Banbridge CC’s James Curry and Mark Downey received a welcome pre-season boost when both riders were named in the line-up of supported riders for 2016 by the Emerald Fund. The Emerald Fund was established in 2015 by WorldTour professional rider Dan Martin, cycling commentator Cian Lynch and David O’Donnell of Blue Gate Sports, with the ambition of supporting the next generation of Irish cyclists.
Martin himself was a benefactor of the Scottish Braveheart fund and the British Dave Rayner fund. The Emerald fund hopes to replicate the success of these initiatives which have helped many of the UK and Irelands top ranked and most successful cyclists of the last 10 years. Banbridge CC’s Matthew Teggart was also recently announced as having continued backing of the Dave Rayner fund, helping him complete full time in France with the AC Bisontine team.
Both Curry and Downey will be delighted to have been selected by the Emerald Fund with only 8 supported athletes named on its inaugural roster. Following the disappointing collapse of the Pro-Continental level Dynamo Cover team late in 2015 Downey was left in the lurch on the 11th hour but was able to secure a place with VC Toucy team in France allowing him to keep his ambitions and dreams of securing a professional contract alive. Mark will also work with the Cycling Ireland Elite track team where he already tasted success with a silver medal at the junior European Championships.
James Curry will continue to compete in the colours of Banbridge CC for 2016 and hope to revisit his old hunting ground at the British Mountain Bike XC National Points Series and ultimately qualify for the MTB World Championships in Val di Sole, Italy. While Curry’s biggest ambitions may remain in the off-road arena you can still expect to see him producing results on the road.