14 November 2006

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Brilliant Brownfield

It seems incredible that for almost twenty years such adjectives such as brilliant, superb, unstoppable have been attributed to the one and only Raymond Brownfield.  Yet last weekend he produced yet another thrilling display of speed, tenacity and bike handling to ensure that such accolades are as worthy today as they have been throughout the years, as he consistently carried the pink and black of North Down Cycling Club to success after success.  

Last weekend’s performance, in the XMTB Cyclo Cross event, may have not resulted in a winner’s laurel wreath but to take third place, where the top two are specialists in this aspect of the sport, speaks for itself.  Indeed, Brownfield led the race for a time against his more illustrious opponents, only to have to eventually give way to his international rivals Lewis Ferguson and Robin Seymour.

Yet while Brownfield was stealing the limelight at the front, mention must also be made of Keith Millar, Michael Hamilton, Andrew Rea and Anthony Mitchell.  All the pink and black riders really rose to the challenge and turned in exceptional performances.  However, it must have been a little disconcerting for Michael as one of his ‘groupies’ kept encouraging him by calling him a ‘fat fool’!  Nevertheless, Michael turned in another excellent performance to finish 16th, just ahead of Keith.

In the under-age race Stuart Henry made his first start of the season in this particular discipline.  His lack of experience was evident at the start as he slipped to the back of the field.  However, by the end of the first lap he was beginning to put his natural ability to good effect and had overtaken everyone, except the highly experienced Jonnie Beers.  In the technical aspects of the course Beers, who has competed in similar events all over the British Isles, was clearly superior.  However, in the tough, fast sections Henry appeared to have the upper hand.  Obviously an interesting battle was in prospect but a fall at the halfway stage resulted in Henry having to settle for a very commendable second place.

Youth Riders Compete on Welsh Velodrome

North Down’s Stuart Henry was one of a large party of youth riders, from all four Irish provinces, who recently spent a productive time racing and training on the indoor Veledrome near Cardiff.  With no such facility in Ireland, it was the first experience for many of this type of cycle racing.  

Given this lack of experience, it was imperative that as much time as possible was spent on the track.  Within an hour of reaching the Welsh capital, the party were on their bikes.  This was not to be a leisurely training camp but rather the maximum time possible was spent in the capable hand of the experienced British Cycling coaches.  Indeed, on the second and third mornings, the young cyclists were up at 5.30am and on the track by 7am!

For Henry, this was not the first time he had raced on the indoor boards and he quickly settled into the fast action. Indeed, such was his dexterity and speed that, although only a first year under-fifteen he was one of those selected to ‘mix-it’ with more experienced riders and receive specialised coaching on the final day. Certainly this was a very worthwhile training camp and one that has inspired many of the young riders to greater things.

Youth Coaching at Cookstown

The next opportunity for our young riders to gain valuable experience will be at the Cookstown training camp on the 9th/10th December.  In the past year this camp has been held at Greenmount near Antrim and over the years our young riders have gained immensely from the opportunity to get up-to-date information on preparation for races and on-the-bike coaching.
This camp is open to all those youth cyclists who are resident in Ulster, provided they have a valid licence. If any of our young riders would like to attend then they should contact Tom Henry for further information.
Bokhara Social Night
On Monday next (20th) the club’s annual prize-presentation and social night will be held in the Bokhara, King Street, Bangor.  However, although the year’s prizewinners will be honoured, the emphasis will be very much on a relaxed social environment, accompanied by excellent food.  This is an ideal opportunity for all club members and their friends and family to mingle in a convivial atmosphere.   With the prospects of the finest Indian or European cuisine this is a night not to be missed.  We are indebted to Jahirul for providing such a banquet for the modest sum of £12.50 and to match his generosity, the club committee have decided to further subsidise all full club members by a further £5.  This has got to be the best value in North Down and if you haven’t yet booked your ticket you should get in touch with Tom Henry at thomashenry@hotmail.com or phoning 91457472 immediately.

Dates for your Diary

As well as the social night, all those interested in the recreational side of the club will want to note that the Mince Pie Run will take place this year on Wednesday 27th December.  As has been the practice in previous years, everyone will leave from the clubrooms and embark upon a number of cycles ranging from 1 to 30 miles, returning to the clubrooms for light refreshments.  This is a cycle which appeals to those on all level, from the clubman to the child who has got their first bike from Santa.  Further details will be issued of times and routes nearer the time.

Similarly, one event which has proven very popular in recent years has been the Border Trek.  An announcement has just been made that it will take it will take place on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th June, 2007.  The date of this event has a significant bearing on the date of our own Peninsula Cycle.

However, if you can’t wait until June of next year, or even December, then you’ll be given a warm welcome on any of the North Down Cycling Club’s runs.  There are a number to choose from, ranging from those on Monday and Thursday mornings, which leave the fire station at 9.45am to those which leave the clubrooms each Saturday and Sunday morning. You’ll be made most welcome at any club event.

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