6th September 2005

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The 2005 season has proved to be one of North Down CC’s most successful in years, with the club’s youth riders in particular winning championships at Ulster and Irish level. It was appropriate therefore that a vintage year should be rounded off by a success that proves the old saying that the best wine is often found in old bottles. At last Sunday’s Ulster Veterans’ Road Race championship the North Down squad took the team prize with a strong showing that saw five riders finish in the leading fifteen. The race was won by Ernie Magwood of East Tyrone with Irish Veteran time trial champion Sean Hargan as runner up.

With the club’s leading racing veterans Alastair Irvine, Declan McMackin and Keith Millar not available, main hopes lay with Brian Marshall and Anthony Mitchell, both of whom had shown some form in the weeks leading up to the championship. They were supported by Stephen Bingham and Noel Munnis, who have raced very little this year, and the squad was completed by Harry Adams and Drew McVeigh, both of whom have been more involved with the touring and cyclo – sportive events.

Adams was part of a small group of riders in the over 50 age category who were given a three minute start on the 50 mile mile route that consisted of six laps of the Nutt’s Corner circuit. Normally, a small group of older men would stay away for a short while before being caught by the stronger main field, but the riders were well organised by Brendan McCartan of Phoenix CC . They were so well organised that by the end of the first lap they had actually widened the gap to the main bunch. It was not until the start of the fourth lap that they were overhauled and assimilated into the main field. North Down’s riders had been very active at the head of the main bunch but as the race entered the last lap Brian Marshall punctured. Until then Brian had looked strong enough for a top 10 placing but in the end it was Anthony Mitchell who got up to take seventh place with Munnis, Adams, Bingham and McVeigh bunching well to claim the team title.

North Down’s leading veteran time triallist, Paul Swenarton, travelled to Yorkshire last weekend to ride in the Time Trials Council circuit championship. Riding in the 45 to 49 age group, Swenarton was disappointed with his time but he managed to take seventh place on a hilly, winding course. This weekend he takes part in the final leg of the NICF Time Trial League and he goes into the race lying in second place among the seniors and leading the veterans’ category.

Last Monday night’s club event was a 5 mile time trial and Swenarton showed that he is in top form by recording a vey fast 10.59, a time bettered only once this year. The full results from Monday night were as follows;
1. P. Swenarton 10.59
2. P. Ferguson 11.47
3. M. Mitchell 11.59
4. G. Swenarton 12.25
5. H. Leinster 13.51
6. G. Boyle 13.59
7. R. Mitchell 14.23
8. C. Swenarton 14.49
9. F. Millar 15.10

Next week’s club event is the last action of the 2005 programme and is being eagerly awaited as it is being seen as a head to head and final decider in the contest to crown the club champion in the hardest event on the calendar, the kilometre sprint. Top tester Paul Swenarton and roadman Paul Ferguson go into the decider neck and neck. both having clocked 1.14 this year. The battle starts at 7pm on Orlock.

The competitive cycling may be at an end but the cyclo – sportive and touring riders have a busy few weeks ahead. This Saturday the annual Marie Curie Cancer fund raising cycle ride takes place. North Down riders who intend to participate should meet at the clubrooms as usual at 9am on Saturday morning. The group will ride to Downpatrick, sign on ( £8 ), complete the 30 mile circuit and then ride back to Bangor, giving a total of about 90 miles. Lunch is provided by the organisers en route and more refreshments are available at the end. This is a well organised event and the club has been a regular supporter over the years.

A new charity ride is launched on Sunday. The Wish Peddlars charity raises money to provide holidays for children suffering from chronic illnesses. Registration is £10 and riders can sign on from 9.30 at Cutters’ Wharf at Stranmillis, Belfast and the route is a 60 mile return trip to Oxford Island, near Lurgan. Participants will be able to enjoy a barbecue after the ride in Lady Dixon Park.

North Down’s end of year social evening and prize giving will be held in the Lock and Quay, Groomsport on Friday 21st October. A hot buffet supper will be provided and the format will be the same as last year with the emphasis on informality and socialising. There will be no speeches and a written quiz with prizes for the winners will be available to anyone wishing to participate. All this for around £6. Tom Henry is the organiser and he will need to be contacted soon to guarantee a place as room is limited to around 60 people.

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