Armstrong wins Wallace Caldwell memorial road race for third time

13 April 2014
Ballymena Road Club – Chain Reaction cycles – had a full compliment of riders for their annual Wallace Caldwell memorial road race last Saturday.
The star of the show was Adam Armstrong (Northern) who was to win the event for a third time following his successes in 2008 and 2011.
After early morning rain the conditions improved and the riders set out in mainly dry, but very windy, conditions from Galgorm.
The attacks came quickly with a group of four riders ahead of the field by the top of Tully. Another seven reached the front on the descent and by Portglenone these eleven held a 25 seconds lead.
This lead increased to 44 seconds at Clady and at Gulladuff was 49 seconds. Ballymena rider Simon Taggart was halted here with a puncture.
The chasers stalled between Gulladuff and Maghera and this let the leaders increase their advantage to 1 minute 30 seconds at Maghera with 16 miles completed.
The leading eleven at this point were James McMaster (North Down) Marcus Christie (Sean Kelly team) John Madden and Conor McAllister (Dig Deep) Mark Buchanan (North Pole) Alex Donald and Fergus Rooney (Phoenix) John Neill (Madigan) Adam Armstrong (Northern) Marc Potts (Omagh) and Lawrence Watson (Foyle)
The next ten miles through Swatragh and on to Garvagh saw the riders battle with a fierce side wind. This played havoc, not only with the bunch, but also with the motor cycle marshalls who had great difficulty overtaking the group and getting to their next post. BRC juniors George Graham and Conor Crilly suffered most in the side winds and lost their place with the group.
After Garvagh Madden, Donald and Watson were dropped out of the break, while the leading eight pressed on and at the top of the climb to the Cam forest, with 34.5 miles completed, they led by 1 minute 50 seconds. Four miles later at Limavady their lead was 2 minutes 45 seconds.
Next was the climb of the Springwell, which saw Adam Armstrong make his move a grab a solo lead and go ahead of the break. At the same time Fergus Rooney dropped off the back.
Ronan McLaughlin (Dig Deep) and Cormac Clarke (Newry) took up the chase and caught Rooney on the descent of the Springwell and these three were then joined by Red Hand Trophy winner Fraser Duncan (Northern) Leo McAllister (Dig Deep) Ryan Reilly (Foyle) and Craig McAuley (Nicholas Roche PT) at the roundabout on the Garvagh road.
The race was far from over but, while there was still much to be sorted out for the minor placings, Adam Armstrong stuck to his task with perfect precision and continued to build up an unassailable lead.
At Tamlaght cross roads, on the Lisnahunshin road, with 7 miles to go to the finish, Armstrong’s lead was 2 minutes 25 seconds over Christie, McMaster and Buchanan.
But there was still more changes to come as Armstrong’s Northern team mate Fraser Duncan was to close the gap again and then cover the moves on the final run in to the Galgorm finish.
Armstrong won in 2 hours 57 minutes 13 seconds for the 74.3 miles race while Duncan, who had enjoyed a relatively easy ride, timed his final efforts to perfection to come through to take second place 2 minutes 35 seconds behind. Cormac Clarke was third and Marcus Christie fourth also at 2.35. James McMaster finished fifth at 3 minutes 16 seconds.
Once again Chris Beattie was the best BRC finisher. Chris took 34th place in a time of 3 hours 05 minutes 21 seconds, next was 36th William Loughridge 3.05.40 52nd Michael Carroll 3.13.25. (54) Ryan Shaw (60) Karl Taylor (62) Clifford Grant

Wallace Caldwell Memorial Result
(1) Adam Armstrong (Northern Dave Kane) 2.57.13 
(2) Fraser Duncan (Northern Dave Kane) 
(3) Cormac Clarke (Newry Wheelers) 
(4) Marcus Christie (An Post Sean Kelly) all at 2.35 
(5) James McMaster (North Down) at 3.16 
(6) Mark Buchanan (North Pole) 
(7) David Watson (North Down) 
(8) John Neill (Madigan) 
(9) Ryan Reilly (Foyle) 
(10) Craig McAuley (Nicholas Roche PT) 
(11) David Hamilton (Curran Racing) 
(12) Conor McAllister (Dig Deep Coaching)

Race secretary David Dougan thanks all those who helped with the race especially the PSNI escort team who deployed eight motorcycles on the event. There were another six "civilian” motorcycle marshalls as well as numerous static marshalls. Many thanks to all for their dedication, before, during and after the event. Also a special thanks to J and R keys tile shop, Castle Street and Ben Morrow of Woodsides chemists Church Street for their continued sponsorship of the event.

Click here for Cycling Ulster photos of the race
and additional photos can be found here courtesy of Marian Lamb and David McVeigh