Super Sam Shines
The fact that North Down Cycling Club is not a uni-dimensional club was clearly illustrated last week when their ‘youthful’ veteran, Sam Craig, took the coveted veterans’ prize in the Ards Three Day. Although Sam is no new-comer to the sport, he has had a resurgence of enthusiasm, exuberance and competitiveness recently. The form that Sam brought back from his charity ride to Paris was obvious in, for example, the Carrickfergus and Ards crits. However, it was the veterans’ prize in the Ards stage race which Sam had targeted.
He explained to me earlier this week that although others were dismissive of his chances, given that other fantastic vets. such as Bo Graham and Jim McConnell would be in the event, he knew that he had the ability and the form to carry off the award. Central to Sam’s success was his performance on the Friday night race on Kirkistown race track. From the off, Sam was able to mix it with the best of them and got away in several breaks. He worked hard throughout the evening with absolutely no awe of riders such as professional David McCann (Colevita) or Irish internationals Adam Armstrong (Northern-Dave Kane), Matthew Ward (Usher) or Ballinrobe's Padraig Marrey (Murphy&Gunn).
Sam continued on Saturday where he had left off on Friday night. Although capable of escaping in many of the breaks, Sam sensibly spent the rest of the race monitoring the progress of his opponents. This was a shrewd move and ultimately resulted in him carrying off the veterans’ prize – a fine performance and one that will be repeated many times in the future.
Club Time Trial
John Hunter was unable to repeat his performance in the last 25 mile time trial, when he was home in under an hour, in this week’s time trial. It has been rumoured that his failure was due to faulty equipment that only operates with efficacy in dry, warm conditions. On Wednesday night the weather was far from ideal for fast times with a strong wind, but champion time trialist Paul Swenarton still managed a great time:
1. Paul Swenarton 1:02:29
2. Craig Swenarton 1:08:02
3. Armin Machmer 1:08:08
4. Gary Swenarton 1:08:52
5. Noel Boyce 1:09:27
6. Ricky Blayney 1:14:11
Next week’s race is a handicap road race on the Dam Road. It would be great to see a large contingent of our veterans out in this – they’ll get a good handicap and and opportunity to put in some preparation for the stage finishes on Monday and Thursday mornings.