Another week and Ballymoney Cycling Club Biesty’s Centra racers are in the top 5, with recent signing and 2016 Ras team’s Ryan Bankhead taking a fourth place at Newry.
In what is now becoming a sprint finish event and run off at high speeds, Sunday’s A1 race was averaged at 55 miles in 27.1mph average - not your normal weekend scoot out on the bike!
This race also saw other Ras team rider Steven McAllister, in his first race of 2016, cruising round comfortably along with Ryan as they prepare for what is becoming known locally by friends, sponsors, supporters and club members as “8 days in May” where the five BCC riders enter as a composite team and will take part in the biggest challenge of their lives, starting at Dublin Castle on the 22nd May and finishing in Skerries eight days later.
Another Ras team racer Aaron Swan was at Navan in the Cycleways Cup, missing out in a top two placing as he had, along with another rider, jumped clear in the final kilometres and was only just swamped by the 100 strong bunch in the final 150m before the line.
Both days Ryan and Aaron had been involved in the action - Saturday was the John Moore at Carryduff and then the John Haldane Memorial at Newry.
The race was run on the Newry to Warrenpoint road, flat and ideal for fast and furious racing.
With some attempts by mountain biker and international rider Gareth McKee (Banbridge CC) and the home club of Newry’s Mark McKinley who tried to get clear and open a gap, the bunch of 80 riders were having none of it going into the last of 6 laps.
Word came through to the spectators gathered at the finish line that it was looking like a bunch sprint for the line. As the riders approached on the pan flat run into Newry, the Ballymoney jersey of Bankhead could be seen making his way to the front and his skill and years of experience saw the big lad pick the right wheel of the winner Lindsay Watson.
However, a winter of long Ras preparation miles had blunted the raw explosive speed needed to win a 40mph sprint like this and the BCC rider had to settle for a fantastic fourth place. This is the type of action the followers of Ballymoney Cycling Club are used to getting week in week out as the team all try to outdo the other and the level of competition makes for great team and club spirit throughout the year.
Well done again to local club and neighbours Dunloy CC who are building a reputation in the master over 50’s racing with Dessie Dillon getting fourth from Vincent Drain and Finbar Doey. Great results for the area and the depth of talent in north Antrim.
Results from Newry: A1/A2 Race - 1st Lindsay Watson Team Plush; 2nd Mark Millar VCM; 3rd Karl Morgan Phoenix RC; 4th Ryan Bankhead Ballymoney CC; 5th Stephen Hutchinson Cookstown Cycling Team; 6th Gareth McCullough Newry Wheelers.
Praise and encouragement has to go to the other BCC Biesty’s Centra racers in action at the weekend who rode at Carryduff and Newry. Junior racer and upcoming Tour of the North Team rider Robbie Doherty is enjoying the step up to senior racing. Good things are expected from this talented rider. Marshall Craig, the ever smiling and team stalwart who encourages the others to do well and can get round in the racing as well, Aaron Dickie, mixes work and racing and a very clever rider, rode the Tour of Omagh last season and finished well after the 4 stages, Jack Owens can finish off in the results when in form. All of the BCC riders are very aware of the raft of talent that will be kicking off the race season in April...the BCC Youth team.