North Down International Games 2002
Bangor, North Down, Northern Ireland
From - Jon Miles
Click on image to enlarge
As part of the North Down International Games, organised by Ian Henry on behalf of the North Down Borough Council, this was rightly billed as a run up to the Commonwealth Games a week later, there was a definite 'International' feel to the cycle races that opened the Games.
The women's 50 mile road race, 5 laps of a testing circuit, was on first with the course going out from Bangor to Newtonards and returning. Team Ireland had favourite Lorraine Manning whilst Team Letchworth had new signing Leda Ray riding her first race for the team; Cherie Pridham of VC Prestige was another visitor from across the water.
North Down Mayor, Alan Graham dropped the flag at 9.30 am and as the riders got to know the circuit the bunch stayed together losing just two riders on the first lap. At the start of the second lap, Team Letchworth attacked with Mary Boyd and Leda Ray, to be joined by Pridham and Manning; with 14 miles covered the leaders had a small gap of 13 seconds as the bunch tried to bridge across but their efforts being thwarted by Letchworth's Suzanne Hamilton who was riding the perfect team race.
By Newtonards at 17 miles the race was altogether again; a mile later as the race headed over the hills at Newtonards, the attacks came again from Team Letchworth as Leda and Mary put on the pressure but they were joined by Cherie Pridham and Lorraine Manning, the strongest riders in the race. The other riders slowly lost contact as they climbed the hill and the race was effectively made.
Sweeping down Movilla and Donaghadee the leaders gradually increased their gap but by only seconds up to a maximum of 41 seconds. Towards the end of the final lap with just 2 miles to go the riders had 20 seconds and the bunch could see them but again it was Team Letchworth's Suzanne Hamilton who was disrupting the chase, the leaders swung into Bangor, down Hamilton Street and into Upper Main Street; with the final roundabout just 150 metres from the line it was important to be first through there and this is where disaster struck Mary Boyd as she pulled her foot from the pedal while at the front Lorraine Manning managed to clinch victory by a wheel width from Leda Ray with Cherie Pridham in third place, a disconsolate Boyd came 4th.
The visitors were impressed by the 15 police motorbikes that guided the race safely through the two major towns on a busy Saturday, the marshals at every road junction and by the organisation of Toyota North Down Cycling Club and their friends, North Down Borough Council for their help - to put on a cracking days cycle racing. The reception was later held in the Heritage Centre near the Town Hall when a great meal was laid on, all teams were presented with a plaque from Mayor Alan Graham to cap a great start to the International Games.
1. Lorraine Manning Team Ireland 2 hour 18 mins 14 secs
2. Leda Ray Team Letchworth same time
3. Cherie Pridham VC Prestige at 1 second
4. Mary Boyd Team Letchworth same time
5. Claire Moore Team Ireland at 21 seconds
6. Suzanne Hamilton Team Letchworth same time
7. Roisin Kennedy Team Ireland same time
8. Kate Rudd Team Ireland same time
9. Corri Farquharson Team Letchworth
10. Fiona Tracey Roe Valley CC
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