TWENTY-year-old Michael Thompson has been knocking on the door of a first race win all season.
He need wait no longer as he came in just ahead of Russell Callaghan in Bann Wheelers Dervock Road Race on Tuesday past.
Given the adverse weather conditions, a surprisingly large compliment of 24 cyclists lined up in three groups. The first containing Kay Hack, Ashley Moore, Davy Parke, Aaron Dickie, Richard Boyd and Colm McIlfatrick was given what appeared to be a generous six minute allowance over the twelve strong middle group with the scratch group containing Nigel Quigley, Ronnie Kidd, Sharman Crawford, Michael Thompson and Chris Beattie a further one and a half minutes back.
This fast course starts on the Castlecatt Road at the edge of Dervock, turns left at Derrykeighan, left again just before the old Safari Park onto the Lisconnan Road, back out onto the main Ballymoney/Dervock Road and uphill to the finishing line, five laps of a five mile circuit.
It was clear from the off that lots of work would be required to reel in the first group and after one lap only a minute had been gained. As the race progressed, Nigel Quigley in particular was instrumental in pulling the scratch group towards the middle one which was also working hard to reel in the first group. Until the occurrence of a couple of minor mishaps which resulted in Kay Hack and Ashley Moore left out on their own for the last two laps, it seemed the winner would come from it.
However, despite the valiant efforts of Kay and Ashley to stay away they were caught half way around the last lap and this made for a bunch sprint finish in which Michael Thompson just edged out Russell Callaghan with Chris Beattie and Nigel Quigley a close third and fourth respectively, followed by Adrian Madden fifth and Ulster Champ Robert Downes in sixth. Ballymoney visitors Gareth McBride and Olly Bateson were seventh and eighth respectively continuing their good form from the previous weeks Inter Club race in Stranocum.
The winner had proud parents Simone and James on hand to help him celebrate what will no doubt be his first of many victories in Bann Wheeler colours.
“I am delighted for Michael, but as with most wins you need a little bit of luck. Michael’s luck this time was that I punctured in the last lap and did not get in the sprint with him!” joked Thompson Senior.
This week’s Club event is a ten mile Time Trial on the Kilrea Road which is also a Handicap League Race Three (best four out of five races count in the Points League).