VCI Awards Night 2019

Friday 25 October saw our annual Club Dinner and Awards Night. This year we returned to Sintons at the Bridge, Scarva, where everyone enjoyed a great meal and fantastic service. Our thanks to Sintons for accommodating us and also to Kevin for organising the evening for us.

Fed and watered, we moved upstairs for the awards part of the evening. Kicking off proceedings was Club Chairman Davy Cartmill. Always a highlight of the club dinner, Davy’s presentation is essentially a lighthearted roundup of the various activities the club has been involved in over the year, touching on various highlights and encouraging us all to achieve ‘big things’ next season. Thanks to Davy for the effort he puts into this each year and of course his efforts throughout the year carrying out the various duties and responsibilities as chairman.

As usual, competition for the awards was extremely tight, with a noted improvement in participation across various aspects of the club. However, in each category the cream rose to the top and a clear winner emerged for each award.

Rider of the Year 2019 – James Dane

Newcomer of the Year 2019 – James Dane

James joined the club around this time last year, as a relative newcomer to the competitive cycling arena, having participated in several rounds of the 2018 Interclub Race League as a visitor. James consistently supported the Saturday morning 9:03 club runs over the winter and took out a race license for 2019, starting out as an A4 racer at Annaclone. Over the season, James notched up several well placed finishes, to earn promotion to A3, including podium finishes at Tommy Givan Memorial and Madigan GP. This is a fantastic achievement for a competitor in his first year of racing! Away from open racing, James also took a very credible 2nd place at the Tandragee Road Race, as part of the Banbridge Interclub Race League. Many competitors will attest to the fact that club/Interclub racing is often much harder than open racing, so this in itself is a huge achievement.

Clubman of the Year 2019 – Neil Seffen

Neil has been a stalwart of the club since it’s inception back in 2013. Over the years he has become a familiar face in the local cycling scene, as a fierce competitor both in open and club/Interclub racing, as well as being described as a ‘gentleman’ by other competitors. However, this award is in recognition not of the public figure known as ‘The Rocket’ but moreso the man working away quietly behind the scenes. As followers of the local cycling scene can appreciate, the Banbridge Interclub Race League has been a resounding success. However, the league could not reach this success if it were not for the hard work and dedication of people like Neil putting the effort in behind the scenes. Very often, Neil will be the first to arrive at an event and the last to leave – ensuring that the gazebo is erected/dismantled, etc. while also managing to put in a strong performance on the bike.

Race League Winner 2019 – John Davison

Our race league followed a slightly different format this year – 2 rounds of our own club events, followed by 9 of the 10 Interclub rounds (the results from the crit were not used, as this was not open to all riders) so a total of 11 rounds. Competition was extremely tight, with very little separating the top half a dozen competitors, however with all the points totalled up there was one clear winner – John “JD” Davison, who won by a considerable margin. Throughout all events, JD has been a consistently strong performer, rarely dropping out of the top few VCI finishers in any event and also winning the 2-Up Time Trial, showcasing his diverse ability as a cyclist. Unfortunately John was unable to attend the awards night, as he was in Dubrovnik, recuperating after a hard season.

Most Improved Rider 2019 – Richie Gamble

What can we say about Richie “The Road Rascal” Gamble? Richie joined the club about 3 years ago. While Richie always had a lot of ability on a bike, he could sometimes be a little “unpredictable” to ride with. Over the past 12 months however, Richie has really raised the bar – commuting to work on a bike most days, riding a ‘fixie’ all winter, following a dedicated training plan, investing in a new bike and even giving it the odd wash! As a result of this newfound dedication, the results have started to come for Richie. With his inimitable style, Richie has managed to get himself into the right position to place in several races this season. We’re expecting even bigger things for 2019! Unfortunately , Richie was also unable to attend, due to a prior engagement.

Summer League Winner 2019 – Paul Macklin

As a club, we have always tried to ensure an even focus on both competitive and leisure riders. Admittedly this can be difficult to achieve, as inevitably the ‘racing snakes’ tend to be seen as more active, with many of them training daily and racing 2+ times a week. However, there are a few from the leisure side of the club who are taking the game to the racers – none moreso this year than Paul Macklin. Paul comes from a Mountain Biking background and still finds time to get out on the MTB despite working in Dublin (commuting by bike for part of the journey) being a regular on the Sunday Bun Run and also attending sportives across the island of Ireland, including Tour of Carlingford, Dromara Coastal Challenge, Dromore 12 Kings Sportive, Leap on Your Bike (320km over 2 days!) and Down Coastal Sportive. That’s a lot of miles put in, making Paul a very deserving winner of the Summer League trophy.

Thanks to Club Race Secretary – Pete Batey – for assisting with the presentation of the prizes.

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