John Madden sets new course record in Bann Wheelers Championship

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Ballycastle cyclist John Madden, who races for Curran Racing and is an associate member of Coleraine’s Bann Wheelers cycling club, has broken the course for the 25 mile course which goes along the Portrush road to Coleraine and back.

Madden’s time of 54:21 is far from his record breaking 50:58 which he recorded on a course between Ballymena and Antrim but it was still good enough to win the event and is an impressive performance on such a challenging course.

The event took place on Tuesday evening and was the Bann Wheelers 25 Mile Time Trial Club Championship. Held on the undulating Ballybogey-Coleraine course it was always going to be an event which suited strong riders. Whilst this is not the fastest course for such an event it did not stop a strong field from turning out for an opportunity to be crowned Club Champion.

Weather conditions and holiday traffic also threatened to spoil fast times on the night. But no one seemed to have informed Madden as he powered his way to clock not only the fastest time of the night but also a new course record of 54:21. “Two years ago I came off on the Ballymoney roundabout in very wet conditions and I believe I was about to record a fast time prior to crashing so it was nice to complete the course this year and set the record. I have missed 6 weeks off the bike due to illness earlier in the season so I am only working my way back to race fitness with some local races as part of my build up to defending Ulster and Irish records/championships in September” said Madden after the event.

Former international and Irish champion triathlete Madden switched to cycling in recent years and holds national records for 10, 25 and 50 miles in addition to being crowned Ulster Champion on a number of occasions for various time trial distances. He is also a school principal and manages Roddensvale special school in Larne.

Madden is not eligible for the club title, being only an associate member of Bann Wheelers, so Sean Kealey, retained his title, recording a time of 56:11. Sean was followed by veteran tester Dominic Drumm (57:55), Carl Russell (58:22), Sharman Crawford (58:41), Derek McMenemy (58:42), Damian Hazlett (1:02:08), Brandon Herald – U14 (1:12:28) and Sam Greer (1:12:36).

Brandon Herald’s time is impressive as he races in the Under 14 category. Brandon is also the grandson of club stalwart Sam Greer although all family loyalties were temporarily put to one side as the two battled it out on the course.  

Bann Wheelers would like to offer a special thanks to Ian Nevin who performed time keeping duties on the night. John Madden hopes to join Bann Wheelers for their coastal challenge cycle which leaves Coleraine rugby club on Sunday 31st July (more details may be found for this event at www.bannwheelers.com).

John Madden broke the Bann Wheelers course record for 25 miles this week as part of his preparation for future Ulster championship races. He next competes this weekend in the grueling Portaferry 3 day stage race against the top road race athletes in the country.