Ballymoney CC Biesty’s team completed the toughest stage race in Ireland, the 8 day International An Post Ras.
The local regional team were entered as the County Antrim Ballymoney CC Biesty’s, received great notice as the lads Aaron Swan, the youngest rider in the 2016 Ras, Ryan Bankhead, Steven McAllister, Craig McAuley and the tough 20 year old Angus Fyffe.
The Ballymoney team ended up the best placed Antrim team overall in the race, a great achievement despite the racing member numbers of the top flight outfit.
The BCC Biesty’s team would like to thank the support received from friends and supporters. A full report will follow in the coming weeks.
The race that covers over 1200km’s starting at Dublin Castle to Multifarnam (98 miles), Mullingar to Charleville (117 miles) Charleville tto Dingle climbing the cat 1 Connor Pass (94 miles) Dingle to Sneem (90 miles) Sneem to Clonakilty (92 miles), Clonakilty to Dungarven (96 miles) Dungarven to Baltinglass (97 miles), Kildare to Skerries (92 miles).
The race started at over 35 mph and in the first 12 miles over 40 riders had crashed in pile ups, included were Ryan Bankhead and Angus Fyffe, both came down hard but this crashed practically ended the race Ryan as he was forced to withdraw on the 3rd stage due to excessive pain. Angus battled on and finished the best placed Ballymoney ever in 90th out of 200 riders. Best placed rider to date was Devon McIlwaine (95th) riding for Co Derry in 2013. The youngest rider in the race at 18 years Aaron Swan battled on everyday with punctures, getting caught up in crashes and his adopted mentor coaxing him on every mile....such was the spirit of the squad.
Other BCC riders Steven McAllister and Craig McAuley had to withdraw on stage 3 following crashes and despite being in bits, McAllister rode the final 85 miles on his own but missed the time cut despite an average speed of 27mph to the bottom of the cat 1 Connor Pass. The An Post Ras in the last 2 years has seen a zero tolerance to helping the riders and any attempt to pace them up to other groups saw instant disqualification. This makes the acheivements of team leader Niall O’Hagan in 2015 and Angus and Arron in 2016 real acheivements of hard riding and mental toughness.
Ballymoney Cycling Club have now established the club as they took another step forward in their club’s development not only as promotersof top events like senior and youth championships but now as a club with a big appetite for paving the way for their riders in major competitions.
Thank you has to go to the people who helped the team every day from 6am to 10pm every day. Philip Logan, Felicity Watts, Niall O’Hagan, and the riders who had crashed out stayed on and added an A team status to the whole gig, with acting mechanics, masseurs and team domestiques. Thank you to everyone, and also the club hired a mini bus and to a full load of members and friends to Skerries to welcome the riders home.