Close racing in Road Club’s three day competition as honours are shared

Ryan Bankhead and Matthew Brennan.
Ryan Bankhead and Matthew Brennan.

There was a tie for the overall honours in last week’s Ballymena Road Club – Chain Reaction Cycles – three day race, with Matthew Brennan and Ryan Bankhead both amassing a total of 27 points.

Each of the three rounds at Randalstown, Woodgreen and Glarryford had different winners with Ryan Bankhead winning at Randalstown, Jason Burns winning at Woodgreen and Matthew Brennan taking the honours at Glarryford.

Ryan Bankhead got off to the best possible start when he led in a three rider breakaway group at the end of the “short circuit” event at Randalstown on Monday evening. The entrants faced ten laps of the, two miles per lap, Ahoghill road, Branch Road, Portglenone road circuit. The short course didn’t allow for too big a handicap with an overall limit of four minutes from front to back. It was a tough course too with the hill on the Ahoghill road getting steeper each lap.

The scratch riders had easily made up their handicap by the fourth lap and then Connor Young and Matthew Brennan broke clear of the field on lap six. At the bell for the last lap these two led lone chaser Ryan Bankhead by 25 seconds and their positions should have been safe to the finish. However a “cat and mouse” final lap, which was 60 seconds slower than they had been achieving on the earlier laps, meant that Bankhead came across the gap and decisively won the three up sprint after 52 minutes 58 seconds racing. Connor Young was second with Matthew Brennan third. These three had 17 seconds to spare over fourth placed Jason Burns with Alan Blair fifth and Philip Morrison sixth – all at 17 seconds. (7) Jon Hilditch at 20 secs (8) Nigel Kernohan at 22 secs (9) Daryl Sempey at 32 secs (10) David Dougan at 2 minutes 12 secs (11) Gary McCappin at 3.00 (12) Laura Blair at 5.52 (13) John Maxwell at 6.42 (14) Martin Ruddy at 6.42

Tuesday’s action centred on the 5 miles time trial at Woodgreen. Jason Burns was fastest with 10 minutes 31 seconds with Matthew Brennan second on 10.41 and Ryan Bankhead third with 10.44.

Jason Burns leads the time trial handicap league series with three rounds remaining. He has 27 points, his wife Eileen has 24 points while Daryl Sempey is third on 22.

The final round of the three day race was the Sammy Gaston cup 25 miles road race, which was held over five laps of the Glarryford, Millar’s corner, Dunminning circuit on Wednesday evening.

Matthew Brennan was in dominant form and after his 5 minutes starting handicap was cleared he went on to complete a solo attack and finish 2 minutes 26 seconds ahead of second placed Ryan Bankhead. The annual Bann Valley Road Club Marie Curie charity cycle, The Tour of the North Coast, takes place on Sunday. The start will be from Portglenone Community Centre at 10am with sign on from 9.30. The fee will be £10.00 with an extra £2.00 for a day licence for non-Cycling Ireland members. The route will take the cyclists from Portglenone through Rasharkin, Ballymoney, and Bushmills to the north coast and from there to Portrush, Portstewart, Coleraine and back to Portglenone.