Fun Tours set to begin this weekend as racing season reaches its conclusion

Ballymena Road Club.
Ballymena Road Club.

Ballymena Road Club – Chain Reaction Cycles – are scheduled to commence their Autumn and Winter series of fun cycle tours this Saturday 6th September, from Rex Bonar House at 9.30am.

Once again the tours will receive support from Ballymena Borough Council, who will host a presentation at the end of the series.

The normal well tried and tested format will continue for this year’s series.

The participants will be divided into at least two groups with the more experienced riders scheduled to cover about 50 miles on their tour.

Club members will welcome newcomers to the touring section’s group where the average speed will be kept to around 15mph.

This speed isn’t exactly slow for novices so anyone who turns up needs to have been doing some training in preparation for the event. The minimum age of the participants is set at 13 years and all those under 16 must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or other nominated adult.

Experienced club members are asked to make themselves available as “travelling marshalls”. They need to be fit to do this job as it means riding ahead of the group, to cover junctions and corners and then staying in position until everyone goes past, and then cycling back up to the front again ready for the next turn. This will certainly be good training for those volunteers!

Certificates and medals will be awarded to the successful participants with five tours earning bronze, eight for silver while eleven wins gold.

Participants are advised that crash helmets must be worn. They are also advised to dress appropriately for the weather conditions and to bring a rain jacket, spare tube, food and money. It goes without saying that bikes must be fully road worthy. There is a minimum one off entry fee of £5 to cover the fun tour series with the donations going to the Chernobyl children’s appeal NI.

Last year’s series attracted a total participation of 725 over the 13 weeks (average 56 per week) during which 125 different cyclists completed at least one tour.

There were 17 gold medallists who completed at least 11 tours: 27 silver medallists, who had at least 8 tours and 27 bronze for 5 tours.

There was also a record collection last year for the Chernobyl Children’s appeal NI, the chosen charity of the fun tour series with a total of £1050 being collected.

TOURING

Sunday 7th September. Ballymena Road Club’s touring section will hold their final “away for the day tour” when their, “last resort”, tour of the harbours will leave from the duck pond in Ballymoney, the starting time will be 10am.

This end of season tour is very popular and is ridden at a moderate pace. The route will include Balnamore, Mountsandel, Coleraine, Portstewart, Portrush, Portballintrae, Dunseverick, Port Bradddan and Ballintoy, where there is a tea stop at the harbour.

Then it’s on to Ballycastle and the inland route via Mosside and Dervock back to Ballymoney.

RACE SEASON CONCLUDES

Ballymena Road Club – Chain Reaction Cycles – concluded their 2014 Northstone sponsored series of mid-week club events with two races last week.

Wednesday saw a 10 miles time trial on the A26 course at Woodgreen while the series was concluded on Friday night with the Sherdan Caldwell memorial hill climb at Crebilly.

Steven Workman was fastest in Wednesday night’s 10 miles time trial with a time of 20 minutes 53 seconds. Jason Burns had yet another personal best performance – this time it was 21.51 which earned him second place overall on actual time and also first place in the handicap section.

Not to be out done Jason’s wife Eileen also recorded a personal best of 22 minutes 48 seconds for third place. (4) Daryl Sempey 24.51 (5) Claire Gillespie 25.15 (PB) (6) Laura Blair 25.23 (7) John Maxwell 25.35

Handicap result (1) Jason Burns 23.11 (2) Claire Gillespie 23.24 (3) Eileen Burns 23.40 (4) J Maxwell 23.58 (5) Laura Blair 24.05 (6) D Sempey 24.49

Several visiting riders also took part in the BRC 10, on what could only be described as a blustery evening.

Marcus Christie, John Madden and Mark Downey, were there in an attempt to break the Irish records for the distance and, given the conditions, few would have expected the record times to be bettered.

However Mark Downey (NRPT) set a new time of 19.42 to smash the existing junior record which stood at 20.28, and John Madden equaled the veterans record with a time of 19.40.

Marcus Christie recorded 18 minutes 37 seconds and narrowly missed the senior record of 18.21.

Commissaire Aidan Higgins was on hand to oversee the record attempts in the event, as was the timekeeping trio of Alan Mark, Billy Jebb and Andrew Wills.

CREBILLY HILLCLIMB

Colin Scullion successfully defended his Crebilly Hill Climb title on Friday night when he recorded 1 minute 23.02 seconds to win the event for the fourth time.

Youth section rider Breandan McCavana was runner up with 1 minute 30.83 seconds. Breandan also clinched the Ballymena schools championship with this performance. This year’s schools event was decided on a combined points score over the Sandy Spence cup road race at Glarryford and the Crebilly hill climb.

Joel McCavana was second overall and Caolan Stuart third.

The Brian Russell inter-schools trophy goes to St Louis grammar school.

The other results from the Sherdan Caldwell memorial hill climb were (3) Richard Reid 1-37.27 (4) Nigel Kernohan 1-38.88 (5) Daryl Sempey 1-40.33 (6) Claire Gillespie 1-55.93 (7) Isaac McAuley (Bann Valley) 1-57.81 (8) Joel McCavana 2-24.23 (9) Brian McAuley (Bann Valley) 3-32.44

Colin Scullion’s previous successes came in 2005, when he recorded 1 minute 24.94 seconds; 2006 1 minute 17.18 seconds and 2013 1 minute 22.59 seconds.

WESTPORT TRIP

The Ballymena Road Club touring section was in Westport last weekend. Club Secretary Hazel Hughes gives a brief outline of the trip.

“Seventeen of us travelled to Westport from Ballymena RC Michelin and Phoenix.

“On The Saturday we cycled the Great Western Greenway from Westport as far as Mulranney. This Greenway is the longest off road cycling trail in Ireland, 42km in length and it goes as far as Achill with great cafe stops for tea and scones.

“The Greenway was really busy with cyclists and it was good to see so many families out on their bikes.

“The next day we rode south along the coast from Westport looking out at Clew Bay and Clare Island. We passed Croagh Patrick but decided against climbing the mountain in our cycling shoes.

“We turned inland at Louisburgh and headed into the mountains. It was a beautiful road through the Sheefry Mountains on Doo Lough Pass.

“We cycled home along the shores of Lough Mask on quiet roads, as Mayo and Kerry were playing football and everyone was watching the match.

“Thanks to our guides and drivers for looking after us all and we are already planning next year’s trip.”