Bankhead Sprints for Ballymena Win!

15 May 2012

Ballymena Road Club – Chain Reaction Cycles – hosted last Wednesday evening’s opening round of the 2012 Inter-Club road racing league series on the Caddy circuit.

There are six clubs in this year’s series with the Ballymena hosts being joined by a full quota of riders from Ballymoney, Bann Wheelers, Spires, Carn Wheelers and Bann Valley. Each club had thirteen entrants and this gave a maximum field of 78 riders for the event.

They were set off from Slaght corner in four groups with zero, 3 minutes, 4 minutes and 5 minutes 30 seconds handicaps.

Groups one and two came together as they turned on to Caddy road on lap two. At the same point groups three and four also merged.

At the start of the third and final lap there was a gap of 25 seconds between these two big bunches and the scene was set for an exciting final 8 miles of racing.

The gap was closing all the time as the race continued on the Whiteside’s road but it wasn’t until Mucklerammer, with 21 miles completed and just five to go, that the scratch men, including Bankhead, finally reached the front of the field.

A few riders lost their place in the group on the final, flat out, stretch in the Caddy road but there was still a huge, fifty strong bunch, bearing down on the finish.

Ballymena Road Club’s comeback rider Ryan Bankhead emerged from the sprinting pack to take the honours in decisive style. After the race he was quick to acknowledge the help of a few of his club mates. "Simon Taggart attacked approaching the finish on a couple of the small hills. Whenever he was caught Ryan Currie hit the front and I was tight on his wheel. Ryan gave it all he had and then I came past him near the line to continue my sprint. I’m pleased to have won”

Bankhead was right to be pleased with his finishing sprint as he beat fast finisher Stephen McAllister who won last month’s Bann Valley classic and was upgraded to first category as a result. Most of McAllister’s points were earned by virtue of his ability as a sprinter.

Ballymena’s Chris Beattie finished third at 4 seconds making it a memorable night for the BRC club.

The rest of the top twelve reads (4) Jason Taggart (Ballymoney) (5) Paddy Kelly (Carn Wheelers) (6) Stephen Logan (Bann Wheelers) (7) Cathal Doyle (Carn) (8) Michael Thompson (Bann Wheelers) (9) Dean McIlfatrick (Bann Valley) (10) Trevor Averill (Carn) (11) Paddy Dougan (Carn) (12)Barry Russell (Carn) other BRC finishers were (15) Quinton McFall at 8 seconds (18) Mark McCullough (27) Derek Dougan (28) Brian Geddis all at 8 seconds (36) Nigel Kernohan at 14 seconds (37) Martin Ruddy at 16 seconds (42) Ryan Currie at 24 seconds (44) Simon Taggart at 28 seconds (45) Hall Booth (46) Karl Taylor (47) Conor Young all at 28 seconds (48) Tommy Wilson at 30 seconds.

Ladies result (1) K Donnelly (Spires) (2) Maeve Savage (Ballymena RC) (3) Bett Anne O’Kane (Carn)