Tough ride as Dromara hosts Youth Championships

DROMARA CC promoted of the Ulster Youth Championships this weekend.

Monday, 30th August 2010, 3:54 pm
Updated Monday, 30th August 2010, 5:10 pm

There was a tough hilly course on offer for the 60 odd young riders but they did not give up. Even the youngest tackled the course with verve and determination.

The roads however were relatively free of traffic and each group on the road had their motorbike outriders. Dromara had plenty of helpers enroute with their usual great spread of food at the end.

The riders came from all over Ulster and it was good to see so many clubs represented with the biggest contingents coming from Errigal CC and Newry Wheelers. There was a festive atmosphere the whole day with lots of friends and family out to support the riders.

With so many newcomers who are just learning the ropes it was wonderful to see that they enjoyed participating and acted sportingly throughout. At this age it is really the taking part which counts and encouraging our young riders to enjoy their cycling.

This was one of the biggest turn-outs at an Ulster Youth Championships in many years and as Mickey McKenna said, "It is very encouraging to see a good field or riders in each category. It is also pleasing to have so many young girls taking part. It is testament to the good work being done in so many of our clubs by dedicated volunteers."

The competition started off with a four mile time trial in the morning. No specialised equipment was allowed, thus making it equal for all competitors. In the U12 category favourite was Jake Grey of Orchard who came in almost a minute faster than nearest rivals Ciaran McFadden and Noel McSweeney of Errigal CC.

Considering this club were only formed a year ago and have only just begun Youth Development this was a great achievement. Jake is a fan of BMX and enjoys most types of cycling.

He tells me his ambition is ride the Tourmalet in the next year or so. Way to go Jake! Alannah Grady and Shauna McFadden were the two girls who took part, riding around the course with smiles on their faces. What a achievement it was for them.

In the Under 14 category there was tough competition with some very experienced riders such as Mark Downey (Banbridge CC), Ryan Orr (Orchard CC), Adam Kerr Ballymena Scott) and Blaine Cole (Roe Valley).

In the end the medals went to Mark Downey Banbridge CC, Craig Crawford TSC and Harry McComb East Tyrone CC. When you look at the list of riders you can spot many cycling families such as Boyd, Weir, Kerr and McKenna. It is good to see parents are passing on their love of cycling and encouraging others to take up the sport.

The U16 TT saw Ards rider Ian Inglis take the gold form Robert Anderson of Orchard CC and Cormac Clarke of Newry Wheelers. Bann Valley’s Conor McAteer was just outside the medals with his time of 10:33 while relative newcomer Kyle Cole was a further few seconds behind.

In the afternoon it was time for the road racing with differing distances for each category. The rolling hills made it a difficult one and most of the events split up early on. Hats off to all of those who battled around on their own to complete the race.

The U12 competition gave Orchard’s Jake Grey his second victory of the day with John Buller (Banbridge CC) and Conor McCann (East Tyrone CC) taking silver and bronze.

There was some super rides by many of the newcomers such as Jack McKenna (Emyvale CC), Noel Sweeney (Errigal CC) and Conor Boyle (Orchard CC). Well done to Shauna McFadden of Errigal who battled on to finish with a smile. They grow them tough in Donegal.

U14 victory went to Mark Downey of Banbridge who rode away from the rest of the field to solo home in fine style. Mark is another rider who seems to have inherited the ‘cycling gene’ as his father Seamus Downey was an international rider of distinction.

Mark enjoys leisure cycling, mountain biking and hostelling all of which help him to retain a good balance between the enjoyment of cycling and competition.

The closest sprint of the day was in this race for the silver and bronze positions. Coming to the line Craig Crawford (TSC Racing) was ahead but East Tyrone’s Harry McComb was spinning as fast as a pro.

Cameras on the line could not call it and pics had to viewed on a large screen before the Chief Judge declared in Crawford’s favour.

The U16s had a tough race with Ian Inglis of Ards going from the gun. This is a rider who has improved enormously in the last year. However he was hard pressed by club mate Daniel Stewart, Robert Anderson, North Pole’s Matthew Doyle and Kyle Cole (Roe Valley). In the end Anderson just managed to take the sprint from Stewart with Cole taking the bronze.

The club would very much like to thank Derek Hanna and Darren Weir for organising the event and to all the timekeepers, road marshals, and the motorbikers from Ghostriders.