5 May 2009

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Henry Wins in Drogheda

In his second sortee south of the border this year North Down’s Stuart Henry made it two in a row with a convincing win in the Coombes Connor Classic race in Drogheda. From the first lap of the four lap race Henry was on the offensive getting away in several breaks, only to be pulled back by a fast moving peleton.

However, with less than 20 miles to go the decisive move was made and once again it was Henry who was lining out the large bunch. Eventually the elastic snapped and the Regent House pupil found himself part of a seven man break. Worryingly for the North Down supporters one of those in the break was top sprinter Peter Williams.

As the finish line approached most thought it would be a formality for Williams, but Henry had other ideas. With 200m to go Henry came off Williams’ wheel to take a clear and well deserved victory.

Isle of Man

Henry continued his aggressive riding when he exchanged the Pink and Black of North Down for the green of Ireland in the 3 day Isle of Man Tour. Throughout the three stages he was continually in the action. For example, on the tough Saturday stage he attacked on the first of the 11 lap and a break of three, including Henry, Joshua Edmonson (England )and Dilan Aar (Holland) was established which survived for 4 of the 11 laps before being joined by a chasing g group containing European Youth Olympic champion, George Atkins.

When Atkins attacked on the climb on lap 5 it was Henry and Edmonson who responded and the. A gap was quickly established as the trio tried to drive home their advantage. Yet again, however, a counter attack spear-headed by the Isle of Man’s Tim Kennaugh, made contact with the break with 10 miles to go and it was at this stage that Henry’s efforts began to tell as he lost contact on the climb, finishing the stage in 14th place. Importantly though, his aggression had resulted in him accumulating points in the King of the Hills category, where he occupied equal 3rd place along with Kennaugh.

The final stage was almost a repeat of the previous one with Henry being involved in an early move which resulted in 7 riders establishing a lead, which at one stage had stretched to over two minutes. Henry had the company of team mate Marcus Christie who worked relentlessly to ensure that the break stayed away. This break survived to the line with British Champion Harrison taking the verdict ahead of Christie with Henry in 4th position. Importantly for Henry he again gained points and with it a podium finish in this category in the final classification.

Ten Mile TT

There was a good turn out for the ‘Two-Up’ ten mile time trial last Wednesday night. Winners were Paul Swenarton and John Hunter in a time of 23.16. In second place were Ross and Matty Blayney (24.53) with newcomers Richard McCullough and Ryan Seaton (25.20) showing that they have the talent to succeed at the highest level. First of the ‘pros.’, just returning from their training camp in Mallorca, was Harry Adams and Philip Downey (26.58). Clearly they found the wintery conditions on the Groomsport course a little underwhelming. Frenchman Antione Rivore and Norman Wilson joined up for a very creditable 27.11 and 5th place on the night.

Motorbike Marshall Awareness evening

Organising and delivering a cycle racing event has become an evermore demanding and responsible position for the hosting clubs and governing bodies. Due to the some of the tragic events in the more recent past on our roads involving cyclists and with the PSNI restrictions on race numbers, it is imperative that during races we ensure that there is a safe passage for cyclists to proceed. However, this does not reduce the responsibilities on the riders themselves who should obey the Highway Code and Commissaires racing restrictions.

Motorcycle Marshals have and are still playing a large part in raising the safety levels at racing events, which I know cyclists greatly appreciate. A number of clubs have expressed an interest in having motorcyclists within their club instructed on how to perform the role at local events? And were they stand legally while carrying out the marshalling duties.

The David McCall Cycling Foundation have organised a Motorcycle Marshalling Safety Awareness evening at the Lisburn Racquets Club on Tuesday 19th May commencing at 7.30pm. The evening will comprise of a presentation by personnel from the PSNI Roads Safety & Policing Unit followed by a question and answer session. There will be some refreshment provided an opportunity to talk to the PSNI members about any of your concerns when performing the role as a Motorcycle Marshal. If anyone is interested in attending the evening they should contact Mark Greer via an email to greerso2004@yahoo.co.uk

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