It was another successful weekend for Banbridge CC’s road competitors. On Saturday Gareth McKee, James Curry, Mark Downey & Simon Curry all made their way to Ballymena for the Wallace Caldwell which would also host the 2nd round of the of the Cycling Ireland National Series. The Wallace Caldwell has always been known as tough race but with the addition of the National Series presence the level of competition was always going to be elevated.
From early on in the race the yellow jerseys were well to the fore and none more so than Gareth McKee who was active in a number of breakaway attempts. While initially these proved unsuccessful, a brave move with Dundalk strongman, Bryan McCrystal of Team ASEA seen a significant gap appear with the time checks confirming an increasing lead. Spotting the danger a group of chasers formed – this included another Banbridge rider, Mark Downey, in only his 2nd race of the season as well as Banbridge man Roger Aiken, also riding in the colours of Team ASEA in 2015. Making the juncture before the main climbs of the day at the Cam Forest and Springwell this new lead group of 12 riders looked like it would be the move of the day as the lead increased to almost 1 minute. Attempts were made by James Curry on the assent of Cam Forest, and while he did gain an advantage over the main bunch the horsepower up front was too much to match and he would ultimately remain in the holds of the peloton alongside his father and team mate Simon.
By the time the race had reached the home leg it was the dominant blue jerseys of Team ASEA who were calling the shots with a new lead group of 4 containing McCrystal, Aiken, Fraser Duncan also of ASEA and Chris McGlinchey of Chain Reaction Cycles. McGlinchey showing the form which brought him victory in the Banbridge CC promoted Travers Engineering Annaclone GP A4 event in February. Team work won the day however with ASEA impressively claiming the top 3 places with McCrystal and Duncan finishing just ahead of Roger Aiken. The remainder of the chase group came in shortly after and feeling every inch of the gruelling 78 mile race. The Banbridge lads will be pleased to have had a good showing only a fortnight ahead of the Tour of the North where McKee, Downey, and James Curry are due to be joined by Cameron McIntyre and guest rider Lindsay Watson.
On Sunday the Masters and Ladies races proved fruitful at the Carn Classic in Maghera for Banbridge CC with first year junior Shenna McKiverigan claiming a fantastic victory in the ladies category and showing her track legs could transfer with great affect to the road. With Brian Hannon leading the Ulster Master’s League both he and Phil Beattie were determined to maintain the high placing they had achieved so far and in the bunch gallop for the line it was Beattie who led Hannon home in a very solid 5th and 6th position. Banbridge CC were also represented in the A3 race by Daniel Purdy and Nathan Sturrock.
Photos above from the Carn Classic courtesy of Bronagh Kirk