Big weekend in store for local cyclists
THIS Saturday, March 23, Ballymena Road Club – Chain Reaction cycles – will promote their annual Wallace Caldwell memorial road race at Galgorm.
This season’s race is being held on just the fifth weekend of the 2013 season and most of the riders will be facing their first major scratch race of the year as the season to date has been made up of relatively short and flat events.
Saturday will prove to be an excellent dress rehearsal for those seeking success in the big Easter showcase event – the P&O Ferries Tour of the North stage race which follows just six days later - (Friday 29th March – Monday 1st April)
Ballymena Road Club cyclists received a boost for this weekend’s Wallace Caldwell memorial road race when two sponsorship cheques were presented to the club.
Ben Morrow of Woodside’s Chemists on Church Street and Jonathan Keys of J and R Keys tile shop, Castle Street, have both given their financial backing to the event which has been an annual fixture on the NI racing calendar for 46 years.
Ben Morrow is himself an established racing cyclist and has taken part in the Caldwell race on many occasions over the years.
The support of these two generous sponsors will mean that the event will again carry a generous prize list which includes a £100 prize for the first rider home.
There will be prizes for the first six finishers, as well as category awards for A2, A3 junior, veteran and ladies. Ballymena RC riders who don’t qualify for a top six or category award will have three additional “BRC Club prizes” to race for.
The race starts from Galgorm and follows a route to Ahoghill, Portglenone, Maghera, Garvagh, Ringsend and then the tough climb to the Cam forest.
Then it’s a fast downhill sweep to the outskirts of Limavady before turning right and the even tougher climb up to the Springwell forest.
Then it’s on towards Coleraine before turning right on to the Garvagh road and left through Aghadowey to the Brown Trout.
The final miles take in Kilrea, Clady and Portglenone before the final test up Tully climb and on through Ahoghill to the Galgorm finish, a total distance of 78 miles. The event usually finishes between 2.00 and 2.10pm.
Ballymena Road Club – Chain Reaction Cycles – have a full field of 80 riders and a reserve list of ten riders for the Wallace Caldwell memorial.
The Ballymena Road Club entry includes Michael Carroll, Clifford Grant, Matthew Brennan, Ryan Currie, Karl Taylor, Simon Taggart, Chris Beattie and Hall Booth.
Amongst the favourites are former winner Gary Cranston (Madigan) and his team mate Glen Kinning who is a former winner of the Red Hand Trophy. Thomas Martin (Eurocycles) Simon Williams (Orchard) and James McMaster (Curran) are also on the entry list. Former BRC members Conor and Leo McAlister (CRC Vitus) have also entered but are currently on the reserve list.
Last year’s race was won by Dubliner Ryan Sherlock of Cycleways. BRC associate member Leo McAllister was seventh, while Ryan Connor was best for BRC in twelfth.
Hugh McCullough is appealing for race marshalls and feels that help may be in short supply as many club members assume that the organisation of the event is being looked after solely by the race committee, which is not the case.
Please make yourself available to assist, contact Hugh on 07743 240 975
CARROLL ON SONG
Ballymena Road Club - Chain Reaction Cycles – veteran rider Michael Carroll, from Caherty Road in Broughshane, gave the local club their first senior, male, open race win of the season when he was first home in Sunday’s ClannEireann cup road race at Derrymacash.
Michael, who was taking part in the eight lap, 56 miles race for third category seniors and veterans, was included in a six rider breakaway group as early as the second lap and, even though this group was caught, he persevered to attack again.
This time he was joined by a Madigan rider, Curtis Fillmore. However when his breakaway companion dropped back on lap four Michael decided to keep going and managed to maintain a slender 30 seconds advantage for the second half of the race and take a hard earned victory. Second place went to Paul McArthur (Omagh) (3) Mark Downey (Roche Development team) (4) Tom Simmons (Glendale) (5) Bobby Kane (Bann Wheelers) (6) Gavin McCowan (Dromara)
Afterwards, former Irish veterans’ champion, Michael said: “It’s great to experiencethat winning feeling again especially since I am new to Ballymena Road Club this season: it’s nice to win for the club.
“I won this same race when I first started cycling about 22 years ago and, before the start today, I was speaking to John Bann Lavery who was showing me a result from the Saint Patrick’s day race at Downpatrick 20 years ago. I won that day too, so it was like some sort of omen.
“Now I’m really looking forward to Saturday’s Wallace Caldwell event, although that will be an entirely different affair. I hope to do well but it will be very tough.
“I should be OK if I can get over the big climbs but it certainly won’t be easy” added a delighted Michael.
Ballymena Road Club members Sean and Marlene Wright have organised a charity fund raising dance on Saturday 23rd March at Ballymena Rugby Club with music by “The Liberals Band”
It will be a birthday celebration for Marlene who has one of those birthday’s with a zero at the end of it, and that’s all I’m saying!
The clue is that it will be a 60’s and 70’s “Fancy Dress” affair.
Members of the following clubs will be in attendance: Ballymena Road Club, Ballymena Rugby Club, Michelin Cycling Club, Ballymena Runners and Bann Valley Road Club.
Some tickets are still available at £10. Please contact Marlene Wright on 07752 942 394.