NORTH DOWN TO STAGE CHAMPIONSHIPS
Once again North Down Cycling Club has been selected to stage the Northern Ireland cycling road race championships. It’s been a few years since the club last staged a championship race but with a swelling membership of well over a hundred and a progressive committee it was decided that the club had more than enough resources to mount a comprehensive programme of races. The races will take place on Sunday May 16th and will incorporate the North Down GP. For the first time the programme will be split into a morning and an afternoon session.
The morning session will consist of two races, the Northern Ireland Youth championships and the North Down GP race for A4 category riders. These races will roll out at 10.30am. In the afternoon the Ladies race and the Northern Ireland championship for senior men will start at 1.00pm. Race headquarters will be Donaghadee Rugby Club. Details of routes and prize money will emerge over the next few weeks. Entry forms and route maps can be downloaded from the club website at www.northdowncc.com
North Down’s annual programme of club events got under way last Wednesday night at Orlock with the usual curtain raiser, the one kilometre time trial. This is one of the most severe events on the calendar, requiring the rider to maintain almost flat out speed. Doing ot once is bad enough but each rider has to complete two runs, one in each direction and the two times are averaged to find a winner. The club was lucky in that the weather was fair and reasonably calm so there was a terrific turn out of over thirty riders and it was encouraging to see several new faces willing to subject themselves to the torture. On the night the fastest time was recorded by Duane McCreadie who has been in fine form on the open racing scene this season, with one win to his credit so far. The top ten were as follows;
1.Duane McCreadie, 1min 22secs
2.Ross Blayney, 1min 22.5secs
3.Warren Polly, 1min 23.5secs
4.Richard McCullough, 1min 24secs
5.Ian Ingles, 1min 28secs
6.Ian Blayney, 1min 29.5secs
7.Andy Young 1min 29.5secs
8.Cliff Blayney, 1min 30.5secs
9.Mark Hodgins 1min 30.5secs
10.Paul Kirk, 1min 31secs
The programme this week was a 5 mile time trial on the Orlock – Bangor stretch of the A2 and once again it will be next week before results are available.
This weekend has a double bill of races. Saturday’s event is the John Beggs Ulster Classic, open to A1,2 and 3 riders only and will cover 60 miles. The supporting race, the Sean McGreevy Memorial is for A4 riders and will cover 42 miles. Racing starts at 12 noon. On Sunday the Bann Valley Classic is expected to draw a large field despite A1 riders being excluded. There will be two races on the day with the main competition being for A2 and A3 riders and a shorter race for A4 competitors. Races begin at 2pm and course details are available from the Cycling Ulster website.
This Sunday, April 18th, local riders will have the opportunity to participate in a 60 mile charity bike ride, organised by Dromara Cycling Club. The ride, in support of Marie Curie Cancer Care will depart from Whiterock Bay at the Strangford Yacht Club at 10am and will circumnavigate Strangford Lough, passing through Comber, Newtownards and Portaferry, where riders will have lunch. The ride continues by ferry to Strangford and then back to Whiterock. Entry fee is only £10 and this includes lunch and fare on the ferry.
When a quiz night was suggested several weeks ago club chairman Ian Blayney could not have anticipated just how popular this event would be but it has been a sell out for the last two weeks. The venue is the Pickie Bowling Club tonight, Thursday with the entertainment due to start at 7.30pm. Tickets are only £5 to include a fabulous supper prepared by North Down’s own Mark Brooks, proprietor of Bow Bells in Donaghadee. Members are reminded to bring a gift for the ballot.
North Down’s annual cycle ride to raise funds for the Ulster Hospital is now only two months away. Already almost 300 riders have signed up and event co-ordinator Terry Nicoletti is confident that once again the full quota of 700 places will be filled before the ride rolls out on June 20th. Online entry is available through the club’s website.