6th December 2005

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More Medals for North Down Club
Championship medals have rolled in this season for all sections of the North Down Cycling Club and again on Saturday last both Raymond Brownfield and Stuart Henry added to the club’s haul in the Ulster Cyclo-Cross Championships. The event was organized very professionally by the XMTB club and attracted entrants from all over the country.

In the senior event Brownfield was joined by Keith Millar and Michael Hamilton, making up a strong North Down team. Indeed it was Keith Millar who got a flyer of a start racing off from the line in impressive style. However, a fall when his front wheel got caught in a rut, put paid to his chances.

Michael Hamilton, who has been showing great form in cross events all over the country, was again out to impress in this championship. He paced his efforts expertly and lap after lap reeled in more and more riders eventually finishing and excellent 8th.

Yet, as has been so often the case down through the years, it was Brownfield who was the class act. Sporting a brand new bike, which he received less than 24 hours before the event, Brownfield glided effortlessly over the sodden track, leaving rider after rider in his wake. It’s hard to believe that it is only weeks since Raymond returned to competitive racing and the fact that he was always at the head of events simply underlined the unique talent which this rider possesses.

By the third lap Brownfield, in the company of Layhe, a former British Junior Cyclo Cross Champion, had established an unassailable lead. On numerous occasions Layhe attacked Brownfield, but Raymond was having none of it. However, Brownfield did recognize that his scarcity of racing miles meant that he had not his usual acceleration and, perhaps it was simply this fact that resulted in the experienced Layhe taking the closest of sprint finishes. Nevertheless, an excellent result for the North Down rider and an indicator of what is to come.

In the Ulster Youth Championship it was a baptism of fire for Brownfield’s North Down team mate, the Irish Time Trial Champion, Stuart Henry. Henry had never even seen a cross event before and not surprisingly he made a cautious start. However, by the half way mark, to everyone’s amazement, he had established a thirty second lead in the company of the pre-race favourite, Jonnie Beers. Beers is an expert in this discipline and has represented his country on a number of occasions. When Henry fell on the penultimate lap Beers took full advantage of the situation and powered home to a well deserved victory. However, Henry remounted and continued strongly, holding off the challenges of Chris Cameron (XMTB) and eventually taking an excellent silver medal to add to his other championship successes this year.

As we approach midwinter most riders are content with the weekly training runs and the Saturday and Sunday morning rides continue to attract large numbers. As in previous years, the Saturday runs leading up to Christmas take on a seasonal flavour and this coming Saturday, December 10th sees the first of the Xmas Hot Port runs. The run leaves the clubrooms at the normal time, 9am, but heads for Newtownards, Comber and the road to Strangford for a ferry crossing to Portaferry. From there the riders head for the Saltwater Brig for a light lunch and a cheering hot port before heading back to Newtownards and Bangor. The same run is planned for Saturday 17th.

After the expected eating excesses over Christmas, North Down are organizing a calorie burning Boxing Day Mince Pie run. A gentle run of 20 or 30 miles for experienced riders and a short spin for younger riders will be followed by hot mince pies in the clubrooms. Starting time for all rides will be 10am.

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