The counter attraction of the inter club road racing league event at Ballymoney had an impact on the race, with just eleven from BRC and another six visitors lining up at Woodgreen for the start.
Conditions were very windy with the stiff breeze on the leg to Ballymena making life difficult.
Steven Workman was fastest in the club section with 56 minutes 04 seconds and that was despite having to stop briefly mid-race when he was unwell.
Sean Wright, who won the previous weeks H and M Wilson cup road race, was second with 57.09 while another top veteran Tommy Wilson finished third with 58.04.
Jason Burns put in a great performance of 59 minutes 09 seconds to beat the hour for the first time. Jason’s previous best 25 miles time was 64 minutes 42 seconds and with such a dramatic improvement he won the handicap section and with it the Combat Cancer cup.
That keeps the Combat Cancer cup firmly in the Burns’ family trophy cabinet as Jason’s wife Eileen won it in 2013. In fact Eileen didn’t give the cup up easily because her net handicap time was only 3 seconds slower than Jason’s as she too had a PB time.
Aaron Swan of the N Roche PT was fastest of the visitors with 55 minutes 47 seconds.
Results: (1) Steven Workman 56.04 (2) Sean Wright 57.09 (3) Tommy Wilson 58.04 (4) Jason Burns 59.04 (5) Nigel Kernohan 61.42 (6) Martin Ruddy 62.18 (7) David Kennedy 62.45 (8) Eileen Burns 62.49 (9) John Maxwell 65.41
Handicap: (1) Jason Burns 54.22 (2) Eileen Burns 54.25 (3) M Ruddy 58.14 (4) S Wright 59.06 (5) D Kennedy 60.14 (6) J Maxwell 60.45
Hand cycle: (1) Darrell Erwin 1 hour 26 minutes 43 seconds.
NORTH DOWN GP
There was some success for Ballymena riders in Sunday’s North Down Grand Prix events at Groomsport. Claire Gillespie was fourth in the ladies championship event while Jason Burns took second in the A4 event.
Matthew Brennan was seventh A3 category rider in the main race, where he also won the king of the mountains contest.
RAS DHUN NA NGALL
Ballymena Road Club – Chain Reaction Cycles - were represented by a seven man team at this year’s three day – 4 stage event based in Ardara, County Donegal; running from Friday 30th May until Sunday 1st June. The riders were supported by team manager Andrew Wills and mechanic Derek Dougan.
One of the riders – Matthew Brennan – gives an account of the weekend’s activities.
Stage One – Ardara, Kilraine, Frosses, Dunkineely, Bruckless, Ardara – 52.5Km
There was a festival atmosphere in Ardara town center as 150 riders rolled out in the direction of Glenties ready for a hard weekend on a very tough parcours. The first ten miles was fast and furious, with the peloton reaching speeds of 48 miles per hour. One hour and fifteen minutes later they returned to Ardara town center for mass bunch sprint.
Stage Two – Individual Time Trial – Maghera 2.9km
Team BRC had an early start in the Individual Time Trial, with first rider Hall Booth off at 9.04. Riders were set off at intervals of one minute along the unclassified mountain pass road with an elevation gain of 562 feet. Simon Taggart set the quickest time for the team, with Ryan Shaw and Matthew Brennan both within six seconds.
Stage Three – Ardara, Clooney, Glenties, Doochary, Glenties, Ardara – 82.8KM
Hall Booth was unlucky to suffer a mechanical early, a broken spoke effectively ending his GC ambitions, but he was joined in the ‘grupetto’ by David Dougan and Nigel Kernohan. All three rode strongly to the finish. Simon Taggart, Matthew Brennan and Ryan Shaw all finished safely within the main bunch, 30 seconds behind the winner.
Stage Four – Ardara, Dunkineely, Glenties, Narin, Ardara, Glengesh – 98km
Nigel Kernohan did not start the stage and within a few miles David Dougan and Hall Booth pulled the plug, on what had been a tough but valiant weekend’s racing for all three men. Again the pace was high throughout the stage but as the bunch raced through the crowds in Ardara towards the foot of Glengesh mountain pass… Simon, Ryan and Matthew were all in contention. In the end the strong cross winds and the 25% sections of gradient pulled the bunch to pieces, but all three lads battled to the top to give Ballymena Road Club their best stage race result in a long time.
Ballymena Road Club finished 5th on Team Classification at 5 minutes 30 seconds, a result made more impressive when you consider that three of the four teams who finished ahead were selected composite squads ie. Cycling Ulster, The Belgian Project and Donegal Development.
Simon Taggart finished 23rd overall at 2minutes 4 seconds. Ryan Shaw finished 2nd in the U23 Category at 8 seconds. Matthew Brennan finished 4th in the U23 Category at 58 seconds.