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Ward qualifies for UCI Masters World Championships in style

Stewart Ward from New Forest CC qualified in the Road Race event in 2017 UCI Masters World Championships in Albi, France later this year in spectacular style over the weekend at the Tour of Ayrshire qualifying event in Kilmarnock. Weather can only be described as attritional as 40mph winds tore across the 70 mile course in Ayrshire. Stewart, who competed in the 35-39 age group category, qualified 7th in his age category and came home in 29th position overall in 3 hours 16 minutes and 49 seconds. The wind caused massive cracks in the groups for the first 42 miles before the riders turned back to home and enjoyed the benefits of the tail wind. “I knew I had to work really hard and concentrate into the wind to maintain my position and have a chance of qualification” Stewart commented after the race, “as soon as we turned I thought it might be difficult for any riders to regain our group, we had great cooperation amongst the riders, and I’m delighted to have achieved my goal for this year”.

Andrew Hanley participated in the sport category of the event and also had a tough day coming home in just over 4 hours and 54th in his age group, a lack of distance preparation taking its toll.

Both Stewart and Andrew also took part in the Chrono event the day before, but despite their best efforts, neither were able to meet the qualifying criteria. The 12 mile course took in 192 metres of elevation on roads that made the P311 feel like a billiard table! Stewart finished 10th in his age group in 30.13, whilst Andrew came home in 9th in 31.22.

Both riders got a notable mention before their start times from the commentary team at the start village having travelled so far to participate in the event. The new NFCC kit even got rave reviews!

“I held too much back on the opening segments up the hills” Andrew stated afterwards, “I lost the back momentarily on the damp surface into a fast right hander which cost me a few seconds, but I was never in the kind of form to have made qualification”. Stewart felt he had done enough to make qualification, but didn’t quite have the legs in a high quality field.

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