22 July 2008

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Solid performances at National Championships

On Sunday 20th a contingent of North Downs off road riders made the trip to Killruddery Estate in Bray Co Wicklow to contest the Irish National Mountain Bike Championships.

These included Paul Ferguson and William Barclay competing in the ‘Masters’ category, Matty Blaney in the ‘Experts,’ Sam Craig in the ‘Vets’ and Chris Cameron in the ‘Junior’ category.

With around 200 entries across the various categories and a very tight and technical course mainly being single track overtaking was very difficult. So a good start was imperative. Only Matty Blaney made the kind of start required in his race and was looking good for a medal in third position for most of the gruelling 5 laps. On the last lap and a half however his lack of racing this year started to tell and he dropped back to 7th where he finished, a good performance in his first competitive outing this year.

In the Masters race which always attracts the largest entry Ferguson and Barclay were unfortunate to have to line up at the back of the fifty or so starters.

Undeterred by this Ferguson used his speed from road racing and cut his way through most of the pack having to ride off line and make some hairy manoeuvres to work his way up to a good 11th place but was left wondering what could have been with better positioning on the starting grid?

William Barclay made a return to the off road discipline in this race as well and rode solidly to 25th one lap down, another good performance having not competed off road for a number of years.

Craig and Cameron both had to retire from their events due to mechanical problems and other anomalies.

Special mention should go to Robin Seymour of Team WORC who recorded a record 15th consecutive title in the elite category; he now heads to China to represent Ireland at the Olympics.

This weekend a strong team from North Down will be competing in the ‘Portaferry 3 Day,’ a road race which has seen some great performances in the past from this club including 2 stage wins from Paul Ferguson on the Kirkistown motor racing circuit and some high overall GC finishes from the likes of Neil McKenna lets hope the weather is better for this 3 day event than it has been for the last two similar races in Newry and Dundrod.

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