Breandan and St Louis claim honours at Road Club schools’ championship

Ballymena Road Club – Chain Reaction Cycles – held their annual Ballymena schools cycling championship at Broughshane last Monday evening.

Participants in the recent School Boys cycling championship, organised by Ballymena Road Club, pictured at the start of the race at Houstons Mill. INBT34-203AC

The event was very well supported with three schools in the borough represented as well as four other schools from outside the town, and they produced some very close racing with only seconds separating the leaders on each stage.

All who took part were eligible for prizes on the night, although it is only those who attend a Ballymena school or who are a member of BRC who can win the actual championship title.

Each of the three stages had a different winner with Breandan McCavana (St Louis) fastest in the 3.1 miles time trial, which took place over the Caherty road Aghnadore road and Rathkeel road circuit.

Breandan recorded 8 minutes 35 seconds to beat second placed, visiting rider, Shea McTaggart (Loreto) by 1 second. Caolan Stuart (St Louis) was third with 8 minutes 52 seconds.

The one lap 3.1 miles road race, held over the same course, saw the riders set out with five different starting handicaps. Brian McAuley (St Pauls Kilrea) led until half way round the lap before being caught by the scratch group.

Seven riders were together for the sprint finish with Shea McTaggart winning the gallop by a clear two seconds gap, in a time of 8 minutes 26 seconds. Shay Donley (Cambridge House) took second with Caolan Stuart third. (4) Breandan McCavana (5) Eoin Mellon (6) Shaun Byrne (7) Fergus Byrne all at 2 seconds (8) Isaac McAuley (9) Caleb Dempsey both at 21 seconds (10) Hayden Ritchie at 33 seconds (11) Brian McAuley at 1 minute 51 seconds.

The final stage was a hill climb from Aghnadore road up the Caherty road hill.

This time it was the turn of Caolan Stuart to win the stage. He recorded 1 minute 27 seconds with Shea McTaggart second with 1 minute 28 seconds and Ballymena Academy’s Caleb Dempsey third on 1 minute 30 seconds.

McTaggart was fastest on aggregate time with 18 minutes 30 seconds but it was second placed Breandan McCavana on 18.36 who has the honour of winning the Greer trophy for his school – St Louis Ballymena. Caolan Stuart (St Louis) was third overall with 18.47. McCavana and Stuart won the Brian Russell inter schools trophy for St Louis with a combined time of 37 minutes 23 seconds.

The other overall individual placings were: (4) Shaun Byrne (St Benedict’s, Randalstown) 19.20 (5) Shay Donley (Cambridge house) 19.39 (6) Caleb Dempsey (Ballymena Academy) 19.44 (7) Fergus Byrne (St Benedict’s) 19.54 (8) Eoin Mellon (St Pauls Kilrea) 20.01 (9) Hayden Ritchie (Academy) 21.08 (10) Isaac McAuley (St Marys Magherafelt) 21.24 (11) Brian McAuley (St Pauls) 24.50


Ballymena Road Club - Chain Reaction held their final road race of the 2013 season on Wednesday 14th August over four laps (20 miles) of the tough Glarryford circuit.

The race was handicapped with groups going off at zero, two and four minutes.

The scratch group immediately set to work, determined to catch the groups in front. Strong riding from Tommy Wilson, Matthew Brennan and Connor Young saw the time gaps tumbling quickly in the opening two laps. By the start of lap three the gap from front to back had fallen to less than thirty seconds.

Matthew Brennan was first to show his hand, bridging the gap between the two groups and immediately going to the front to force the pace. Karl Taylor and Tommy Wilson followed suit and were closely followed by the remaining scratch riders.

With everyone together entering the final lap, it looked like the race would come to a bunch sprint.

However, several riders had different ideas and the climb to Millar’s Corner saw a group of approximately ten break away from the bunch.

By the top corner the gap was thirty seconds and by the turn towards home, at Dunminning, the gap was over one minute, as the strong riders forced the pace.

As the race neared the finish at Glarryford, Matthew Brennan again attacked. He was followed immediately by Karl Taylor and Cliff Grant and those three riders opened a small gap as they approached the line. Taylor led out the sprint and was challenged by Grant.

With 50 yards to go the pair were neck and neck, but Grant timed his ‘sprinter’s throw’ to perfection and claimed his second win in as many years by a very small margin. Brennan and Young finished third and fourth.


Connor wins inter club league after final round at Kilrea.

Connor Young emerged as the overall winner of the Inter-Club road race series after last Thursday night’s final round event promoted by Bann Valley at Kilrea.

Connor gave me his account of the race “From the word “go” BRC riders Matthew Brennan, Simon Taggart, Mickey Carroll, Chris Beattie, Tommy Wilson and Ryan Currie hit the front lifting the speed to close on 30mph.

The pace didn’t drop from there, as we caught the 3rd group there was no let up and the boys road straight through and lifted the speed once again. As we caught more of the groups and the bunch got bigger, and the racing became more frantic, my lead out man Karlo Taylor provided a steady and smart wheel to be on.

As we took the bell for the last lap Mickey was the rider relaying information from me to the boys at the front to tell them I wanted it as fast as possible along the narrow back road before the finish.

And so they did, the whole way to the finish, with the guys setting such a high speed it thinned the front of the bunch.

It was Richard Reid who dragged me from 20th wheel to 3rd at speeds of over 35mph this then allowed Chris Beattie and Karlo to keep me clear of my rivals and take the overall victory! An amazing performance by Ballymena road club!” added a delighted Connor.

Ryan Orr (Ballymoney) won the race on the night.


“Blair International” Red Hand Trophy scheduled for this Saturday.

Ballymena Road Club – Chain Reaction Cycles – are scheduled to hold their annual Blair International Transport, Red Hand Trophy road race this Saturday 24th August, from their Rex Bonar House club rooms on Railway Street.

There is, however, some doubt about the race as organiser Hugh McCullough had only received 38 confirmed entries by Sunday night.

The club would need double that amount before the race could go ahead, please check Cycling Ulster website this week for updates.

Assuming that the race takes place the details are: The peloton will depart from Railway Street at 10.50 am.

From there they are neutralised through the town and along Ballymoney road, Fry’s Road to the race start on the Cushendall Road.

The race follows a course to Rathkenny and then left for Clough before heading on for Loughguille and Armoy.

Then it’s down Glenshesk to Ballycastle before the climb to Ballyvoy and on up the hill to Ballypatrick forest and on past the Vanishing Lakes.

A fast descent then follows which takes the riders over the Glendun viaduct and on to Cushendall.

Then it’s around the coast road to Carnlough before the final climb up Glencloy and on in through the Braid to the finish back at Broughshane, where the leaders are expected at approximately 1.25pm

Alan Blair’s generous sponsorship ensures a winner’s prize of £100 and also there are prizes for the first six as well as the “unplaced” second and third category seniors.

In addition to these there are also prizes for the first three Ballymena RC riders who don’t pick up a prize in the main list.

As usual a big team of marshals are required to run the race. Please make yourself available to the race organiser, Hugh McCullough, if you are able to assist.

Last year Adam Armstrong (Eurocycles) won the race by 7 seconds from Simon Williams (Curran) after 2 hours 28 minutes 31 seconds. Conor McAllister (Chain Reaction) took third place at 2 minutes 31 seconds.

Armstrong was delighted to have finally won the Red Hand Trophy which was one of the few major classic races he hadn’t mastered. Ballymena Road Club’s best finisher was Simon Taggart in tenth place.