Ryan Bankhead has won the Ballymena Road Club – Chain Reaction Cycles – William Smyth cup - road racing league competition for the 2014 season.
Bankhead, from Galgorm, dominated the contest having amassed a total of 64 points over the eight rounds. Scores from seven of the eight rounds count in the overall series and Ryan, who scored in all eight rounds, dropped his lowest score, which was for a fifth place at Randalstown on 4th August. This left him with a winning total of 58 points which was almost double the point’s tally of second placed Ryan Shaw who scored 30 points with Harry Thompson third on 29.
Despite these statistics it would be wrong to assume that this season’s contest, in the Northstone sponsored club race series, was “one sided” as it was anything but that. There were actually six different winners but Bankhead was clearly the most consistent.
The series kicked off on 14th May when Jason Burns won the opening round’s Rex Bonar cup event at Lisnamurrican, Broughshane. Richard Reid was second and Ryan Bankhead third.
Veteran Sean Wright won the H and M Wilson cup event on the Caddy circuit on 28th May. Bankhead was second and Karl Taylor third.
It was Taylor’s turn for success in round three’s Sammy Connor cup “club road race championship” scratch event on the Sheddings circuit on 11th June. Bankhead extended his overall lead when he was again second and Alan Blair third.
The Star Trophy Glens road race on 2nd July, was the half-way point of the series and the one which Bankhead least expected to score highly in. Despite a puncture, Ryan managed to earn maximum points on the night, Connor Young was second and Neil Millar third.
Round five was the Clough Rangers trophy even on the Mid-Antrim motor cycle circuit on 29th July. Aaron Swan (NRPT) won the trophy with maximum club points going to Harry Thompson from George Graham and Daryl Sempey. Bankhead finished fifth to keep himself in control.
Connor Young won at Randalstown on 4th August with Harry Thompson second and Simon Taggart third and Bankhead again fifth.
The final two rounds were held on the Glarryford, Millar’s corner, Dunminning circuit. Sean Wright took his second win of the series in the Sammy Gaston cup race on 6th August with, newly crowned club road race champion, Karl Taylor second and Neil Millar third. Bankhead collected another seven points for fourth place.
The eighth and final round was the Will Henry cup event on 22nd August. Victory here went to this season’s revelation Harry Thompson from Ryan Bankhead with Ryan Shaw third.
It was these three who filled the podium placings in the final standings.
(1) Ryan Bankhead 58 points (2) Ryan Shaw 30 points (3) Harry Thompson 29 (4) Richard Reid 28 (5) Karl Taylor 27 (6) Sean Wright 24 (7) Gary Reid 22 (8) Neil Millar 21 (9) Connor Young 19 (10) Quinton McFall 17 (11) Nigel Kernohan 15 (12) Simon Taggart 14 (13) Tommy Wilson 13 (14) Matthew Brennan 12. equal (15) Philip Morrison, Stephen Smyth and Jason Burns 11 points each.
TOMMY SMYTH CUP
Ryan Bankhead’s decisive sprinting prowess also carried him to two victories and overall honours in the inaugural season of the Road Club’s three event “scratch” road racing series.
He dominated this competition with a win in the opening round at Broughshane. He had a fourth place at Ahoghill and won the final round on the Caddy circuit.
Ryan reflected: “I started the club season with two clear goals with regards to road racing.
“These were the Scratch road racing league, which replaced last year’s Australian pursuit serious for the Tommy Smyth cup, which I won in 2013. This was at the request of my son Harry as he likes the cup! I was pretty consistent across all three rounds to take the overall win.
“Secondly, the club road race league for the William Smyth cup. This time last year I was made aware of Tommy Wilson’s exceptional record over the last ten years in this league. At this stage I thought it’s time he shared it lol. I was very consistent, scoring in all eight rounds, finishing no further down than fifth place.
I managed to win the Star Trophy tour of the Glens road race after a very impressive wheel change by my partner Flic following a rear wheel puncture in Cargan. Third place on the night gave me the Star Trophy as first BRC rider.
“It was a hard competitive club season. I’m looking forward to much the same in 2015,” added Ryan.
FUN TOUR SEVEN
Saturday’s fun tour was ride seven in the 13 week series. Another dry morning and another big turnout with 66 present going out in three groups.
Another twelve riders qualified for their bronze medals having completed five tours.
They were – Geoff Bell, Laura Blair, Maura Bradley, Ray Burbage, Fergus Byrne, Jackson Currie, Ronnie Grant, Hazel Hughes, Gerry McCullagh, Owen McLaughlin, Paul McQuillan and Sean Wright.
Monday 27th October. Ballymena Road Club Annual General Meeting Rex Bonar House 7.15pm. Please pay any outstanding monies for clothing, entry fees, sponsorship etc. to the club treasurer this week.
Tickets (cost £17.50) will be available at the AGM for next month’s prize presentation dinner and dance which will be held in Leighinmohr House Hotel on Friday 21st November at 7.30pm.