Top 10 finish for Bankhead at Ards while Eileen wins at Feeney

15 March 2015
There was some success for Ballymena Road Club – Chain Reaction Cycles – riders last weekend with Ryan Bankhead finishing ninth in the Tour of the Ards peninsula road race and Eileen Burns winning the women’s race at the "Danny Boy” events promoted by Roe Valley cycling club at Feeney. Martin Ruddy finished tenth in the over 50’s "masters” race at Feeney.
Ryan Bankhead gives his account of the Tour of Ards race.
"The Tour of Ards saw one of the strongest fields for some time. It included defending champion Frazer Duncan with his new team "Team ASEA" which is without doubt one of the strongest outfits in Ireland. 
The race itself started well for me, I'd decided to man mark Dave Watson who himself is on great form. All was going well until 30 minutes into the race when I had a touch of wheels with Frazer Duncan, resulting in me breaking a front spoke. A solid wheel change by neutral service had me up and running but facing a hard chase back on as, with the race all still together, I knew the task was going to be difficult. After 20 minutes of hard chasing I made contact with the back of the bunch. I made my way through the bunch to find the break had gone. Dave Watson was in it; my game plan would have been spot on!
Six riders escaped who included Damien Shaw, Dave Watson, Craig McAuley, Mark McKinley, Sean Featherstone and Ali Macauley. 
In the run into the finish Shaw left the break in pursuit of a solo victory. Dave Watson led the rest of the break in for second with Craig McAuley taking an excellent third. This still left me with a chance of seventh place, but my earlier chase meant the legs were starting to feel the fast 26.3mph average. The final few miles saw attack after attack but I followed the wheels then kicked for the finish, I ended up third over the line in what was left of the bunch. This gave me ninth overall and FIRST A3 rider. All in all it was a good day considering my earlier mishap. It was a good day too for BRC with strong performances from all its riders, Hall Booth, Matthew Brennan, Clifford Grant and Karl Taylor. Roll on the Wallace Caldwell!” concluded Ryan. 

Hall Booth, another of the five Ballymena entrants, said "The racing was fast and furious from the start with Team Asea setting the pace. Ten miles in Ryan Bankhead lost spokes in his front wheel after Frazer Duncan came across him.
He had a hard, but successful chase, to regain the bunch after the wheel change. The winning move clipped off up the road after 25 miles and they were to stay away with Damien Shaw then attacking the break to win clear by a big margin. The pace in the last 10 miles never went below 30 mph and the bunch had the break in their sights at the finish. All the BRC riders finished in the group which was sprinting for seventh with Ryan Bankhead placing. The race was 65 miles and ran off at a fast 26.3 average.”

Tour of Ards result

(1) Damian Shaw (Team ASEA) 
(2) David Watson (North Down) 
(3) Craig McAuley (Roe Valley) 
(4) Mark McKinley (Newry Wheelers) 
(5) Sean Featherstone (Newry Wheelers) 
(6) Alistair Macauley (Team ASEA) 
(7) Brian Stewart (Phoenix) 
(8) Jake Gray (NRPT) 
(9) Ryan Bankhead (Ballymena Road Club Chain Reaction Cycles) 
(10) Roger Aiken (Team ASEA)

Danny Boy Women’s Race Results
(1) Eileen Burns (Ballymena RC) 
(2) Jane Millar (Bann Wheelers)
(3) Trudy Brown (VC Glendale) 
(4) Karen Hull (Phoenix) 
(5) Claire McIlwaine (Phoenix) 
(6) Mairead McGurk (Carn Wheelers)