Presidents Message

Message from Ross McNeil, President, Wanganui Cycling Club

Greetings everyone.

We’re well into the spring road racing programme and track is also underway. We’ve had a number of cup races, but it’s fair to say that we’ve had mixed bag when it comes to numbers participating in races generally. On several occasions we’ve had to cancel races because numbers registered have been too low to justify the effort in setting up and running the race. We have been getting a reasonable proportion of riders turning up to most races without having pre-registered during the week. This makes it difficult when running handicap races, often delaying the start as race groups and handicap times are worked out. Having all riders pre-register means that races are less likely to be cancelled, as the decision to race or not is based on the numbers pre-registered.

For the Cup races we have run, numbers coming back to the Clubrooms for presentations have been disappointingly low. For future Cup races, I would like to see all riders and supporters attend the presentations. This is a courtesy to the winner, and it’s also an opportunity to spend some together in our own clubrooms – something many clubs no longer have the benefit of. It is this member camaraderie that defines a club, and getting a few dollars across the bar also helps with our financial position. I know everyone is busy, but let’s all make the effort to attend future cup race presentations.

Over the past year two Club members – Glenn Haden and Jack Overweel – have acquitted themselves well on the national stage, so have been nominated by the Club in the forthcoming Ray White Whanganui Sports Awards. The Awards evening is on Friday 16 November, with tickets on sale until Friday 9 November.

It’s now time to renew your membership through the Cycling NZ online portal. Renewing your membership now will cover you through to the end of 2019, so there’s no reason to wait. We have held membership fees at the same level for the past 3 years, so the cost of remaining a member or becoming a new member is as low as we can keep it. We encourage members of other clubs to be associate members of the Wanganui Club – this is an easy (and cheap) option when completing the membership process online. Membership benefits include a discounted race entry fee, the opportunity to have your name on one of the Club’s many trophies when winning a cup race and discounts at local businesses. All 2019 members will receive a Club membership card, which can be presented to participating businesses to secure a discount. Anyone who doesn’t hold a 2019 membership when racing re-starts in January 2019 will have to pay the full price to race. So why wait to renew your Club membership? Get onto it now.

The Committee is planning to establish a regional cycling development officer (RDO) role, and will be shortly seeking funding to make that possible. The purpose of the RDO will be to help foster and develop cycling generally, but with a particular focus on working in schools to encourage and support young people to take up cycling. Having a RDO will also give the Club extra capacity to assist with Club events.

In February 2019 the Club will again host the road and track cycling events in the NZ Masters Games. Riders over the age of 35 are eligible to compete, and we anticipate good numbers across all events. This time we’re reintroducing the hill climb race, run as a time trial up Okoia Hill. The Masters Games is a major undertaking for the Club, which generates a significant level of much-needed revenue. I ask that Club members not participating in the Masters Games make some time to assist with the running of the various events. We’re again indebted to Laurence Sunde and Ron Cheatley, who are coordinating the road and track programmes respectively. More details to come about events and how you can help out.

Later in November there will be a public open day at the track. This is a joint initiative between the Club and the Raise the Velo Roof team aimed at encouraging new riders and maintaining awareness/interest in the velodrome upgrade project. Details will be available shortly, so please make the effort to come along and support what is an important part of Club activities.

I have some good news for those looking to mix up their road training programme. The lower part of the Turakina Valley Road has now been sealed by the Rangitikei District Council. This adds solid training circuits covering the Marton and Hunterville areas. We just need some decent weather to get out there.

Finally, your Committee continues to work behind the scenes to ensure the Club can continue to run successful events and races. We also need club members and those racing to do their bit to make these events a positive experience. We can always do with having more volunteers/marshals at races – keep that in mind if you’re around but not racing, or have a friend/family member available. It’s also an opportune time to remind everyone about riding etiquette (courtesy rules) to ensure races and training rides remain safe and enjoyable. We are getting new people attending our races and training rides, and we want to see them coming back – so let’s be a Club whose members warmly welcome new riders. This is how we can grow our Club.

As always we welcome your feedback and ideas on improving Club activities and events. Drop the Committee an email via or talk to us directly. Committee members are:

  • Ross McNeil – President
  • Cherie Prince – Secretary
  • Rob Gemmell – Treasurer
  • Darcy Forrester – Club Captain
  • Stu Bruce
  • Ian Murphy
  • Brian Hayward
  • Stephen Brandon
  • Brian ‘Scotty’ Scott

That’s it from me. See you out there.



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