Breandan rides to sixth place in national championships

Ballymena Road Club's Breandan McCavana who was sixth in the National cycling championship time trial.
Ballymena Road Club's Breandan McCavana who was sixth in the National cycling championship time trial.

Ballymena Road Club – Chain Reaction Cycles – U16, youth rider Breandan McCavana finished a creditable sixth in the time trial section of the Irish National cycling championships last weekend.

The first event was a time trial on Saturday morning, from Dunloy to the Joey Dunlop Leisure Centre on the edge of Ballymoney, a distance of just under 5 miles.

Breandan was off at 11.38am and thankfully the weather was calm and the road was drying out well for his effort against the clock.

Breandan was sixth in the event – where literally only a few seconds separated many of the riders in the top ten. Breandan’s time of 12minutes 07 seconds was an excellent effort and he beat some of the “big names” for his age group. The time trial is a discipline that suits Breandan - just him, the bike, a road and a stopwatch.

After lunch, all the competitors, their families and supporters regrouped in the village of Stranocum to sign on for the afternoon road race. Breandan was in the U16 championship and their race was held over 5 laps (30 miles) of the rolling countryside circuit that took in the “Kirk Hills” just outside Stranocum, before cutting across to Dervock and back via the Stroan Road, through the village of Stranocum and back up to the start/finish line just outside the Primary School.

Straight from the gun, a very fast pace was set by the front riders this, inevitably, led to some riders dropping off the back after the first lap. Luckily it remained dry for the event and Breandan was in the lead bunch for the entire race and finished well enough to hold tenth in the overall General Classification.

Sunday morning was another early start for everyone. Ballymoney town centre was the location for the final event - a criterium.

The Under 16 boys’ event was the last to be contested on a very technically challenging and fast, figure of eight, style circuit. On health and safety grounds, the race was cut from 40 minutes to 20mins, plus an additional 3 laps. Although not his favourite cycle racing discipline, Breandan did very well to finish with the second group in the criterium.

WILL HENRY CUP

Ballymena Road Club – Chain Reaction Cycles – held their final club road race, of the Northstone sponsored club race season, last Wednesday evening at Glarryford.

There was a field of 26 riders for the Will Henry cup – four lap – 20 miles event with another seven in the 10 miles youth race for the Sandy Spence cup.

The Will Henry event was to see a new winner in Harry Thompson who has shown great improvement in the second half of this season. Harry had already two second places to his credit when he was runner up at Clough and Randalstown but this was his first ever road race win and naturally he was delighted.

“By the third lap we had the caught the front of the race and the atmosphere suddenly became very cagey, as in my eyes many of the fast finishers were beginning to think about the sprint.

“On the last lap a few moves were made on the climb and at one point I found myself slightly ahead of the bunch with Ryan Shaw, Simon Taggart and Steven McNeilly. However I feared we couldn’t stay away due to the downhill section from Millar’s corner to Dunminning.

“The race came back together after the downhill and I have to say I noticed the pace went down with many riders probably becoming nervous.

“I knew I had to try something as I am pretty useless in a sprint so on a slight rise maybe around 1 kilometre from the line I attacked as hard as I could and was surprised to get a gap.

“After that I just put my head down and rode to the line. I couldn’t believe it at the time and in retrospect I think I stayed away as no one wanted to work to bring me back after the gap opened.

“I was thrilled to win this event and get my first win of any kind in cycling, especially on a course I know well after having first ridden it in 2010. The win was especially satisfying after two second places in Clough and Randalstown, two races in which I was caught near the line for second by two strong riders.”

Results – Will Henry cup: (1) Harry Thompson 50 minutes 10 seconds (2) Ryan Bankhead (3) Ryan Shaw (4) Stephen McNeilly (Glens) (5) Richard Reid (6) Tommy Wilson (7) G McNally (Bann Valley) (8) Philip Morrison (9) Nigel Kernohan (10) John Shaw (11) Alan Blair (12) Daryl Sempey (13) Jim McConnell (East Antrim) (14) Simon Taggart (15) Stephen Smyth (16) Eileen Burns (17) N Bradley (Bann Valley) (18) Quinton McFall (19) Emma Smyth (20) Neil Millar (21) Derek Dougan (22) Laura Blair (23) Martin Ruddy.

YOUTH SECTION

Youth 10 miles road race event at Glarryford for the Sandy Spence cup: (1) Breandan McCavana 36.42 (2) S Mellon 37.02 (3) I McAuley 39.01 (4) S Byrne 40.24 (5) C Stuart 40.24 (6) J McCavana 41.08 (7) F Byrne 42.10

Conditions on Monday night were overcast and colder than normal for this time of year, for the last of the Youth Time Trials of the season, but this didn’t dampen the spirits of those who competed on the 2.5miles Michelin-ECOS Roundabout-Michelin course.

Results. (1) Breandan McCavana - 5minutes 56 seconds (2) Caolan Stuart – 6.47 (3) Joel McCavana 7.28 (4) Isaac McAuley (BVRC) 7.44 (5) Brian McAuley (BVRC) 9.01

Many thanks to our visitors and their parents from BVRC, in addition to support from David Dougan (push off) and Jim Burns (ECOS roundabout observer).

The final youth road race for 2014 is the Sherdan Caldwell memorial hill climb on Friday 29th August. This race will also act as the second and concluding stage in the Ballymena Inter-Schools cycling Championship.

FUN TOURS

Ballymena Road Club’s popular “Fun Tour” series is due to commence on Saturday September 6, from Rex Bonar house. The weekly tours, which depart each week at 9.30am, continue for 13 weeks. The Chernobyl Children’s appeal NI will again benefit from the entry fee donations.