MEDAL HAUL FOR NORTH DOWN YOUTH CYCLISTS
Last weekend's Irish National Youth Track championships, held at the Eamonn Ceannt track in Dublin, provided a rich vein of gold, silver and bronze for Ulster's top youth riders. No less than 20 of the 27 medals on offer came north and five of those medals are now proudly on display on the mantelpieces in the homes of North Down's Rachel Mitchell and Stuart Henry. The Under 12 category was dominated by Ulster girls who had a clean sweep of the medals with the outstanding performance coming from Ciara Mulholland of Clann Eirann/ The Linen Green. Ciara won each of her three events, Time Trial, Sprint and Scratch and her clubmate, Laura Casey, picked up two silvers and a bronze.
North Down's most successful rider at the championships was Rachel Mitchell who won silver in the 250 metre standing start time trial, missing gold by only 1.3 seconds. She repeated her performance in the sprint, losing out to Ben Dowling ( Bray Wheelers ), the outstanding U14 rider in Ireland at the moment and the winner of all three titles. Rachel completed her day by taking the bronze in the scratch race, the silver going to old rival Jack Wilson of East Antrim.
The Under 16 events were dominated by Philip Lavery ( Usher/IRC ) who had a hat-trick of victories but North Down's Stuart Henry, in his first year of competition in this age group, pushed him all the way to take silver in the sprint. In the scratch race Stuart picked up a bronze, losing the battle for silver to Peter Wilson of Maryland Wheelers.
This is the second successive year that Ulster's young riders have dominated at the national championships, reflecting a resurgence of interest in track cycling over the last couple of years. National Track Head Coach Brian Nugent has worked hard at the weekly track sessions at Orangefield in Belfast and the effort has definitely paid dividends. The achievement is all the more remarkable given the limited facilities at his disposal. The outdoor Orangefield track dates back to the Fifties and falls well short of the standards available in Britain where world class indoor velodromes have allowed British track cyclists to develop into world and Olympic champions.
NEWRY 3 DAY
Last weekend brought the first of the summer's three day races, the Newry 3 day, promoted by Newry Wheelers and centred on Warrenpoint. North Down's interest centred on Ray Brownfield, making a welcome return to racing after a few seasons out of competition, and Liam Curran, now a veteran and experience triathlete who was also making a comeback to road racing. Work commitments prevented Liam from competing on the final day but Brownfield, a former NIFC road race and time trial champion, who has done a limited amount of training this season, showed some of his old form by coming 16th out of a full field of 130 riders, losing only 26 seconds to the eventual winner Shaun Gray ( Orchard Wheelers ).
While the senior and youth riders of North Down were at the sharp end of cycling competition last weekend, the touring and cyclosportive riders were at the lumpy end. A full bus travelled to Omagh to take in the 104 mile Western Hills Challenge. The event this year was blessed with warm, dry weather which the riders found to their liking. A special word of congratulations goes to Noel Boyce and Martyn Lyttle, veteran newcomers to cycling whose completion of the 104 miles at an average speed of 19mph suggests they should have taken up cycling years ago.
This week's 5 mile time trial was the last club event before the holiday break. Competition resumes on Wednesday July 26th with a one kilometre time trial.
The regular Thursday night leisure ride will continue, except for 12th July, leaving the Groomsport Road roundabout at 7pm.
The committee would like to thank Florence Millar for organising last weekend's club outing at the premises of one of the club's sponsors, the Bokhara Indian restaurant in Bangor. Over 30 diners enjoyed an excellent meal and first class hospitality.
A long distance club ramble is planned for July 13th. Details will be emailed to members over the next few days.
MEDAL HAUL FOR NORTH DOWN YOUTH CYCLISTS