McLornan in tight finish at Newry event

McLornan in tight finish at Newry event

6 September 2017

TEN Shimna riders took part in the Newry Wheelers League last week with three laps of the carriageway course and staggered starts for each of the groups.

Andrew Porter and Michael Keown were in group two and were more than fit to jump on the back of group three when they passed. The racing was tough and at times tense. On the last lap the Shimna crew moved into positions to bring Brian McLornan to the front while still very much protected. 

Adrian Kinley placed himself at the front to keep a great pace going and powered up the carriageway at an unbelievable speed in a head wind. As the roundabout came into view, the other Shimna lads came forward to relieve Kinley with Johnny Ward coming up the inside and Luke Roberts on the outside — special mention should be given to Oliver Sloan of VCM who maybe unknowingly helped as well. 

With the roundabout approaching, McLornan jumped on young Roberts’ wheel to be taken comfortably round the corner onto the final straight to the finish. With a good straight mile approach to the finish it was going to be difficult.  

As speeds increased and about half way down the straight, McLornan made his jump and cycled as fast those little legs could go, but Newry Wheelers riders had other ideas and powered along behind him. 

In the end, a respectable fourth overall was gained which maintained his third position overall in the league. 

A exhausted McLornan reported: “It was difficult out there, but I am delighted. We came as a team to hold onto third position and we achieved our goal.

From nothing we have made a race team for Shimna and what saw gives me confidence in these guys.”

Well done to all the Shimna boys on a great season that in it’s own small way is showing a club that are determined to better themselves. 

Big kudos to McLornan who has shown that hard work and effort can be rewarded, as his efforts and personal training plan have transformed him from a social cyclist into a race cyclist.  

I think the rest of the Shimna racers know how much effort and interest he has shown in this race series, a credit to him and he didn’t let us down.

Special thanks go to the team at Newry Wheelers who welcomed our riders throughout the series, and added a team dimension to their series. 

The club held a possibly unique event in the Irish cycling calendar and taking inspiration from an episode of Last of the Summer Wine, the rules initially seemed simple. Start at the top of the hill above Spelga and see how far you can free wheel towards Newcastle.

The event took place last thursday night in almost perfect conditions, with only a slight head wind to slow progress. The competitors lined up at the top of the hill and set of at minute intervals under the guidance of race director Micky Clarke.

Following more drama than a stage of the Vuelta, chief distance marshall Marty McVeigh declared Alex McMath the winner by a wheel length from Peter Lynch, a few inches ahead of Kinley. 

John Irwin and Dromora CC guest Paul Mawhirt completed the top five with less than a bike length between them. Further up the road, Deon McNeilly came to an early stop with a slow puncture, while Eugene Carville an even earlier stop, who following a spot of possibly illegal high speed drafting, hit a rock on the road and suffered a front tyre blow out.

Post competition review took place in the Donard Bar to work on improvements for next year and how to prevent blow outs, it seemed that McVeigh should have brushed the road before the start, possibly because he wasn’t there to defend himself.

Everyone did agree it was a great event and thanked the marshals out on the route.

Last weekend Carlow Road Cycling Club hosted the Irish National Youth Championship, with many months of planning and some final weeks of frantic work by its members into one of the most spectacular weekends of racing. 

Over 200 young cyclists from the four corners of Ireland, arrived in Carlow, filled with expectation and excitement.

Members and friends of Carlow RCC kicked into action like a well-drilled team and made it look like they did this every weekend, supported by their colleagues in Carlow Garda traffic branch and the team of Cycling Ireland officials who helped run all the races smoothly and efficiently. 

Shimna Wheelers were represented by youth member Christopher Neill in the U-15 race, with riders from all over Ireland featuring, with all the bigs names in Irish cycling having raced this event over years including Dan Martin, Nicolas Roche to be name but a few.  Christopher equipped himself well on this national stage, evidence of his continued development.

This year Shimna members took to the Ulster Track Cycling League and Championships.

Chris Neill has been participating on the track for a few years now and was recently selected for the youth U-16 squad to represent Ulster in Glasgow in the middle of this month.

Christopher continues to inspire members, young and older with his determination and success. His father and coach Rodger has played a critical role in his success and was a founder member of Shimna Youth Development. With some gentle encouragement and persuasion from Rodger the track journey started in May this year.

Chris led the way with Sophie Neill, Noah Stafford, Peter Curran and Callum O’Neill taking up the challenge. Peadar Curran, feeling young at heart, decided to represent the not so young. 

After a few weeks introduction to a fixed wheel bike at high speeds with no brakes,m the team did themselves proud. Chris, Peadar, Peter and Callum continued their quest in both the Ulster Track Cycling League and the Ulster Track Championships.

The league took place over six weeks. In the U-12 section Callum and Peter excelled with Callum gaining second and Peter fourth with only a few tenths of a second between all competitors.

In the Ulster Championship, Callum was third and Peter fourth.

The boys’ times improved week on week and are already looking forward to next season. In the U-16 boys’ Chris took third place in the league, despite missing the final heat due to preparations for the Irish National Road Championships in Carlow.

The M40 provided plenty of entertainment with Peadar Curran taking first place in both the league and championship. This will motivate Peadar for his first year as an M50 next year.

Our supporters’ club was second to none and made the whole experience a team effort.

The track has proved to be an amazing discipline and one which is undervalued in our small nation. Hopefully more members will join us next year for the experience.

On Sunday the Donard Hotel hosted the Bun Run, which allowed the various cycling groups in the club to mix it up on a club ride, returning to then hotel for some coffee and scones. Some 40 riders took part in this event and we thank the Donard Hotel for their hospitality.

Next Tuesday sees the club running the annual hill climb from Annsborough to Castlewellan Market House with first rider off at 7.30pm, directly after the well established Newcastle AC Mile Hill Mile. Please see Facebook for more details.