Duncan retains Red Hand Trophy as Brennan is best for BRC.

31 May 2015
Ballymena Road Club – Chain Reaction Cycles – were the promoters of last Saturday’s Red Hand Trophy road race, which again saw all of the Province’s top stars in action over the North Antrim glens and Coast road course.
The race was to result in Bangor man Fraser Duncan (Team Asea) winning  the prestigious trophy for a second successive season at Broughshane, where he was best in a four man sprint to the line, after the hilly 65 miles race. Daniel Stewart (Phoenix) was second with Craig McAuley (Caldwell Cycles) third and Ali McAuley (Team Asea) fourth.
Despite poor weather prior to Saturday, the conditions were favourable for the race. Seventy five started and as soon as the flag was dropped riders were jostling for an early lead. After the first climb, approaching and through Clough, a three man group broke away from the main field. They consisted of John Madden (Dig Deep Coaching) Daniel Stewart and Ali McAuley. They stayed ahead all the way to Ballycastle and up the Ballypatrick forest climb and past the Vanishing Lake and on through Cushendall and around the coast road to Carnlough.
Several groups formed behind the leaders but Fraser Duncan (Team Asea) and Craig McAuley (Caldwell Cycle) were to break away from the main field to catch the front riders coming into Carnlough. Once Fraser and Craig caught the leaders the pace went up instantly and John Madden struggled to stay with the group on the climb. Each of the leading riders attacked for position as they approached Broughshane, but it was Fraser Duncan who was strongest on the day and he took the win.
There was some great riding by the first four riders home, as well as veteran John Madden, who was in the first three until up out of Carnlough glen. Congratulations to Fraser for winning and a big mention for Matthew Brennan who was best for Ballymena just 2 minutes 10 seconds behind in fifteenth place; he also won the A3 category prize and the Billy Kerr memorial trophy as first BRC rider. 
Afterwards Matthew said "The race started fast and I felt pretty good. I bridged across to the initial breakaway up into Clough, but we were caught before the top. I paid for it and was hurting for a few miles afterwards, which is when the first breakaway went clear. The pace was fast the whole way until about 5 miles from Ballycastle, where it eased slightly and I just attacked. After a minute or two a few more came across. Eventually we got a good group going and by the climb up Vanishing Lakes I knew we were away for the day. However, round the coast everyone stopped working and it was then just attack after attack. I felt a cramp was coming and at about halfway up the glen from Carnlough I cramped big time. I was happy to see a few others also dropping out of the breakaway and managed to grit my teeth and hold their wheels to the top. Then it was just a case of getting home before the bunch caught us, which we managed. I was pretty happy with how I did overall.” 
On a less pleasant note Clifford Grant crashed during the race and has injuries which will keep him off the bike for a week or two. Everyone involved with the race and at the club wishes Clifford a speedy recovery. 
Red Hand Trophy 2015 Results
1                   Fraser Duncan         ASEA      02:27:54
2                   Daniel Stewart        Phoenix 
3                   Craig McAuley         Caldwell Cycles                           
4                   Allie McAuley          ASEA all same time                                         
5                   Glen Kinning            Kinning Cycles at 44 seconds
6                   David Watson          North Down at 45 seconds
7                   Jake Grey                  NRPT                                                     
8                   Marc Heaney           Carn                                                         
9                   Angus Fyffe              Omagh                                 
10                 Darnell Moore         Caldwell Cycles                        
11                 John Madden          Inspired Cycling                       
12                 Ryan Reilly                AC Bisontone                        
13                 Derek Finnegan      Keevan CC   all at 45 seconds
14                 Craig Rea     Phoenix at 2 minutes 10 seconds
15                 Matthew Brennan Ballymena R C also at 2.10     

Nigel Kernohan was race organiser on the day and once again he did a terrific job. Nigel said "Many thanks to everyone who gave so generously of their time to make the race such a success. There were motor cycle marshals as well as official cars and static marshals. Many thanks to the commissaires and time keepers for doing a splendid job officiating at the Red Hand not to mention all the volunteers including the PSNI who made it a success, and also to the Club’s race secretary David Dougan for all his pre-event planning.
The PSNI had a team of motor cyclists who safely escorted the riders throughout the event. Thanks to goes to the drivers of the lead cars, marshals cars, Commissaires cars, first aid, neutral service, broom wagon, car park attendants and to club sponsors Chain Reaction Cycles. Well done to Andrew Wills and team who compiled the results and of course to the ladies who provided the post-race refreshments We had just one incident with Ballymena Road Club Chain Reaction Cycles rider Clifford Grant crashing. Thankfully he is home resting but he has broken ribs, shoulder and elbow. We wish Clifford a speedy recovery.” Added Nigel