Blair International Transport Red Hand Trophy road race has a full entry

03 March 2014
The countdown is on for this year’s Blair International Transport Red Hand Trophy road race which takes place in less than three weeks’ time on Saturday 15th March.
Interest in this year’s Ballymena Road Club – Chain Reaction Cycles – promoted event has been unprecedented.
The "Rider HQ” on-line entry system is being used by the club for the first time and it has worked a treat. Entries opened at 7pm on Friday 21st February and almost immediately the event sold out. On Sunday night the eight rider reserve list had also filled up.
This is in marked contrast to the 2013 event which, eventually, had to be cancelled due to receiving just 38 entries.
The initial date allocated to the Red Hand in 2013 clashed with the Armoy motor cycle road races and then the late season alternative date of 24th August, was to come just too late for many riders who had already finished their racing season.
This year’s event will see the riders assemble at the club’s Rex Bonar House club rooms on Railway Street, from where they will move out at approx. 10.45am.
The neutralised ride out takes them through the centre of the town along Bridge Street, North Road, Ballymoney Road, Parkway and Cushendall road before the racing starts at the flyover, after negotiating the Cushendall road roundabout.
Then it’s out the main Cushendall road to McGregor’s corner at Rathkenny where a left turn brings the race back on to its traditional route. The first climb of the event takes the riders into Clough before heading on for Loughguille and Armoy.
Then it’s down Glenshesk to Ballycastle before the climb to Ballyvoy and on up the hill to Ballypatrick forest and on past the Vanishing Lakes.
A fast descent then follows which takes the riders over the Glendun viaduct and on to Cushendall.
Then it’s around the coast road to Carnlough before the final climb up Glencloy and on in through the Braid to the finish back at Broughshane, where the leaders are expected at approximately 1.25pm
Alan Blair’s generous sponsorship ensures a prize list of over £600 with prizes for the first six as well as the "unplaced” second and third category seniors and a junior award.
In addition to these there are also prizes for the first three Ballymena RC riders who don’t pick up a prize in the main list.
As usual a big team of marshals are required to run the race. Please make yourself available to the race organiser, David Dougan, if you are able to assist.
The last year the race was held was in 2012 when Adam Armstrong (Eurocycles) won the race by 7 seconds from Simon Williams (Curran) after 2 hours 28 minutes 31 seconds. Conor McAllister (Chain Reaction) took third place at 2 minutes 31 seconds.
This was an impressive time by the winner especially when the 2012 race had to divert up the Tower road at Garron point. Armstrong was delighted to have finally won the Red Hand Trophy which was one of the few major classic races he hadn’t mastered. Ballymena Road Club’s best finisher was Simon Taggart in tenth place.