The Way Ahead
“In 2016 the club sought to challenge itself further”
In 2017 velo club IVEAGH will enter its fourth season, with aspirations running higher than ever. Having saw huge development in 2015, in 2016 the club sought to challenge itself further, with a number of projects that included a 200 mile challenge to Rathlin Island and back, an invitational classics style sportive and the raising of over £4000 for the Children’s Cancer Charity Fund through a number of combined efforts and projects. And all whilst in the background, running another exciting and successful club league, (this time including a guest league).
2017 will once again see the bar elevated, with a high tempo of activity within the club. The committee have been organising another varied and testing race calendar, one that on paper suggests our most rigorous test to date. A number of new projects are in the pipeline for mid-season, although are not far enough along, to comment further at this point, more to follow.
Whilst acknowledging that the club offers events and activities for both competitive and non-competitive members, most notably in 2016 was a rise in the interest of many, in the race scene at both Club and Open race level.
So accepting and putting a most gratifying 2016 behind us, its full steam ahead into a 2017 which we hope is full of challenge, good craic and friendship. This article looks forward, at how the significant interests of racing in 2016, may develope further in the next 6 months.
“Starting out on the second step”
On the back of a solid inaugural 2015 race season, 2016 saw a revamped club race league and like its predecessor, fashioned an increased interest and commitment by members in club level racing throughout the season. Similarly an interest (most likely grown from the 2015 pre-season training) had grown for competing at open level. This saw velo club IVEAGH go into the 2016 domestic open racing with 3 x A3 (Dan Gordon, Scott Daly and Neil Seffen), 9 x A4 (Josh Daly, Mervyn McKeown, Davy Cartmill, Simon Keery, Paul Rice, Mark Johnston, Ivan McConville, Brian Halliday and Gordon Brown).
If 2016 was the first step, then it is rational to suggest in 2017, the club goes forward starting from the second step, having gained knowledge and race experience, whilst for some confidence and upgrading.
Once again we perceive a high entry by members in our club level events, whilst at the same time the club will field another healthy number of competitive entrants in open racing.
At A2 level VC Iveagh are now represented by Dan Gordon and Neil Seffen, both having been elevated in 2016, having achieved the required points for upgrading.
Racing as a junior for 4 years or so, It was Dan whom gained elevation first in 2016. Dan well known as an extremely strong rider in any group, took the points necessary with an 8th at the St Patricks Race followed by a 5th at the Ciclisport Gp in April. Having spoken to Dan several weeks ago, he confirmed he was happy with where he was, with his training for 2017 and whilst realising it would be a hard season ahead, acknowledged that he would be going in with confidence and looking for opportunities
Neil, an A4 from 2005 to 2013 and an A3 from 2014 to 2016 upgraded late last season, having gained 11 points during the season. With several wins under his belt as A4, Notably in 2016 he took 6th at Bishopscourt and a 3rd place in Stage 3 of the Newry 3 Day. Neil goes into 2017 having worked hard through the winter at his own fitness, whilst at the same time organising club training, to help shape and develop fellow club members..
At A3, Scott Daly will represent VC Iveagh, having been part of our 2016 threesome. Having worked hard with Neil and Dan and represented the club in the Newry 3 Day, Scott will go into this season, a little more experienced and with a little more confidence. As a very capable climber, with the right profile in a race, Scott has certainly the ability to do well and we hope to see him gain some company by the end of the season.
Always the busiest category, with much owing to being the entry level for so many, in 2016 we had as many as 10 entrants (Paul Rice, Ryan Harshaw, Simon Keery, Brian Haliday, Mark Johnston, Davy Cartmill, Ivan McConville, Mervyn McKeown, Josh Daly & Gordon Brown). Sadly though for most, results didn’t come our way, with the majority in their first race season and on a particularly steep learning curve. However there were several exceptions, achieving good results and placings, with Mervyn in the Masters Series and Josh in A4.
Always competitive and a fast finisher, Mervyn in his third year done well often on his own and without club team mates with, a 5th in the McCann Cup and later 1st place at the Lurgan GP.
Josh in his first competitive season after several years break to concentrate on education had come down to A4 having several years before been A3. Wishing to prove to himself that he still could be competitive, he took the decision to again earn promotion and to his credit came 1 point short in 2016 with placings including a 6th, 8th, 2nd and 4th and but for an unseen rider taking a place from him in one particular race, may well have promoted in 2016. In 2017 Josh will hope to earn that point quickly and get upgraded to A3 were we would hope he can do well aided by older brother Scott.
*there is much promise and renewed fire in the belly”
In summary, although several have decided this year to concentrate on club racing, there is again much promise and a renewed fire in the belly for 2017, with most of last year’s A4 riders bolstered by several new faces keen to make an impression. There is much strength in the club and without doubt a maturing confidence, club racing will again be highly competitive and given the right opportunities and a little luck, it is hoped that greater success lies ahead at open level.
As ever we would ask club members to show their valued support and for those neutral to throw your weight behind our boys in black.