In 1993 Banbridge CC cyclist Tommy Evans became the first Irish cyclist to break the 20 minute barrier for 10 miles in the individual time trial event. He did it on home roads, on the A1 dual carriageway from Banbridge to Dromore and back and on a night when he was testing out a 98 inch fixed gear. He was due to ride a 95 inch gear that evening, as instructed by his coach Gerry Beggs, and as part of the build up to his scheduled attempt at a 30mph average speed for 10 miles a month later, but Tommy was keen to try out the 98 inches ahead of schedule. The young Banbridge man got on top of the 98 inches at his first attempt and posted a time of 19:59 to enter the record books forever.
They say records are made to be broken however, and indeed Tommy went on to post a quicker time himself 10 years later in his cycling career when he was riding for the Total Cycling-Ford Team, breaking David McCann’s 2001 time by 15 seconds with a new Irish National Record of 19.23.
No Banbridge CC rider manged to better Evans’ record breaking time of 19:59, leaving it standing as a club record for 28 years. That changed this week when Erwin McKee reached his ambition for the season to also break the 20 minute barrier. He came agonisingly close, just weeks ago, when he recorded 20:00 dead at a Newry Wheelers promoted TT event in Warrenpoint, however it was the relatively new Frosses Rd course that would be the venue for his record breaking ride.
As part of a strong contingent of Banbridge CC riders who have become regular participants of the very popular Ernie Magwood ‘Super 6’ Time Trial League, Erwin recorded a staggering 19:27 to smash the long standing Banbridge CC record. Like Evans, McKee had specifically targeted the 10m TT event as his goal for the year. While Evans bettered his target ahead of his scheduled date, McKee bettered his by taking half a minute off his target time.
Congratulations must be paid to both Erwin and Tommy, for two fantastic record breaking rides. It’s a testament to Tommy’s ride that it has taken 28 years for a fellow Banbridge CC member to better, and it’s full credit to Erwin for committing himself to achieve and surpass his target.