Youth racing numbers hit record levels for major annual stage race

Posted on: April 14th, 2018

Youth cycling Ireland

Not only are the overall numbers up, but more girls are now in the mix; with enough to create a combined U14 and U16 girls event. The spike in numbers comes after years of hard work by Drogheda Wheelers (Photo: John Coleman)


Youth cycling in Ireland gets welcome positive news


Some race organisers have reported smaller numbers in races so far this season, but in the youth category the opposite trend is emerging.

Drogheda Wheelers holds its annual Rás na nÓg this weekend. And the entry is a record; at over 150 riders.

To add to that really positive news for the home scene, there is a spike in the number of girls signing on this year.

More than 20 girls have entered for the U16 race. As a result, it has been decided to run a separate combined U14 and U16 girls race on stage one.

That was due to get racing underway this morning, Saturday, at 10:30am.

The weekend is a real festival of racing with riders from all over the country turning out, with family and club support, for a great variety of racing.

Rás na nÓg is the premier annual stage race event for Ireland’s youth riders.

It is a two day, three-stage event. Race headquarters is located at Bellewstown Racecourse, Co Meath.

Stage 1 is run over a short 1.69km circuit in Bellewstown. Later in the day, the second leg is run over a 6.54km lap.

And on Sunday the race concludes with stage 3. It is run on the 7.65km Cooperhill-Crufty-R150 Circuit.

The spike in numbers come as a well boost given some races have seen reduced fields.


Growth now spreading to youth cycling

However, over the longer term it is confirmation that a larger number of riders are coming through than at any point for any years.

Cycling has boomed in Ireland for over a decade. And Cycling Ireland’s membership is still increasing. But the biggest surge has been in the 30 years and older category.

That has been the case for both leisure cycling and racing. And the fact the youth numbers are now showing a real boost is very welcome.

It is also a testament to the dedication of the Drogheda Wheelers team who have put in a huge long-term effort with this race.