No joy for withdrawal plea
At the Vikings AGM following the home match against Hull CSC at Cramlington on Sunday 23rd October, there was general agreement about the downturn in Vikings fortunes over the final half of the season with riders hard to find for away matches and a distinct lack of enjoyment over that period. However, although it was also accepted we need to do a lot more to encourage new, much younger riders to join the club, Terry Kirkup’s suggestion that Northumbria CSC withdraw from the Northern League now in order to consolidate was met with mass disagreement, so virtually ruled out. He was at pains to point out that our position looking forward to 2017 is extremely precarious with only one veteran and two generally non-available (for weekends) riders having joined the club this year.
Chairman Keith Dyer was of similar mind and also suggested putting our NL membership “on ice” for a year, but again the suggestion was heavily dismissed by a decent turnout of the membership. Secretary Neil Magee pointed out the danger of any withdrawal in that it could lead to closure as happened in the 1990s. On a brighter note Neil revealed plans for an expanded 3 Rivers League in 2017 with Leith (Edinburgh) and Cramlington sides joining the existing four teams from Fife, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Northumbria, so the opportunities for younger and less experienced riders both sides of the border look a lot brighter..
Richie Smith reported that over 350 new attendees had tried out the sport on our track this year, some achievement on Richie's part considering he's rarely in the north east these days, working as he does in Coventry. However he's managed to attract those numbers through hard work and persistence on behalf of the Vikings although it remains to be seen whether or not we see any of them again.
Treasurer Jim Smith informed the floor of the fairly healthy position of the club’s finances following a year of hefty expenditure on track and facility improvements. However Assistant Treasurer Jason Keith, aka The Enforcer, stressed the importance of regular weekly or monthly subscriptions being key to our future survival.
North Tyneside Riders
Another great bunch of 20 youngsters from the local North Tyneside Riders cycling club became our final group of visitors in 2016. With the accompaniment of a coach and several parents, the youngsters had a great time in super conditions after early drizzle and like those before them seemed to enjoy their visit. Last time the girls were much to the fore while the junior stars from NTR produced a slightly faster crop of boys. Once again Richie Smith's warmup and coaching session was followed by an individual competition with some very entertaining and speedy laps clocked up and unfortunately another slight brush with the second bend fence! No major damage done though, and another successful day for Richie and Terry in their continued quest for new riders.
Phoenix Flies In
Saturday 17th September from 0930 to 1100 am saw only the second ever visit to the Viking's lair of a youth cycling club, as we bade a very warm welcome to a group of youngsters from the famous Newcastle Phoenix Cycling Club. Their visit was a huge success and for our visitors enjoyable one, and of course if anyone else out there would like to come along and sample short track racing any time they are more than welcome. We provide top notch race bikes for anyone who can handle them, in three sizes from adult to intermediate (16 inch approx) and junior (14inch approx) or you can bring your own if these may be too big for you. Newcastle Phoenix are. like ourselves, school-based, their HQ being at the Excelsior Academy in the West End of town. They also welcome any junior or youth riders, or indeed as we do, adults too so why not pop along there some time if you fancy some alternative biking disciplines?
More Starlets Shine
Terry's second session with Active Northumberland's Disability Sports section took place on Wednesday 17th August, and once again it threw up some great prospects amongst the teenage and younger riders. One young man in particular showed super speed and after the session asked if he could return. Like so many youngsters these days, however, he's also into other things with the dreaded football training preventing him from attending Gavin Parr's Tuesday junior sessions. Just our luck!
It's taken quite a long time for some of our riders to equip themselves with their own bikes but it looks like we're almost there now, or could be soon. Latest recruit Jordan has really gone to town buying new parts, and with some extremely generous donations from Jason Keith has got himself a very nice bike after less than 2 months in the Sport. Well done indeed Jordan. To cap that, our latest and very recent recruit, veteran JP Colback, has ordered a spif new Mielec frame, fully intent on creating something "extra special" for his first full year in the sport in 2017. A real bike enthusiast is JP, great stuff.