Ballymoney Cycling Club's Loughgiel Race a huge success


Sunday, 18th July 2010, 7:49 pm
Updated Monday, 19th July 2010, 10:28 am

“I ENJOYED this event so much, fantastic organising, great courses and the food was excellent, make sure it is on the calendar for 2011!” said 2010 Ras Loughguile winner Stevie Baines.

BCC’S RAS Loughguile 2 Day Stage Race has been herelded a tremendous success, it has been given the acolade of being one of the best Stage Races held in the country.

Ballymoney Cycling Club in the past were never strangers to promoting Championship and open one day events.

Back in 1987 on a testing Finvoy circuit the local club held the Northern Ireland Road Race Championships, won by the late great Irish cyclist Dave McCall.

Then in the early 90’s BCC promoted open League races at Garryduff and for three years held Ballymoney Town Center races. So when BCC Race Secretary had the inspirational idea of the club promoting a 3 stage – 2day race at Loughguile. Ryan’s thinking was to take the sport of cycling into rural areas and give the locals an insight into competition cycling.

Between 25 and 30 children took part in the races being held on the Lough Rd for school children aging from 3 years to 10 years, the excitement and enthuasiasm was electric.

The children on every form of bicycle took part and at the end Ballymoney CC members were on hand to give everyone a Cycling medal.

This looks like being a permanent fixture on the BCC callendar for years to come.

The club was given access to the beautiful Millenium Center in Loughguile to use as their race HQ for the two days of the racing, and with the responsibility of final race organisation given to Ballymoney CC Pro. Maurice McAllister, he along with club members and friends put the showcase event into action.

Stage 1 (30mile RR 5 laps x 6mile circuit)

Saturday morning saw a 30 mile road race on a circuit passing through the village 5 times, Riders from Bangor,Lurgan, Omagh, Belfast, Derry, Donegal, Cookstown, Ballymena, Banbridge, Lisburn and greater Belfast lined up along side BCC riders Jason Taggart, Jerome McKendry, Bryan McKinney, Niall O’Hagan, Nigel Elder, Johnny and Dessie Dillon and Stevie McAllister.

The pace of the race was full gas from the flag, with the first two laps (12 miles) covered in 24 minutes. The Ballymoney riders were seen at the front controlling the race and their tender 12 months racing experience took a hammering as the tough North Down and Madigan riders forced past in the surge for the line. Matty Blayney (NDCC) won from David Neill (Team Madigan) and BCC rider Stevie McAllister was 4th.

In the break between the morning road race and the afternoons time trial, it was at this time the VERY POPULAR kids events took place.

Stage 2 (3.3mile Circuit TT)

At 12.30pm the slick TT bikes were wheeled out for the fast 3.3mile TT.

Again the race organisors used the center of Loughguile as the focal point for the racing, Timekeepers and head judges Bobby Kane and Ryan Patton set the 38 riders off in one minute intervals.

As this race would see the first indication of who the race contenders would be, and as excitment rose early leader was Jason Taggart from Ballymoney CC closely followed by team mate Niall O’Hagan.

But East Antrim flyer Stevie Baines took the lad and the yellow jersey with a time of 7-47, in 2nd place was James Gault (Phoenix CC) 7-59 and flying the flag for Ballymoney CC was

The club’s 10mile TT champion Bryan McKinney in a time of 8-07. Bryan was now only 20 seconds off the yellow jersey going into the final stage.

Stage 3 (36 Mile Laps and loop Road race)

The final stage was a classical monster Road Race, starting at the Millenium Center and finishing in front of the Pound Bar, It had every incredient to test the field, doing two and half laps of a similar circuit to Saturdays race, but with a final loop of Orra mountain, taking in the savage Reservoir Road out of Corkey, going past Altnahinch Dam and finally out of Orra bridge the sharp climb of Glendun and the breakneck descent into Magherahoney and the final heavey 3 mile to the finish.

As the bunch started the final stage in a controlled maner, with everyone chatting as they completed the couple of laps on the rolling roads of north Antrim. It became very clear what was about to happen.

BRC rider Stephen McNeilly hit the front of the peleton, this tallented climber lite the touch paper as the bunch turned into the Reservoir Road at Corkey. The field exploded on this rise into the mountain

Ballymoney CC riders were too the front and heavy legs following the 100 mile epic in Donegal seemed to be hurting the local lads as they were in the small groups that were spread out over the Antrim hills.

McNeilly broke clear on his own and at one stage was in the Yellow jersey on the road, but Stevie Baines (EACC) and the current race leader was marshalling a group of chasers as they hunted down the Cushendall lad.

Best placed BCC rider Bryan McKinney was being protected by teammate Niall O’Hagan and the two men rode as hard as they could but at the finish Bryan just slipped out of the top five overall.

With a group of riders together in the run in to Loughguile including McNeilly and the yellow jersy Stevie Baines it was going to a sprint finish and was won by talented young rider David Neill (Team Madigan).

Stevie Baines retained his yellow jersey and won the race overall, becoming the first winner of this succesfull event.

Final Overall General Classification

1st Stevie Baines (EACC)

2nd James Gault (Pheonix)

3rd David Neill (Team Madigan)

4th Richard McCullough (NDCC)

5th Cathal Doyle (Carn Whs)

6th Stephen McNeilly (BRC)

Ballymoney CC riders all finished in the top 20 with Bryan McKinney and Niall O’Hagan the best placed.

Other prize winners were, Ann Paul, Bryan McKinney and Robbie McIlderry (Young Rider) and BCC U14 schoolboy Blayne Watton won the U15 race from Brandon Herald.

Ballymoney Cycling Club want to thank not only the riders but the links in the chain of marshalls and officials.

Davy in the lead Car, Joan, Ann Marie and the girls with the food, Nat on the motorbike providing excellent cover especially on the hairy Orra descent into Magherahoney,

In the flo vests at Road ends there was Mary, Gemma, Robert, Brendan, Art, Neville, Blayne, Nola, Siobhan, Charlie and David and some the local fellows and girls who I am not sure of their names, all pulling for Cycling and Ballymoney CC. Eddy who in the neutral service car was on hand to give out spare wheels and mechanical assistance, the First Aid people who thank God we did not need. And on the line with watches and cameras we had Bobby and helping with the timing Ryan. Please correct us if we have unintentionally forgot to mention anyone.

Ballymoney Cycling want to further thank the people of Loughguile for the use of their Millennium Centre and also to the ones who were out along the road cheering on the riders.

All being well see you next year.

Flying Jason Taggart 1st and 2nd in two weeks

The Ballymoney club held their weekly road races with a 10mile TT between Dervock and Bushmills and a 27mile race at Garryduff/Lislagan.

With the semi finals of the World cup on the same night only 13 riders faced the clock at Dervock, This time trial is not an easy race and needs a strong heart and legs to get over it.

New Ballymoney CC rider and motorbike cross rider Ryan Fenton is improving with every race he rides. 2011 can be bright year for this classy and tough young man.

Final Results for 10mile TT

1st Jason Taggart (BCC) 25.17

2nd Niall O'Hagan (BCC) 25.46

3rd Stevie McAllister (BCC) 25.53

4th Nat Magee 26.17

5th Jerome McKendry 26.28

6th Nigel Elder 27.45

7th Dessie Dillon 28.09

8th Johnny Dillon 28.15

10th Ryan Fenton 28.37

10th Aaron Dickie 29.08

11th Sam Greer 30.11

Last Wednesday night at Lislagan BCC hosted a 27mile Road race that saw a massive club race field of 36 riders split into three bunches. East Tyrone CC came out in force along with Bann Valley, Ballymena RC, Harps CC and Island CC coming to Ballymoney to take part in our quality races and enjoy the high level of competition. Five and half laps of the tough and wearing down circuit at Garryduff. Scratch bunch of Chris Beattie who only a couple of weeks ago was mixing it in Sligo with Tour de France rider Nicholas Roche, Jason Henry, Stephen McNeilly, Bryan McKinney (BCC), Mark Sweeney and Gary Jeffers. This group knew it had a battle on its hands as Ballymoney riders Bateson, Taggart, O’Hagan, McKendry and classy schoolboy Craig Crawford forcing the pace and keeping the scratch bunch at bay, lap after lap passed and the roads around Garryduff saw excellent racing at this top level. With the front two groups together the massive bunch snaked towards the finish.

Niall O’Hagan, Jason Taggart, Olly Bateson and Jerome McKendry are serving a hard apprenticeship and showing their class as potentially great racing cyclists, all four were in the first 10 at the line with

Jason Taggart taking second from great young rider from East Tyrone Willy Young, 3rd went to Brian McComb, 4th Niall O’Hagan and 5th Gavin Corey. In 6th place and worthy of a mention in any write up was the talented and classy schoolboy Craig Crawford, Craig and young Aaron Swan just back from riding in the British Championships, details to follow in the next couple of weeks. Both lads are making club racing look easy and it is only a matter of time before the newspaper headlines feature these two every week.

Lislagan Road Race Result

1st Willy Young (ETCC)

2nd Jason Taggart (BCC)

3rd Brian McComb (ETCC)

4th Niall O’Hagan (BCC)

5th Gavin Corey (Harps)

6th Craig Crawford (U14 Schoolboy)

7th Liam O’Connor (BVCC)

8th Jerome McKendry (BCC)

9th Olly Bateson (BCC)

10th Ernie Magwood (ETCC)

Coming events

Ballymoney CC 25mile TT Barclay Trophy is on the Portrush Line this week starting on the north side of Revallagh cross at 7.00pm

This weekend Ballymoney CC riders Bryan McKinney and Steven McAllister are travelling to Portaferry to ride the 3 day event over four stages.

The popular Leisure/Intro to Cycling run again leaves Ballymoney on Saturday at 9.30am from Outdoor Life, everyone is welcome to join in this

Friendly and “pace of the slowest rider” group ride. As some of us are away it is important that as many experienced BCC members are there to assist the ones new to Cycling.