Ballymena Road Club – Chain Reaction Cycles – were the promoters of last Saturday’s well-attended Red Hand Trophy road race.
Once again, all of the Province’s top stars in action over the North Antrim glens and Coast road course.
The race was to result in Bangor man Fraser Duncan (Team Asea) winning the prestigious trophy for a second successive season at Broughshane, where he was best in a four man sprint to the line, after the hilly 65 miles race. Daniel Stewart (Phoenix) was second with Craig McAuley (Caldwell Cycles) third and Ali McAuley (Team Asea) fourth.
Despite poor weather prior to Saturday, the conditions were favourable for the race. Seventy five started and as soon as the flag was dropped riders were jostling for an early lead.
After the first climb, approaching and through Clough, a three man group broke away from the main field. They consisted of John Madden (Dig Deep Coaching) Daniel Stewart and Ali McAuley. They stayed ahead all the way to Ballycastle and up the Ballypatrick forest climb and past the Vanishing Lake and on through Cushendall and around the coast road to Carnlough.
Several groups formed behind the leaders but Fraser Duncan (Team Asea) and Craig McAuley (Caldwell Cycle) were to break away from the main field to catch the front riders coming into Carnlough. Once Fraser and Craig caught the leaders the pace went up instantly and John Madden struggled to stay with the group on the climb.
Each of the leading riders attacked for position as they approached Broughshane, but it was Fraser Duncan who was strongest on the day and he took the win.
There was some great riding by the first four riders home, as well as veteran John Madden, who was in the first three until up out of Carnlough glen.
Congratulations to Fraser for winning and a big mention for Matthew Brennan who was best for Ballymena just 2 minutes 10 seconds behind in fifteenth place; he also won the A3 category prize and the Billy Kerr memorial trophy as first BRC rider.