We will miss Gary on the road scene

If you have a passion in life, you have to explore this in full and find out what options you have to discover your niche. Gary Donaldson from Tyrone certainly has done that, started his cycling career with Omagh Wheelers as part of their open race team, this was also the time I discovered his talents and took him on, as part of my composite teams, he proved to us his diverse abilities as a team worker, his character perfect fitting in what is required from us. He became a graduate of the project and was sent to Belgium to develop his skills as a roadie, and repaid us with good results including some top 10 places. His guest parents in the Flanders had nothing else then good words to say about Gary, and he returned a few times to race after. When his guest mum Katleen passed away sometime after, Gary went over to Belgium to pay his respects, accompanied by Craig Rea who also had his home from home in Katleen and Heins place (Guest parents of the project for many years living in Tielt West Flanders) This shows exactly what sort of lads they are!

Gary and his fellow graduates in Belgium having some banter (left Craig Rea, right Nathan Mullan and our first-ever female graduate Shauna Mc Fadden in the arms of the lads.

Gary started his university studies 3 years ago (I think) and combined it with his road racing, had moved to the Caldwell Cycles Racing Team, and established himself as a consistent racer with a couple of wins and many top 10 places during the last few years. Last year we saw him getting more and more interest in the off-road part of our sport, and this week the announcement came of Gary that he will concentrate on the MTB-Enduro part of the sport from now on, this after joining the top Mountain Bike team ” Vitus First Tracks Race Division” This is great news for the Tyrone gentleman as maybe has found his Niche, and I wish him and his team lots of success when the competition restart. Here the announcement from his new team and a video Gary made to look back at his road racing and looking ahead to his off-road racing. So proud of you man!!

A team reshuffle at Vitus First Tracks Race Division sees newcomer Gary Donaldson join the fold as Drew Armstrong parts company (Courtesy of Freewheelin’)

A former roadie turned MTB rider, Donaldson will make a full transition to dirt with the Vitus First Tracks Race Division. For Armstrong, after a promising debut season with the team in 2019, a combination of completing school and starting a new job sees the teenager deciding to move on. 2019 was a great year for Armstrong with the youngster winning the Irish Enduro Under 21 category, claiming a winning result in the U21 category at Tweedlove and finishing 23rd overall in the Enduro World Series standings. A wise man once said “Nothing ever stays the same. Well in these unprecedented times that has certainly been the case for everyone and it’s been no different for the Vitus First Tracks Race Division. The past few months have been challenging to say the least but at the same time, it has been interesting to see how teams and individuals have applied themselves. Keeping the stoke alive has brought out the best in people. It certainly has been a time to get creative and with all the extra time, some of those wildest ideas have been turned into reality. For the team, it has been a time for reflection and making the most of it. With all the restrictions in place racing has been put on hold so getting down to some training and honing the skill set has taken over. After months of having all fingers and toes crossed there is now some light at the end of the tunnel and hopefully, we can get back to some normality soon. For Drew Armstrong, things have been all change. He has just finished up at school, started in a full-time engineering position, and has decided to part ways with the team. He seems unclear what the future holds for him and is taking some time to decide what is next for him. So we thought let’s get some fresh blood on the team. Someone who can be fast on any bike and loves getting out there like the rest of the team. Step up, Gary Donaldson! The hardened Omagh man with a background in road cycling and an expert in having a laugh. Gary switched his focus to Enduro about a year ago so he can have fun and hang out with his mates in a less serious environment. If you haven’t heard of Gary yet it’s because he has only done a handful of Enduro races. If you have watched him practice or been out riding with him you know the talent is there and with time, a little bit of experience will take him a long way. The man also loves grabbing his camera to capture that moment and always has a project in the pipeline. All done in his natural hilarious manner so make sure and give him a follow on your socials. (see more on http://freewheelin.ie )

Gary made a resume of his life in cycling so far…

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