Gilford girls bring back medals from championship

TWO of our youngest girls made the journey to the Sundrive Cycle Velodrome in Dublin last Saturday morning and returned as Irish champions in their respective categories.

Sisters Shenna and Naomh McKiverigan, who is only 10 years old, each competed in three track disciplines in Under 14 and Under 12 age groups respectively and both returned with identical hauls of two gold and a silver medal for their efforts.

This is the latest in a long line of successes for these young Gilford track stars and next weekend they will be representing Ulster in the Interprovincial Track Championships – so good luck to them for those races.

Mourne Observer Cup Round Two - Wednesday July 18, and after a day of heavy rain showers it was unclear as to how many would turn out for the second race of three, in this year’s Mourne Observer Cup, or even if the race would run.

Weather had been poor leading up to the race and although the rain had stopped, the wind had not, and would prove quite a challenge on the home straight during each of the 3 laps of the Annaclone circuit.

The field was made up of around 25 club members and around 8 visiting riders from both the West Down Wheelers and TVR. As ever to allow all to be competitive, riders were placed into categories in accordance with their recent/current club form. Category 4 would again lead off, with Category 1 and any Elite riders leaving last. 

With marshals in place and all released, the race was on. As normal in Club racing, with each group either chasing or trying to stay away from the group in front or behind, there is no time for any gradual build up to full race pace. Race pace is usually reached in the first 200m. Each group quickly settled into routine, with most group riders taking quick turns at the front to keep the pace high.

 Lap one of three saw each group hold station although somewhat closer together. On completion of lap two and with fine drizzle now hampering riding conditions and making several corners treacherous given the high speeds, it was clear that the Cat 3 group which had only just merged with the Cat 4 riders would get caught by a strong Cat 2 field.

The catch was made just before turn for Katesbridge and the start of the home straight.

Around 12 riders now jockeyed for a favourable position and were no doubt trying to play out the finish as they approached. This is a race circuit with fast sections and a difficult finish, given its continuous rise over the final kilometre.

With the line in sight and a strong headwind it was James Curry who took the win with a strong turn of speed in the last 200m having managed to preserve his strength for the final sprint.

Marty Winters, riding particularily well and never missing a turn at the front, took his highest finish this year with a second, with Brian Curran showing continuing good form by rolling in and securing third from the Cat 3 group.

The Mourne Observer Cup will conclude with the last of three road races on the Drumneath Circuit on Wednesday August 3.

Currently five riders sit with only three points separating them. Michael Beattie leads on 70 with Paul McGuckin and Jude Sands both on 69 and filling out the top five, Ian Cochrane and Brian Curran both on 68 points.

In the Club Race League Jude Sands still leads on 416 points followed by Brian Curran on 404 and Paul McGuckin on 359.

Thirteen races are now complete from this year’s 21 race calendar. All are reminded that only their best 15 performances will be included within the league.