Wallace Caldwell Memorial Report

31 July 2013
Saturday’s Wallace Caldwell memorial road race was judged to be a resounding success by all involved.
The Ballymena Road Club – Chain Reaction Cycles –  organising committee were in danger of losing the race this season following its cancellation earlier in the year but the "course clash” with the Blair International Transport, Red Hand Trophy and the Armoy motor cycle races meant Saturday’s date became available for the Caldwell.
Sixty seven riders started the event and immediately it was flat out speed.
Matthew Brennan for BRC along with Mike Millar Mark Dowling and Colm Quinn broke clear early on between Ahoghill and Tully and at Portglenone they held a 30 seconds advantage. However they were reeled in before Gulladuff.
The high speed was to continue with 26.8 miles being covered in the first hour’s racing.
After Garvagh, on the road to Ringsend, the first of the climbs took their toll and a few riders started to suffer.
By Bolerin four riders had gone ahead and led by 1 minute 12 seconds. Mark Dowling was there again along with Fraser Duncan, Alastair McAuley and Connor McConvey.
At the top of the Cam forest climb they led by 1 minute 14 seconds over a chasing group of 14 riders with the main field at 2 minutes.
At Limavady, with 38 miles covered, their lead had gone out to 1minute 43 seconds, over three chasers, with the bunch at 2 minutes 10 seconds.
The next challenge was the climb towards the Springwell forest and this really took its toll on the bunch, which fragmented into several smaller groups and numerous individual riders.
Thomas Martin, Brian McCrystal, and Connor Murphy bridged the gap to the leaders by Kilrea although, by then, Fraser Duncan and also Alastair McAuley had lost their place at the front.
This group of five leaders maintained their advantage along the Lisnahunshin road to Killyless and down the Ballyconnolly road and on to the finish at Fenaghy road at Galgorm.
Thomas Martin (Eurocycles) was first over the line in 2 hours 54 minutes 15 seconds for the 74 miles event.
(2) Brian McCrystal (Cuchullain) (3) Connor Murphy (Eurocycles) (4) Mark Dowling (Polygon) (5) Connor McConvey ( Baku ) all same time 2.54.15 (6) James McMaster (Curran) at 1 minute 50 seconds (7) Gary Cranston (East Antrim) (8) Mike Millar ( Phoenix ) (9) Alastair McAuley ( Phoenix ) all same time (10) Jason Henry (unattached) at 5 minutes 18 seconds. (11) Damien McDonald (TVR) (12) Noel Collins ( Caldwell cycles) same time.
Chris Beattie was the best finisher for BRC in twentieth place (28) Matthew Brennan (29) Simon Taggart; all three came in with the main pack 6 minutes 57 seconds behind the winner.
Ryan Currie and Nigel Kernohan also completed the race 14 minutes 05 seconds behind.
Spare a though for BRC’s evergreen veteran Michael Carroll who was the unluckiest rider in the race. Michael’s chain broke in the neutralised section on the Galgorm road just outside the bus station. At least he didn’t have far to go to get a lift home.
Well done once again to Hugh McCullough and his organising team. The static marshalling was excellent and this, combined with a team of nine motor cycle marshalls and the PSNI outriders made the race as safe as possible for the riders. Thankfully the first aiders – Joan McCullough and Vikki Woodrow weren’t required but they were on standby if needed. The post-race refreshments were very welcome and again thanks go to Mary Mark, Sadie Connor and their team of helpers. Many thanks to all involved with the event.