Henry Wins Cup
Regent House schoolboy, Stuart Henry, won his first senior race last weekend when he out-sprinted Johnny Cole from Carrickfergus and Tommy Wilson from Ballymena in the Aghagallon Cup. Henry, who has only recently up-graded from the youth ranks, made his intentions clear from the start of the 50 mile race, with aggressive riding which helped split the large field. By lap three of the 15 lap race Henry was at the head of a twenty strong group which was leaving the rest behind. Two laps later he, aong with Wilson and Cole, had made the race winning move.
When the trio opened a gap of half a minute in one lap it looked as if the race was over. However, the chasing group, which contained riders of the calibre of Shaun Gray (Orchard), Ronnie Smith (Dromara CC), Gary Wilson and Gordon Scott (East Antrim) had other ideas and they kept the pressure up right up to the very end.
Going onto the last lap the trio had increased their lead to just over 40 sec and the North Down supporters were concerned that the experience of the Ballymena rider, who won the event in 2007, would result in him wresting the victory from his young breakaway compatriots. However, in the sprint Henry’s sprint was once again emphatic with Cole and Wilson taking second and third places respectively.
Ben McKenna Memorial, Balbriggan
Two other North Down riders who were in the prizes at the weekend were Sam Craig and Jessica Laird. Both made the long journey to Balbriggan and were rewarded with Sam taking 6th place in the Veterans/ Junior Race, behind flying junior, Philip Lavery, Eurocycles, who won the Dublin-Gorey three day at Easter.
Jessica was carrying the pink and black in the 3rd round of the ladies series. It’s great to see her competing and gaining experience at this level. Nor was she over-awed, taking 1st place in the junior category. The race was won by Louise Moriarty UCD, with
2nd Orla Hendron Orwell Dundrum and Francine Meehan Tullamore CTC 3rd.
Jessica now lies in sixth place in the National Women’s League, with 22 points.
Rachel Mitchell heads off this weekend to compete as part of a Cycling Ulster squad in the ‘Future Revolution’ track meeting in Newport. Organised by the Face Partnership, who also promote the `big` Revolutions at Manchester over the winter months, the event takes place over Saturday and Sunday and includes Sprints, Madisons, Derny races and Elimination events. The races are all geared towards Juniors – acting as a stepping stone for the main Revolution events where many of these riders progress to compete in the Future Stars competition.
No doubt the World Championships in Manchester will have served to whet the appetite of the young squad from Ulster, but it will also have highlighted the level of racing which is required to break through at the highest level. We wish the whole squad every success and hope that such an experience could truly act as a stepping stone for some of these young people.
PaceMaker Challenge League 2008
The club’s own mid-week racing programme swung into action last Wednesday with a kilometer sprint. The programme which has been introduced this year is designed to attract racing cyclists, club and recreational riders to ‘have a go’. Certainly if the turn out last week is anything to go by the idea is a great success, attacking all shapes, sizes and levels of competence.
Once again it is great to see so many stars of the past returning and demonstrating that losing fitness is temporary but class is permanent. For example, Matt McInerney clearly underlined the fact that he has the class to once again go right to the top, not only in club events but in opens as well.
In the end, however, it was an unexpected maillot jaune after the first round with Austin McNally picking up the accolades, just ahead of Paul Ferguson and Ciaran Andrews. Next week’s event will be a ten mile time trial starting at Donaghadee boat house. As race secretary, Eric Blayney explained, ‘These events are all designed to be fun, with a competitive edge.’ If you’d like to have a go why not make your way to Donaghadee on Wednesday night?
Entries are now open for both the Bangor Coastal Challenge and The Emmerdale Bike Ride. To obtain entry forms for either, or both, simply visit the North Down Cycling Club website at /www.northdowncc.com and follow the appropriate links.
The popular Tuesday night cycles will also be starting on the first Tuesday in May. These bike rides have proven tremendously popular in recent years and are geared towards the novice cyclist who would like to visit the high-ways and bye ways of North Down at a more sedate pace. As in previous years these cycles will start and finish at the Groomsport Round-about.