Dubliner Wins North Down Grand Prix
Dubliner Neil Delahaye (Usher-Irish Road Club) was the convincing winner of the North Down Grand Prix on Saturday last, in what turned out to be an excellent event promoted by the North Down Cycling Club. Delahaye is no stranger to Northern Ireland racing this season, being a regular competitor north of the border, taking runner up in the Wallace Caldwell Memorial, and third in the Tour of the North and from the very first lap he demonstrated his all-round ability on a very demanding course.
Right from the gun the Dubliner went clear, only to be joined on lap two by seven chasers who quickly opened up a lead in excess of two minutes. Pre race favourites Ryan Connor (Giant Asia) and Martyn Irvine (Ards CC) missed the move, however midway through the race the field came together again, only for a three man break to go clear again with Delahaye at the head of affairs, but this time accompanied by Veteran East Antrim-Audi club-mates Gordon Scott and Jim McConnell.
The trio worked well together building up a sizeable gap over the closing laps. McConnell lost contact on the final circuit, with Delahaye taking the verdict on the line.
With the race also incorporating the Northern Ireland championships for Seniors, Veterans and Juniors, the big names seemed happy to let this break escape, as Delahaye was ineligible for the title and Scott and McConnell were in contention for the Veterans honours.
However, North Down’s own Alan Lavery, who had ridden a superb race, slipped away on the last lap. Moving swiftly he opened up what appeared at one point to be a championship winning gap. Unfortunately for Alan he was reeled in within sight of the finish and another local rider, Ross Blayney took the opportunity to attack, with Dromara’s Davy McKnight on tow. It was a delighted Blayney who crossed the line ahead of McKnight to claim the Northern Ireland senior Road Race Championship.
A minute later it was the pink and black of Neil McKenna who came into sight ahead of a five strong chasing group. As he made his way down to the line the crowd were willing him on as they could see it was multi- champion Irish International, Martyn Irvine who was in hot pursuit. In the end the judges’ verdict went to Irvine and Neil had to settle for a very commendable 7th place over-all and fourth in the senior championship. Lurgan’s Thomas Martin crossed the line in 11th place to give him the Northern Ireland Junior title to add to the Ulster crown won last weekend.
1 Neill Delahaye Usher IRC 2.20.21
2 Gordon Scott EACC-Audi @ 2 sec
3 Jim McConnell EACC-Audi @ 1.20
4 Ross Blayney Ards CC @ 2.05
5 Davy McKnight Dromara CC s.t.
6 Martyn Irvine Ards CC @ 3.02
7 Neill McKenna North Down CC
8 Ryan Connor BRC-Northstone
9 Alan Lavery North Down CC
10 James McMaster Northern
Sunday Night at the Bokhara
Flo Millar has organised one of the famous culinary experiences in the Bokhara 30th September, at 7:30pm. As usual the Indian meal (although a European menu is also available) is provided at a subsidised cost of £12.50 per head (2 course meal, set starter & choice of main). Clearly this is exceptional value and we are indebted to our club sponsor for his generosity.
Equally important, however, is the opportunity for club members to get together, socialise and reflect on what has been an excellent season. Nor indeed is the event confined to North Down Cycling Club members. Everyone will be made most welcome. All Flo asks is that you contact her as soon as possible to book your place.
Leisure Tours This Weekend
Poison Glen Tour 2007
The Four Masters Cycling Club’s famous Poison Glen tour will take place this year on Sunday 16th September. The event will start at Letterkenny community centre at 9.30am, with sign on open from 8.45am. There will be two groups with the Leisure cyclists off at 9.30am and the racing cyclists off at 10.00am.
100k Strangford Lough Cycle
Also on Sunday Ards CC will run a 100k tourist/leisure cycle around Strangford Lough in conjunction with Forthspring Inter-Community Group. Forthspring was formed 10 years ago and this event has been organised to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of their work, raise much needed funds and get as many people/supporters as possible out on their bikes!
All cyclists are welcome. The sign-on fee is £5, the start time is 10am at the Portaferry Road in Newtownards. There will be a lunch stop at Inch Abbey just outside Downpatrick, and a ferry journey from Strangford to Portaferry.
It’s not a race, however – in fact there are people for whom the 100k is really quite a challenge. A small group from Forthspring have been preparing over the past 6-8 weeks under the support of David Gardiner (Apollo), who is also assisting Ards CC with the organisation of the event. The event is open to all ages and abilities.
Forthspring Inter Community group have been based for the past 10 years in a unique building that straddles the peace-line on Belfast’s Springfield Road. They work tirelessly with young and old in ‘both communities’ to build trust and relationships and a peaceful, cooperative and respectful environment. More of their history and current work can be viewed at www.forthspring.org.
Please come and support this event and very worthwhile cause – a great way to wind down the season.
For more information please contact David Gardiner at email@example.com.