it is reported that, on one occasion, Eric swapped
places with his pillion passenger, the visually handicapped Paddy Gallen! The outcome was obvious – but typical of Eric.

Other stories revolve around Eric’s thrift. His brother, David tells the story of one cycling holiday where Eric repaired 7 punctures in one tube before being convinced by Ivan and David that he
needed to change the tube! In more recent times his family bought him a new bike – which Eric insisted on ‘keeping good’ ie never riding. Eventually he sold the bike insisting it was ‘the legs that were important not the bike’.

On one of his last club runs a few years ago Eric was involved in a ‘racing accident’ when sprinting for the 30’s coming into Bangor. He was duly transported to the Ulster Hospital where the medical staff horrified Eric by cutting off his favourite cycling top. In true Eric fashion he insisted that they returned the lacerated and bloodied Carerra top which he had laundered and
sewn back together again. That top still hangs in his wardrobe today.

Eric was a very active member of North Down Cycling Club up until his late 70’s. However, age was never an obstacle to him. Indeed, on many occasions he asked that his performances in club races wouldn’t be noted as Renée, his wife, thought he was only marshalling at the events not competing.

Eric was a true character. His real passion was cycling, be it recreational, competing, administration or coaching. He gave of his time, talents and expertise selflessly and was always one to offer a word of encouragement and advice and never to ‘put down’ another rider’s efforts. It is pleasing to see that his cycling legacy is continuing through his own children and grandchildren.

Everyone was so delighted that he was able to attend the North Down Cycling Club’s 40th celebration last autumn. Eric will be greatly missed by the whole cycling community and our thoughts are with Renée and the whole extended family.

North Down GP 2018

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Last Sunday, North Down Cycling Club (NDCC) hosted a top class series of open road races with a magnificent combined prize fund of some £2,000. Donaghadee Community Centre became the busy race headquarters for the day, with over 120 riders registering to compete in four separate races. The familiar, but testing, eight-mile race circuit runs in an anti-clockwise loop, beginning on the Warren Road, with a left turn at Groomsport up the Springwell Road and then back towards the Dee along the High Bangor Road.

The hotly contested Masters category race was first off and in-form Paul McArthur (NDCC) reaped the rewards of a dedicated training regime, powering his way to a decisive victory ahead of Ian McClure (Dave Kane) and Fergal Magee (Apollo).

Although the ladies race had relatively few entries, Laura Wylie (Maryland Wheelers) put in an impressive performance, securing a comfortable win over Meta Johnston (Team Madigan) and Caroline Riddell (NDCC).

The 49 mile A4 race attracted a really strong field, but with a freshening headwind along the Warren Road followed by the testing drag up to Orlock, many in the bunch looked to conserve energy for the final lap. The race duly finished in a full bore bunch sprint, with John Rafferty (Ards CC) edging it over Damian O’Hagan (Clougher Valley) and Jonny Taylor (NDCC).

The main race was a high intensity affair, covering 82 miles over 10 gruelling laps. The fast pace soon fractured the peloton with a strong breakaway of six riders holding a 50 second gap over the chasing group for over four laps. In the final lap, the six were reduced to four and Chris McGlinchey (Chain Reaction Cycles) clinched the first prize of £300, just ahead of Lindsay Watson (Powerhouse Sport), Craig Rea Viner (Caremark Pactimo), and Angus Fyffe (Caldwell Cycles). A fantastic effort from all the competitors. The top placed A3 rider, Daniel Graham (Mellow Velo), was the first recipient of NDCC’s Gavin Moore Memorial trophy.

Race Director Ian Blayney was delighted with the event and NDCC would like to thank the Cycling Ireland Commissaries and the various sponsors for their contributions. Many competitors praised the professional organisation, the generous catering, and the safety conscious marshalling from over 50 club volunteers. Thanks also to the motorists and local residents of North Down for their patience throughout the day.

Pictures courtesy of Fotozone Armagh and the Belgian Project

North Down GP Start List

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The 2018 start lists for the North Down GP!
Racing gets underway at 10am with the main race at 12noon! Sign on opens at 9am and closes at 11:30am for afternoon races!

A*,1,2,3 Race

Andrew Hedley Ards CC
Roman Sarvas Ards CC
Richard Maybin Ballymena Road Club
James Mcmaster Bikehouse CC
Johnny Taylor Carn Wheelers
Ian Clarke Carrickmacross Cycling Club
Christopher McGlinchey Chain Reaction Cycles
Aidan Cunningham Cuchulainn CC
Aaron Mcbride Donegal Bay Cycling Club
David Henderson Dromara CC
Aaron Watson Dromara CC
Geoff Alderdice Dromore CC
Dylan Traynor Errigal CC
Barry Mc Kenna Fintona CC – Westtyronevelo.Com
Patrick Withers Fintona CC – Westtyronevelo.Com
Luke Kearney Gerard DHL
Conn Mcdunphy Holdsworth Pro Cycling
Chris Mccann Inspired Cycling
Matthew Mcallister Island Wheelers
Philip Doyle Killinchy CC
Andrew Mccullough Killinchy CC
John Priest Lucan Cycling Road Club
Ryan Lyttle Maryland Wheelers
Mark Lyttle Maryland Wheelers
Daniel Graham Mellow Velo
John Murray Navan
Barry Convery Newry Wheelers
Paul Gannon Newry Wheelers
Rory Loughran Newry Wheelers
Kevin Lynch Newry Wheelers
Mark Mckinley Newry Wheelers
Drew Mckinley Newry Wheelers
Gareth Oneill Newry Wheelers
Des Woods Newry Wheelers
Shaun Carey North Down CC
Andrew Chivers North Down CC
Stuart Henry North Down CC
Nathan Keown North Down CC
Stuart Millar North Down CC
Calum Orr North Down CC
Keith Phillips North Down CC
Johnny Webb North Down CC
Conor Halvey NRPT
Sean Kennedy NRPT
Jacob Allison Phoenix CC
Edward Kearney Phoenix CC
Conal Mckee Phoenix CC
Ciaran Mcveigh Phoenix CC
Padraig Rogan Phoenix CC
Donal Shearer Phoenix CC
Jody Wright Phoenix CC
Lindsay Watson Powerhouse Sport
Brian Mclornan Shimna Wheelers CC
Luke Roberts Shimna Wheelers CC
Jason Earls South East Road Club
Emmet Vallely Square Wheels CC
Paul Norton Strata3/Velo Revolution Works Team
Angus Fyffe Team Caldwell Cycles
Darnell Moore Team Caldwell Cycles
Paul Vaughan Team Sportactive Racing
Michael O Kane Termon Wheelers
Garrett Fitzgerald VC Glendale
Sean Mccourt VC Glendale
Danny OConnor VC Glendale
Macdara O’graham Velo Cafe Magasin
Peter Batey Velo Club Iveagh
Mark Johnston Velo Club Iveagh
Adam Cunningham Velo Club Mourne
Oliver Sloan Velo Club Mourne
Craig Rea Viner Caremark Pactimo
Ben Walsh Vitus Pro Cycling
Paul Wilkinson West Down Wheelers
Conor Devlin  Un-Attached
Sean Mccorry  Un-Attached


John Mccambridge Apollo CC
John Rafferty Ards CC
Laura Campbell Ballymena Road Club
Philip Morrison Ballymena Road Club
Nigel Tennant Ballymena Road Club
Ian Cochrane Banbridge Cycling Club
James Macmahon Banbridge Cycling Club
Neil Mcalister Banbridge Cycling Club
Peter Mcbride Banbridge Cycling Club
Heath Mccombe Caldwell Cycles Omagh
Conor Duffy Castlereagh CC
Mark Dickson Clogher Valley Wheelers
David Burnside Dromore CC
Warren Campbell Dromore CC
Jonathan Coen Dromore CC
James Mackin Dromore CC
Karl Atkinson Emyvale CC
Martin Loughran Harps CC
Richard Gaffikin Killinchy CC
Marty Lynch Newry Wheelers
Mark Mcparland Newry Wheelers
Henry O Neill Newry Wheelers
Irvine Finlay North Down CC
Andrew Green North Down CC
Jonathan Taylor North Down CC
Jason O Toole Southeast Road Club
Gareth Dempsey Square Wheels CC
Stephen Maguire Square Wheels CC
John Mcenteggart Team Cavan Racing
Peter Bingham Team Madigan
David Brannigan Team Madigan
Tim Beattie Unattached Ulster
Damian O Hagan Unattached Ulster
Damian Bone Velo Cafe Magasin
Garrett Greene Velo Cafe Magasin
Gary Mcneill Velo Cafe Magasin
Colin Abernethy Velo Club Iveagh

Coastal Challenge 2018

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The annual North Down Cycling Club (NDCC) Costal Challenge event took place on Sunday 17 June. Now in its seventeenth year, this is probably the most popular charity ride in the calendar with some 850 cyclists taking part. The event attracts riders from far and wide, drawn by the wonderfully scenic route around the Ards Peninsula. At 100km long and with relatively few hills, the ride is comfortable for experienced club cyclists, but also a worthwhile challenge for those newer to the sport. As ever, Sunday’s event had a broad range of competitors, with the more experienced providing encouragement for those who needed it. Club Chairman Micky Forbes said “it’s fantastic to welcome so many cyclists to North Down and the feedback from participants has been tremendous”.

Over the last five years, NDCC has raised over £40,000 for local charities and the proceeds from this year’s event will be donated to the Samaritans, St Vincent De Paul, The Salvation Army and Housing Rights. Congratulations to all those who took part, and thanks to the PSNI and the many volunteers who made the day a great success.

Danske Kirkistown Club Races – Round 2 of 5 (30 May 2018)

There was a magnificent turnout for Round 2 of NDCC’s unique series of races around the Kirkistown motor racing circuit. With near perfect weather conditions, 45 children and 72 adults enjoyed a fantastic evening of safe, fun and competitive racing. Many riders were taking part for the first time, with parents commenting on how much their children loved the experience. In the adult race, some of the neighbouring clubs showed up in force and no prisoners were taken!

Congratulations to Andrew Chivers on winning the adult race and to all the other competitors who took part. Also, thanks to organiser Eric Blayney and his volunteers for staging the event. Round 3 is on 27 June – all welcome.

NDCC’s Rising Star

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North Down Cycling Club’s rising star, young Nathan Keown, recorded his first A3 level race victory at last Saturday’s tough Hilltown GP (organised by the Armagh & Down Cycling Club). Nathan has been racing hard all season and a top spot on the podium was both inevitable and richly deserved. The race was four laps of a hilly 20km circuit, with a long finishing climb of approximately 5km into Hilltown, that played to Nathan’s strengths. Commenting on the race, he said “I rode more tactically than usual and stayed further back in the bunch for most of the race to conserve some energy. On the final lap I was well positioned on the lower part of the climb and a small group of us broke away from the peloton. On the steeper approach to the finish line there was just two of us fighting it out and I just had enough energy left to clinch the win”.

At just 17 years old, Nathan is a prodigious cycling talent and destined for a top class career in the sport. This year he is riding a new lightweight Vitus Vitesse bike, kindly sponsored by Chain Reaction Cycles Boucher Road. Saturday’s win earns Nathan enough points to be upgraded to A2 status and we look forward to hearing of further success in the rest of the season.

Images Courtesy of The Belgian Project.