Ballymena Road Club – Chain Reaction Cycles – held its annual prize presentation dinner and dance last Friday evening, in Leighinmohr House Hotel.
108 club members, their friends, family and guests were present at the event which is the highlight of the club’s social season and which this year also celebrated “sixty years of cycling” - the club having been founded in 1954.
Trevor Thompson from Moorfields is this season’s “club person of the year” and he received the Friendship cup in acknowledgement of his fund raising efforts for “The friends of the cancer centre” and for his successful participation in the 1000 kilometre “Camino Challenge” in Spain.
Congratulations Trevor, you are a very worthy recipient of this prestigious and sought after award, and everyone at BRC are delighted to see you return to full fitness following your illness.
Club Chairman John Maxwell was master of ceremonies and he welcomed the guests who included road club founder member Sammy Kerr and his wife Prudence.
The guest of honour was one of the Ireland’s most successful motor cycle road racers, Adrian Archibald, who was accompanied by his wife Melanie.
Adrian distributed the silverware and later gave a fascinating account of his 21 year racing career, which included three Isle of Man TT wins, six Ulster GP wins and one at the North West 200. Adrian also had over 100 National road race victories.
Adrian, who is now a BRC member, said taking up cycling again had helped with his transition from motor cycle racing following announcing his retirement in January 2013.
Neil McGuigan was present representing the club’s main sponsors Chain Reaction Cycles while Richard Wilson represented long term sponsors Northstone.
Other special guests included club President Alan Mark and his wife Mary.
Vice Presidents; Gordon Caldwell and his wife Nora, Rex Bonar and his daughter Anne and son Alex.
George and Joan Graham of Graham’s kitchens Woodgreen.
Race official Gordon Parker and his partner Allie.
Former NICF President Morris Foster MBE.
Sponsors. John and Margaret Maxwell of Maxwell Packaging. Alan and Laura Blair of Blair International Transport. John and Florence Walker of the Country Garage. Ruth Winning of JBE mechanical and electrical. Alex McAuley and Andy Lynn of A. Bonar and Co Pennybridge.
The local press were also represented with Shaun O’Neill of the Ballymena Guardian in attendance.
A letter of good wishes was read out from Aileen McAuley, the wife of founder member Joe McAuley, who sadly died in January 2013.
Aileen, an artist of considerable repute, painted a scene of Slemish which she donated as first prize in the club raffle.
The chosen subject of the painting was particularly poignant as it was the view Joe would have had during his final cycle ride that fateful day of 8th January 2013 when he took a heart attack, whilst cycling in the area, and subsequently died as a result. Many thanks Aileen for your kindness.
This season’s club race series was sponsored by Northstone, which was the company’s thirty second season backing the Railway Street based club.
Breandan McCavana was again the top youth section rider and won four trophies, which included the Samuel Mark shield for the youths’ time trial BAR, with an average speed of 25.793 mph. Caolan Stuart finished second in the B.A.R. with 22.380mph with Joel McCavana third with 20.774 mph.
Breandan also won the “schools championship”, for the Greer trophy and the Sandy Spence cup at Glarryford.
Breandan, along with his St Louis school mate Caolan Stuart, won the Brian Russell inter schools trophy.
Breandan’s brother Joel won the Kerr and McAuley cup for the youth road racing league.
Joel also won the Dave Millar cup for the season long youth racing league which included time trials and road races and the Clarkes tyres cup for the road race at Broughshane.
The club’s ladies champion is Eileen Burns and she collected the “rose bowl” as winner of the ladies time trial BAR, with a record average speed of 26.836 mph. She also finished first in the ladies league.
John Maxwell topped the veterans section for the Henderson cup.
Ryan Bankhead won the William Smyth cup for the club’s road racing league series.
This series included his win in the Star Trophy GP of the Glens RR. Ryan also won the three event “scratch road race” mini-series, for the Tommy Smyth cup.
Ryan also tied with Matthew Brennan for the Ballymena Borough Council cup in the three day race.
Matthew Brennan won the Tommy Talbot cup for the GP of the Glens time trial.
Jason Burns won the club’s time trial handicap league competition. He also collected the Combat Cancer 25 cup, The McQuigg 50 cup and the Rex Bonar road race cup.
Sean Wright was back on form in 2014 and he had two road race wins with success coming in the H and M Wilson cup event at Slaght and the Sammy Gaston cup road race at Glarryford.
Steven Workman also collected four items of silverware.
These included: the Sam McQuigg cup for the club’s senior time trial best all-rounder competition, with an average speed of 27.640 mph.
The Stan Finlay memorial 10 miles time trial, the Ernie Mark cup 25 miles time trial and the Water Margin cup, which goes to the club rider with the fastest 10 miles time trial of the season. Steven’s winning time was 20 minutes 37 seconds.
Other winners of perpetual trophies in 2014 included:
Karl Taylor won the Sammy Connor cup club championship road race at Broughshane.
Harry Thompson won the Will Henry cup road race at Glarryford.
Laura Blair who won the Gardiner cup 10 miles time trial.
Colin Scullion won the Sherdan Caldwell memorial shield for the Crebilly hill climb.
The catering was by Jane’s Kitchens of Broughshane and everyone was delighted by the standard of the food which was served up.
Many thanks to club secretary Hazel Hughes for her time consuming efforts over the last six weeks in preparation for the event. Everything worked out perfectly.
Hazel in turn acknowledged the assistance of several members of the ladies committee, who helped decorate the room and this added greatly to the sense of celebration. Hazel thanks Maura, Iris, Maria, Alice and Lori for their assistance with balloons, bunting etc. and to Rex Bonar for the display of photographs and memorabilia, and also to Patsy McGurk and Ronnie Grant.