The future of cycling at the Joey Dunlop Centre

BALLYMONEY Cycling Club’s Joan Trengove set the wheels rolling in what was and exciting day for local cycling on Saturday.

Over 60 children from as young as three turned up along with their parents to see what the local cycling club had in store for them.

On a bright but chilly Saturday morning, Joan along with her club mates had arranged small skill sessions where the children along with their bike and helmet were encouraged to navigate courses and use their accuracy to throw bean bags and balls through the Olympic circles.

For the members of Ballymoney Cycling Club it is encouraged and widely promoted by the club that the children, not only in the Ballymoney area but in all areas, are the future of the sport of cycling, and from these little acorns mighty oaks can grow.

Ballymoney Cycling Club want to lead the field in the development and encouraging of the youth for the future

With the main objective to encourage enjoyment and let the children have fun in a safe environment, the morning was a great success.

Leisure Secretary Chris Frew was on hand with his “Repair Tent” tools and bike stand, making sure that if there were any repairs needed, a rapid response would make sure the kids were back into the action fast.

With the racing boys not wanting to be left out, Ballymoney CC race secretary Aaron Dickie was there to see who the future Tour de France and Olympic medallists will be in the future.

It was an added bonus for the children to see what the top racing bikes are like, and the similar models seen on TV when some of the returning club riders called in and were on hand to speak to parents and answer questions prior to the start of the 2011 racing season.

It is felt by the members of Ballymoney Cycling Club that local children do not get using their bikes enough and with the ever present danger on our roads, the local club will again be holding a similar session on the 19th March at 10.30am at the Joey Dunlop Centre.

Return fixture of Kids Skills and Sprints Session takes place on 19th March at the Joey Dunlop Centre from 10.30am to noon.

Annaclone Travers Engineering/Phoenix Grand Prix

And so it all begins again for the 2011 cycling season.

The Travers Engineering Annaclone GP opened the Ulster Racing calendar for 2011 in style. With the winter sun belying the chill factor, out came the new teams, new kit and new bikes.

The beautiful morning allowed for an almost international Bike Show atmosphere as riders compared bikes, tested bike weights and carefully examined new wheels.

And in the background the hard working Banbridge men the promoting club were dealing with the unexpected safety issues as a container of molasses had spilt all over part of the course and they found themselves in a ‘sticky’ predicament.

However they soon had made changes to the course and elected to keep all the riders sweet by bringing them around the revised course on a neutralised lap to make them aware of any possible danger spots.

Ballymoney Cycling Club was represented by Niall O’Hagan and Jerome McKendry, both lads have entered their second year of racing and will just be finding their feet, or in their case wheels for a few races yet. Both of them were riding in the A4 category and as is expected of all BCC riders they finished the race and represented their club with pride and showed off the Toon’s colours in County Down.

The race was won by:

1. Shane Farren (North Down)

2. John Kernaghan (West Down Wheelers)

3. Neil McEvoy (Team Vision Racing)

Phoenix Grand Prix 2011

What a difference a day makes! All four seasons plus a few new ones made their usual appearance at Nutts Corner today for the start of the annual Phoenix Grand Prix promoted by Phoenix CC. Rain, hail, bitter winds, beautiful sunshine and more hail all decided to do battle on the nine mile circuit as full fields of riders lined up for the two main races of the day.

There were also many ‘virgin racers’ out there today gaining their first experience in an open event such as James McLean of East Antrim. The way some of these rode today I feel it will not be long before they are contenders so don’t say you have not been warned.

Ballymoney Cycling Club riders, Jason Taggart, Stevie McAllister, Niall O’Hagan, Bryan McKinney and Jerome McKendry were lined up along side Ulsters finest cyclists. The Ballymoney lads were looked after by local cycling legend Eddy McKinney. Eddy was doing service and passing on tips and tactics that he himself had used when he was one of Ireland’s top cyclists in the 70/80’s.

Jason, Niall and Jerome have the Phoenix Grand Prix below their belts and are raring to go next week at the Newry race.

All of the Ballymoney lads showed their winter preparation is going to allow them to push the boundaries this year and raise the profile of the Ballymoney Club further adding to the success of 2010.

The main event of the day was the A race of six laps which was handicapped with the A3’s given a short handicap back to scratch. There was a large group of A3’s who went from the gun. Ian Inglis of Curran Racing was one of the first to try and get away and opened up a clear gap in the first lap before being reeled in.

The A2 group while smaller included some fast young riders such as Jack Wilson (East Antrim Audi) and Padraic McCafferty (Four Masters) while the likes of Paul Kane (Northern Dave Kane) and Liam Curran and John Madden (Curran Racing) are always strong and worth watching. Back on the scene also was Stuart Bennett of Phoenix.

However by the second lap the strong group of A1’s had made serious inroads and had already caught the bunch in front leaving only a few A3’s out the front. Conor Murphy (Eurocycles) was like a steam train driving things along. Murphy continued to pile on the pressure and powered his way through the groups with only John Madden of Curran Racing able to stay with him.

At the line the local veteran rider Madden was narrowly beaten into second place by the semi pro rider from County Monaghan, Conor Murphy.

Ballymoney CC riders Bryan McKinney who finished in the top 20 and Steven McAllister can put this first race down to great experience and successful progression as McAllister last year was dropped and Bryan just managed to hold onto the group in the A4 race. Both lads showed that the step up to A3 is a natural progression.

Upcoming events

Next Sunday Newry Wheelers are running the John Haldane race on the Warrenpoint - Newry dual carriageway, This race was won last year by Ballymoney rider Jason Henry. No doubt Jason will be returning to defend his title.

Ballymoney Cycling Club meeting

BCC will be holding their monthly club meeting at Sketcher’s in Bendooragh at 7.30pm, all members are invited to attend as it is the final meeting before the start of the 2011 club race. .season.