Close competition in scratch road race at Slaght.

Sunday, May 3, 2015
Ballymena Road Club Ė Chain Reaction Cycles Ė held a road race in their Northstone club race series last Wednesday evening 22nd April.

The race was switched to the Caddy circuit at short notice because of road works on the Ahoghill Ė Largy course.

Weather conditions were perfect for the event, warm and sunny and this encouraged thirty seven riders to line up at the start for the two lap scratch race. 

A group of four, who had broken clear on the first lap, were still slightly ahead as they approached the finish line and it was visiting rider Johnny Taylor (Carn Wheelers) who took the honours after 41 minutes 36 seconds racing. He was just one bikes length ahead of Connor Young with round one winner Ryan Bankhead another length behind. The race average was 25.6mph for the 17.7 miles.

Gerry McNally, who had been in the four rider breakaway group, held on to his position to lead in the pack for fourth place at 2 seconds.

Connor Young picked up a maximum points score, as first BRC rider, and he is now equal first in the Tommy Smyth cup, scratch league with Ryan Bankhead.

Connor gives his account of the race.

"Round two of the scratch league took place on the 18-mile course at Slaght and Caddy. The bunch rolled out and there was attacking from the get-go therefore I kept myself amongst the first five riders to stay out of trouble. The first serious attack came after a few miles from Gerry McNally (Bann Valley)

I didnít want to go with him because I wanted someone else to do the chasing, there was a period of jumping and moving around, Johnny Taylor (Carn Wheelers) moved to the front of the group and I knew that I had to follow him, Taylor attacked within a few minutes and I followed suit, Taylor went full gas for what seemed like forever, we soon caught McNally who was still out front.
Once we made contact we rode to get the gap, soon we were joined by Ryan Bankhead (who won the first round)

From the start of the race I knew I had to watch these guys and go with them, which I achieved. 
When we created the break, we each took turns on the front to further establish the gap - putting distance between the chasing group and us. The gap at one stage was out to 28 seconds, but coming into the finish the cat and mouse games started with all of us anticipating who would make the first move. 

I got lucky by managing to ride at the back and watch who would go first. Taylor went first and I went with him, with Ryan Bankhead to my right.

I managed to pass Bankhead coming to the line but only getting up to Taylors back wheel and coming in second.

It was a fast race but I enjoyed it. Iím looking forward to the last round of scratch league, on 13th May, to see how the situation with Ryan and me plays out. Hopefully it will be all fair racing with no bad luck or crashes.

Ryanís a very strong rider, so I canít take any chances but I will definitely give it everything". Added a delighted Connor.

(1) Johnny Taylor (Carn Wheelers) 
(2) Connor Young 
(3) Ryan Bankhead all 41 minutes 36 seconds 
(4) Gerry McNally (Bann Valley) at 2 seconds 
(5) David Dougan all same time 41.38 
(6) Shaun Byrne (Bann Valley) 
(7) Stephen Little 
(8) Quinton McFall 
(9) Richard Reid 
(10) Gary Reid 
(11) Sean Wright 
(12) Karl Taylor 
(13) Declan Butler (Michelin) 
(14) Joe McCrory (Carn Wheelers) 
(15) Dale Bonnar 
(16) Laura Blair 
(17) John Shaw 
(18) Eileen Burns 
(19) Alan Blair 
(20) Daryl Sempey 
(21) Adam Torrie 
(22) Mark Wright 
(23) John Dickey (Bann Valley) 
(24) Jon Hilditch 
(25) Adrian Kerr 
(26) Ryan Shaw 
(27) Matthew Brennan 
(28) Noel Bradley (Bann Valley) 
(29) Ryan McNeilly 
(30) Clifford Grant 
(31) Tommy Wilson 
(32) Nigel Kernohan 42.03 
(33) Stephen Smyth 47.03 
(34) Clare Gillespie 47.47                                                

Scratch league after round two of three.
Equal first Ryan Bankhead and Connor Young 19 points each 
(3) Stephen Little 13 points 
(4) Gary Reid 11 points 
(5) Richard Reid 10 points equal 
(6) Alan Blair and David Dougan 8 points each.