Wheelers celebrate great year

The Island Wheelers held one of their most popular events on the calendar over the weekend; the annual club dinner and awards night.

This year, there was a slightly different format to the event as the Island Wheelers also launched their new kit on the night, the club are delighted to announce Chieftain Trailers as the Island Wheelers new sole sponsor.

This year, the Wheelers returned to Dungannon Golf Club, where over fifty hungry mouths were ‘feed and water’.  Following an excellent meal, all attention was turned to the awards ceremony with club chairman, Aidan Lafferty and his much better looking assistant, Sheena O’Neil handling proceedings.  The prize giving painted a vivid picture of just how much the club has progressed over the past twelve months.  Never before have the Island Wheelers been so well represented, with members competing in road racing, mountain bike racing, youth racing, ladies racing, triathlon, and cyclo cross racing.  Moreover, never have the Island Wheelers recorded as many victories, and placing’s in these races.

In the road racing scene; there continues to be riders pushing through the ranks, and everyone should be congratulated for the progression made and for achieving their individual goals.  This year we had two teams racing in the Omagh three day race, a team racing in the Newry three day race, and for the first time in the clubs history, a four man team in the Ulster Championship Team Time Trial.  At an individual level, Sean McCann grabbed a few great results and was rewarded by gaining promotion to the A3 ranks.  In the Inter Club League, the Wheelers turned it up another level with Richard Davidson being award two trophies for finishing first Wheeler, and third overall in the Inter Club Road Race League.  James McLaughlin took home the first Vet in the Inter Club League trophy, and Sheena O’Neil won trophy for the First Lady in the Inter Club League.

Paul Quinn had yet another great season and won the Island Wheeler Hill Climb cup, and the Inter Club League Hill Climb trophy.  Unfortunately Paul wasn’t able to be there to collect his award as he is currently cycling through Iran, on his expedition to Australia by bike!  However, it was nice having the Quinn family there to collect his prize on his behalf, and also great to hear a few stories on how he’s getting on from them.   Finally, Alan McKeown collected a number of prizes; a silver medal from the Tyrone Championship, a trophy for coming first overall in the Inter Club Time Trial League, and was awarded a new cup; the Maguire Cup, by Agnes Dickson on behalf of the Maguire family for finishing first Island Wheeler in the Inter Club League overall.

In the mountain bike racing scene, it was Paul Daly who developed into a real contender for the overall in the Ulster XC series.  Paul just missed out on the top three places overall however was consistently strong throughout the series, finishing in the top four in every racing, including a victory in Castlewellan.

There was a new award presented on the night for the most dedicated Island Wheeler.  This was awarded to Nigel Flanagan who not only was at every road race, time trial, and marshalled in the Inter Club League but also was sure to be at every club run and event.  A most worthy winner and a true gent!

Finally, and perhaps most significantly, the Island Wheelers youth team had a fantastic year with Nathan Weir and Conor Boyle both achieving a number of great results.  Most notably, a silver medal in the Ulster Youth Championship TT for Nathan Weir, and a second place for Conor Boyle in the Cicli Grand Prix youth race.  It was also great to see the number of youths in the club more than double over the past year, and recognition was award to Ashley Weir, Nathan Weir, Conor Boyle, Matthew McAllister, Adam Rafferty, Darren Rafferty, Delphine Corr, and James McCourt for all their efforts.  It looks like the Island Wheeler Cycling Club is going to have a bright future ahead of itself!

After the awards presentation, the night came to a climax with the unveiling of the new club sponsor and club kit.  Local cycling legend Seamus Devlin, who won stages in Irelands premier race, the ‘Ras Tailteann’ in 1958, and John Quinn; Managing Director of the clubs new sponsor, Chieftain Trailers, were both on hand to present the new kit to the delight of the audience.

The new look for the club received a resounding stamp of approval from the audience, with members already itching to get out in their new kit.  The club is thrilled to have Chieftain Trailers as the new sole club sponsor, and would like to thank them immensely for supporting the club.  The club would also like to thank all our past sponsors for putting us where we are today.  Members will be able to collect their kit at the clubs registration night.  All in all, everyone had a great night and are looking forward to even more success next year.