Club Dinner and Awards!

02 December 2011

Cyclists celebrate season’s success at Leighinmohr.

Ballymena Road Club – Northstone – cyclists had a big turnout of 112 club members, their partners, family and friends and special guests for their annual prize presentation dinner in Leighinmohr house hotel on Friday night.

Former club member and long -time supporter of the club – John Walker and his wife Florence – of the Country Garage were guests of honour and John was to distribute the club’s vast array of silverware.

The club’s out-going Chairman Andrew Wills was "master of ceremonies” Club vice President John Maxwell welcomed the guests who also included Keith Wood the sales director of the club’s main sponsors Northstone NI Ltd.

Other sponsors in attendance were from A Bonar and Co., JBE Building services and Blair International transport.

The club’s President Alan Mark and vice president Gordon Caldwell were also present, as were George and Joan Graham of Graham’s kitchens at Woodgreen, who kindly make their car parking facilities available for the club’s time trial events.

Shaun O’Neill, sports editor of the Ballymena Guardian and his counterpart – Stephen Alexander – of the Ballymena Times were also in attendance.

One of the biggest cheers of the night greeted Morris Foster MBE or "Big Mo” as he is better known as. For many decades Morris was Mr. Cycling in Northern Ireland and, as far as I know, he is the only NI cyclist to have received a Queen’s honour in recognition of his services to the sport. John Maxwell informed everyone that Morris had won the club’s first ever road race.

I checked the club’s results’  book and that event took place on 24th August 1955 and covered five laps of the Lisnamurrican circuit at Broughshane. Morris won the race in 63 minutes 50 seconds some 50 seconds clear of second placed Carson Conway with Fred Swann third at 51 seconds. A certain Sammy Kerr finished fourth also 51 seconds behind.

The club uses exactly the same course to this day with the 2011 winner, Philip Bremner, completing the distance in 63 minutes 02 seconds. Sammy Kerr didn’t ride in 2011 but amazingly he was a participant in 2010.

The distribution of prizes then took place and the main trophy winners were:

Youths: Adam Kerr, Emma Gordon, Josh Barr, Chris Surgeoner, Adam McCullough and Stefan Wills. Juniors: Stephen Carruthers and Connor Young.

Ladies: Louise Fullerton, Maeve Savage and Eileen McFarland.

Veterans: Bobby Currie.

Seniors: Steven Workman, Tommy Wilson, Peter Smyth, Alan Blair, Clifford Grant, Ryan Currie, Derek Dougan, Adrian Kerr, David Kennedy, Nigel Kernohan, Leo McCavana, Stephen Smyth, Matthew Brennan, John Maxwell, Tom Douds, Mark McCullough and Colin Scullion.

Steven Workman, who won the club’s time trial Best all Rounder championship, spoke on behalf of the prize winners and thanked all those who had helped organise the races during the season; timekeepers, judges, marshalls, lead car drivers, first-aiders, tea ladies and PSNI. Steven also thanked the local newspapers for their continued coverage and praised club secretary Hazel Hughes for the professional way which she had organised the prize night.

A special presentation was also made to Hazel Gordon who had timed all the youth events during the season.

John Walker thanked the club for their invitation and wished them continued success for 2012 and beyond.

Friendship cup.

The only trophy winner not revealed until the night of the dinner was the recipient of the "Friendship cup” as club member of the year. This season Sammy Connor has won this most coveted of trophies. Sammy has been a member of the club since the mid 1950’s and has filled many roles over the years. He is a former club chairman and has been on the timekeeping panel for many seasons. Sammy also helps out at the club’s two big open race promotions where he either marshalls or drives the lead car. He is still a driving force on the club’s "A” group and rarely misses a club run at the weekend. Sammy is also an experienced cycle mechanic and an expert wheel builder, indeed there are very few club members who haven’t visited Sammy’s workshop on the Straid road at Ahoghill to have their wheels built or repaired. Congratulations Sammy!