Cyclist Claire making big impression in debut race season

BALLYMENA Road Club – Chain Reaction Cycles – team member Claire Gillespie from Broughshane, is making an immediate impact on the Women’s racing scene already this season.

Claire Gillespie is making a big impact in her debut racing season.
Claire Gillespie is making a big impact in her debut racing season.

Claire was third at the Phoenix Grand Prix on the opening weekend of the season and she followed this up with a second place in the Spires Magherafelt GP event, at the Loup, on Saturday and then won the ladies race at the John Haldane memorial events at Newry on Sunday.

However Saturday’s race will be remembered for all the wrong reasons because, in the closing stages of the Masters/Women’s race, an accident occurred which saw Dromara rider Ted McKibbin seriously injured and he will be paralysed from the waist down as a result of those injuries.

Following the crash, and in the interests of safety, Spires CC and the commissaires decided to stop the A and B races and turn the riders back to the headquarters avoiding the scene of the crash.

For the record Janine McNally (North Down) won outright beating club mate Paul Swenarton in the sprint. Third place was taken by Ballymena’s Claire Gillespie with Bann Valley’s Gerry McCullough taking fourth overall and second in the Masters. BRC associate member Dermot Hughes (Phoenix) also came off in the same incident but fortunately only sustained minor injuries, he went on to finish seventh in the masters section.

Ted McKibbin was taken to Antrim hospital and then transferred to the Royal Victoria. Everyone in local cycling is deeply saddened by this news and wish Ted the very best. Our thoughts are with him and his family.

There was success for Ballymena Road Club riders at the John Haldane memorial events at Newry on Sunday when Ryan Bankhead finished second in the combined A1, A2, A3, 50 miles road race, which was won by East Antrim’s top sprinter Peter Kennedy. Martin Ruddy took seventh in the Masters event.

Afterwards Ryan said “It was a hard race today 26.5 mph average speed, it was very good to get a placing. It was very sad to hear about Ted’s injuries, it brings home the dangers of racing on open roads, it’s just a disaster when that sort of thing happens.”

John Haldane Memorial Road Races

A Race (1) Peter Kennedy (East Antrim) (2) Ryan Bankhead (Ballymena RC Chain Reaction Cycles) (3) Bryan McKinney (Duffin Transport) (4) Karl Morgan (Phoenix) (5) Joe Barr (Powerhouse) (6) Tim Edgar (U/A)

Time Square Masters League (1) Jim Doyle (Foyle CC) (2) Jimmy Flynn (Cuchullainn) (3) Ian Cochrane (Banbridge) (7) Martin Ruddy (Ballymena)

SportActive Women’s Road Race League (1) Claire Gillespie (Ballymena RC Chain Reaction Cycles) (2) Eve McCrystal (Garda CC) (3) Alison McMullan (North Down)