New cycle season gets underway on Saturday

Ballymena Road Club.

Ballymena Road Club.

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THE Ballymena Road Club – Chain Reaction Cycles – racing section will see if all their pre-season training has been good enough when they take part in this Saturday’s, February 23, Travers Engineering, Annaclone Grand Prix road races in County Down.

This is always a very popular event with its relatively short distance and handicap format making it very attractive for the first outing of the new season.

Pre-registration will be first come first served and will close at midnight on Wednesday 20th February. In the likely event of a full subscription a reserve list will also be in operation. Those on the reserve list will be notified by email.

There will be two races, with the main event catering for first, second and third category seniors and juniors. This will be held in a handicapped format with a small advantage given to each category.

Race two, for fourth cats, will also be 40 miles, but in a mass start, non-handicapped, scratch event. The entry fee is £10 for senior riders and £5 for juniors. Registration can be secured by emailing Race organiser Aaron Wallace at

Signing on will be from 10 am until 11:30 am sharp at the Hawthorn Inn, Annaclone. Riders who have pre-registered but have not signed on by 11:30 am will forfeit their place to those on the reserve list.

Both races will start at 12 noon from the Hawthorn Inn

Last season Banbridge cycling club had an entry of over one hundred for the two races. The race was held over five laps of the eight miles course with an overall handicap of five minutes at the start. Junior rider, Daniel Stewart (East Antrim) took the honours.

Ballymena Road Club’s best finisher was Chris Beattie who was just inside the top twenty at the finish, Ryan Connor also completed the race, finishing with the remnants of the scratch group. The A4 race came down to a bunch gallop which resulted in another win for East Antrim when Peter Kennedy held off the pack with a very powerful finishing effort.

Phoenix cycling club promote their Phoenix Grand Prix road races this Sunday 24th February at Nutts Corner. Sign-on, for those who had their entry accepted, will be in the Crumlin Community Centre (BT29 4UP) from 9:30. The sign-on fee is £12 for everyone except juniors who pay £6.

I understand that several Ballymena Road Club - Chain Reaction Cycles – riders have already entered for this race. The BRC entrants include Michael Carroll, Quinton McFall, Matthew Brennan, Clifford Grant, Karl Taylor, Ryan Bankhead and David Dougan.

Course details: The course will be the usual Nutt’s Corner, Seven Mile Straight, Long Rig Road course finishing at the top lay-by.

There will be five races, with events for: Women & over 50’s: The “A” race is for A1, A2 seniors and which is handicapped and will be 6 laps in distance, approximately 50 miles. A3 race. There will be a separate A3 race over 5 laps, 42 miles. The A4 race will be a scratch race and will be 4 laps in distance, 34 miles overall.


Ballymena Road Club will hold their annual Wallace Caldwell Memorial Road Race Saturday 23rd March 2013

The Caldwell is now open for pre-entry. This event is open to A* to A3 riders and is a good testing ground for the Tour of the North Stage race which begins the following weekend. The 78 miles route will test riders’ strength and stamina.

The Caldwell is one of the oldest events on the calendar and receives the support of the PSNI Motorbike outriders which adds, not only to the safety of the race, but also to its professionalism and prestige. Entries and fees £10 should be given to Hugh McCullough.


Over thirty people attended the recent “Under 23 and Junior Training day” which was organised by Cycling Ulster’s Road Commission Chairman, Ryan Connor and sponsored by the David McCall Foundation.

The day started with a cycle up through the Glens to Carnlough. A fast pace was set by the youngsters and this coupled with lashing rain and icy driving winds it was by no means an easy day in the saddle.

Following hot showers in Ballymena Road Club’s Rex Bonar House club rooms the riders and mentors then transferred to the Dunsilly Arms for two very interesting talks.

The first of these was provided by Wendy Henderson of the Sport NI Anti-Doping Education Team. She instructed the riders and their parents regarding banned substances and how to check their medications. The talk also took the riders through how doping checks are carried out.

The second talk of the day was provided by Brendan McCourt who talked about neuro linguistics and self-motivation. This proved to very interesting.

Ryan Connor also spoke to the riders and discussed their goals for 2013 while Danny Blondeel was on hand to provide an overview of the Belgian Project.


Registration continues on Monday 4th March at Rex Bonar House.

Ballymena Road Club’s membership has already reached a total of 121 so far this year. The March signing on meeting will be held on Monday 4th March from 7.15pm until 9.00pm.

All cyclists who are intending taking part on the weekend club runs or in club and open races should have already registered but late comers should avail of the next meeting because, after that, everyone will just have to use the Cycling Ireland web-site to renew their memberships and licences.

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