Dundalk rider McCrystal wins Wallace Caldwell memorial road race

22 March 2015
Ballymena Road Club – Chain Reaction Cycles – promoted their annual Wallace Caldwell memorial road race at Galgorm on Saturday.
A full field of 80 riders headed out from Rex Bonar house on Railway Street and they were neutralised to the race start at Gracehill and Galgorm bridge where they were to finish 78 miles and approx 3 hours later.
This was also the first of the National League events to be held in Ulster so there were also vital points at stake.
The field stayed fairly well together until Portglenone but then the attacks began with dominant force Team ASEA showing aggressive riding. 
Last year’s runner up Fraser Duncan (Asea) was in all the early moves and he was in a three rider group which led by 12 seconds at Gulladuff.
This lead was 28 seconds at Maghera. At Swatragh, with 22 miles covered, the leading group was twelve strong, they had a 50 seconds lead and included – Fraser Duncan, Roger Aiken, Brian McCrystal (all Asea) John Madden (Dig Deep) Johnny Taylor (Carn) Mark Downey and Gareth McKee (both Banbridge) Des Woods (Newry) Chris McGlinchey (Chain Reaction) Glen Kinning (Kinning Cycles) Jody Wright (Phoenix) and Craig McAuley (Roe Valley)
The leaders reached Garvagh in one hour having covered 26.8 miles in those 60 minutes. Their advantage hovered between 50 seconds and one minute as the race progressed to Ringsend 
They maintained this gap on the climb to the Cam forest and after the descent to Limavady their lead was 65 seconds as they turned right on to the A37 Broad road. (38.3 miles)
The next challenge was the climb to the Springwell forest and this was to once again prove decisive as the break was to splinter.
First to drop back was Wright with Taylor, Madden and Woods next to go.
At the front Duncan, Aiken, McGlinchey and Craig McAuley led by 17 seconds over the top of the climb. Next were Mark Downey and Brian McCrystal and then Kinning and McKee at 38 seconds.
Downey tried hard to get back on terms and he effectively towed McCrystal back up to the front four.  
The chasing group was never far behind and they were to sweep up Kinning and McKee by Aghadowey where, with two hours on the stop watch, the race had completed 52.4 miles.
Duncan and McCrystal then attacked and drew clear and quickly built up a sizeable advantage as Downey and McGlinchey were unable to react.
They stayed ahead over the final miles through Kilrea and in the Townhill road to Portglenone where the race passed the graveyard where Wallace Caldwell was laid to rest.  
Coming into the finish at Galgorm bridge it was Bryan McCrystal who took the uncontested sprint from Fraser Duncan. (unofficial winners time 2 hours 56 minutes 10 seconds)They were followed in by a small group with Roger Aiken taking third ahead of Chris McGlinchey and Ali Macauley (Asea)
Chris Reilly of ASEA was placed sixth giving his team five placings in the top six. Former Caldwell winner Ryan Sherlock had to be content with seventh while Stephen Harkens (Madigan), Angus Fyffe (Omagh) and David Watson (North Down) completed the top ten.
Cathal Clarke crossed the line in 30th place which was good enough to get him the Junior Prize.
The A2 prize went to Harkens while Omagh’s Darrell Moore was first A3.
Ballymena Road Club’s best finisher was Ryan Bankhead who was 31st. next BRC was (41) Michael Carroll and (50) Matthew Brennan all at 8 minutes 50 seconds. Clifford Grant and Hall Booth also finished.
In my opinion the performance of the day was that of Chris McGlinchey who started the season a few weeks ago as an A4 rider. His progress has been meteoric and he has won three times already.
The fact that he was in the break all day and was able to finish fourth despite the team tactics of Asea speaks volumes for his talent. I believe Chris is to be a guest rider on the Ballymena Road Club team at the Easter tour of the north stage race.
There was the usual great spread of food and good hospitality back at the Ballymena club rooms so many thanks to  Mary, Carol, Hazel and Sadie. Thanks also to Joan McCullough on first aid. Unfortunately her services were required as a crash occurred within half a mile of the finish line. One rider was taken to hospital and we hope that his injuries are not serious.
Thanks also the PSNI and the excellent service they provided ably backed by the civilian motorbike marshalls Sean Wright, Raymond Brownfield, Peter Cuthbert and Eamon Burns. 
As this was a National League event Frank Gibson was there with the Cycling Ireland photofinish equipment so thanks to him and Andrew Wills for the results.
David Dougan and his assistant race secretary Nigel Kernohan are to be congratulated for their efforts in making this event such a success.
They would be the first to acknowledge the help of a small army of  at least 30 Ballymena RC members and associate members and even a few former members and those from the Michelin cycling club who gave generously of their time to make it all work so well.
Results Wallace Caldwell National League Round 2
1.Bryan McCrystal (ASEA) 
2.Fraser Duncan (ASEA)
3.Roger Aiken (ASEA)
4.Chris McGlinchey (Chain Reaction Cycles)
5.Alistair Macauley (ASEA)
6.Christopher Reilly (ASEA)
7.Ryan Sherlock (U/A)
8.Stephen Harkens (Madigan)
9.Angus Fyffe (Omagh Wheelers)
10.David Watson (North Down)
11.David Hamilton (North Down)
12.Chris Gilmore (Madigan)
13.Gareth McCullough (Newry Wheelers)
14.Jonny Taylor (Carn Wheelers)
15.Jody Wright (Phoenix)
16.Darnell Moore (Caldwell Cycles)
17.John Madden (Dig Deep)
18.Thomas Martin (Caldwell Cycles)
19.Sean Featherstone (Newry Wheelers)
20.Des Woods Newry Wheelers)