There was a major boost for Ballymena Road Club – Chain Reaction Cycles – last week with the announcement, by Cycling Ireland, that the club’s Wallace Caldwell memorial road race is to be included in the National Road Series for the coming season.
The road racing series, primarily aimed at A1 and A2 riders, will comprise of 16 races, with the best five scores of a rider counting provided they compete in three provinces.
There will be four events in each of the country’s four provinces.
CI board director Anthony Mitchell is overseeing the series, and he is upbeat about the new venture. “Cycling Ireland has recognised the gap in the domestic calendar for a league of “classic events” and has also built on previous experience taking in to account that the cost of competing in all events across the island was becoming prohibitive.
The new series will still see riders compete across the country, but may not result in them having to travel from one end to the other, as it is envisaged that a rider’s counting scores will come from their “home” province and the two provinces which are geographically the closest to them”
The resurrection of a National Series has come about after months of planning and selecting events from around the country.
Along with each individual event’s prize fund, Cycling Ireland are putting up €3,000 for the overall positions.
The series kicks off in Munster on 8th March, with the Ras Luimni. the Wallace Caldwell memorial road race is the second round, on Saturday 21st March.
A road club spokesman said “This is a major boost for the club and again confirmation of the status which the Caldwell race holds within Irish cycling.
“It is also an endorsement of the club’s organisational skills that BRC have been chosen to host a round of this prestigious series,” he added.
JUNIOR TOUR FUND-RAISER
Sean McNicholl of Church Island cycling club in Bellaghy organised last Saturday’s sportive event from the village as a fund raiser for the 2015 International Junior Tour of Ireland.
The junior tour has been running since 1978, when Martin Early was the overall winner and he went on to enjoy a very successful professional career, including a stage win in the 1989 Tour de France and also a stage win in the Giro d’Italia.
Ballymena Road Club’s Andrew Moss won the junior tour in 1986 and he was one of the participants in Saturday’s fund raiser.
However there was a real danger that this year’s race wouldn’t go ahead this year because of a lack of funding, so a series of Sportives have been organised to help secure its future.