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Alan Towell: In Memory of a Lifetime in Cycling

The members of Banbridge Cycling Club are saddened and in shock at the loss of their close friend, club mate and stalwart of the club Alan Towell who passed away suddenly on Sunday.

Alan, who joined Banbridge Cycling Club in 1973 as a schoolboy cyclist, remained at the heart of the club and local cycling scene as an active volunteer for over 40 years.  His passing will come as a shock to many local cyclists and supporters who are used to seeing Alan organising weekly local events and assisting with national cycling events as Chief Marshal and Safety Officer.

Alan (3rd Right), joined by team mates Gerry Beggs, Billy Maxwell & Seamus Downey.

As a cyclist Alan competed for the club until 1987. During those years he held the titles of Ulster Junior Road Race Champion and represented Northern Ireland at the International Junior Tour of Ireland.  As a senior rider he was ranked top 10 best all-rounder in NI, and again represented NI internationally as a senior, fulfilling the potential shown as one of the provinces top junior riders.  Among Alan’s most cherished highlights as a rider was his contribution as part of the winning Banbridge CC team at the 1982 NI Road Race Championships alongside Olympians Seamus Downey, Noel Teggart and Commonwelath Games cyclist David McCall, perhaps a sign of his enthusiasm and commitment to assisting his fellow club and teammates.

As a volunteer Alan followed on in the footsteps of his late father, Ivan Towell, a renowned volunteer for Banbridge CC and also the Northern Ireland Cycling Federation as an Executive member. As a teenager Alan assisted his father with the running of local races; preparing rider race packs, course preparation and marshaling.

Racing became the focus over next few years for Alan as a junior and young senior competitor.  It was during these racing years that Alan became the ‘go-to’ man within the racing team, providing transport to and from events, insisting the team travel together as a unit.  This led onto Alan taking on the mantel as Team Manager on key events for the club such as the Tour of Ulster international stage race where he would look after and manage the riders.

Alan also became involved with the Cooperation Ireland Maracycle from its inception in 1984, carrying out various duties including marshaling, managing feed stations and mechanical assistance for participants. He continued in this capacity for the duration of the event, being run until its final promotion in 2015.  

In recognition for his length of service to the event Alan was selected as part of a delegation panel in 2013 to represent the Event Organisation to meet with the HRH Queen Elizabeth & the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins.

Alan briefs his team of marshals , outriders and drivers ahead of the 2018 Noel Memorial, a race held in memory a his late club & racing team mate

Alan once again became heavily involved with assisting Banbridge CC promotions in 2008, quickly becoming a key resource for the club, and taking the lead as Club Event Race Secretary; responsible for the running and management of the weekly club league races – a role he fulfilled until 2018 when he also formed part of an organising committee for an interclub venture, bringing together local Banbridge based cycling clubs to promote a hugely successful interclub league which has attracted hundreds of competitors from the local area.  Alongside the already demanding role of Club Event Race Secretary, Alan also became a key member of the Open Race Committee in 2010.

Alongside Pedar McGreevy, Alan leads out a group of local novice cyclists

In recognition for his ongoing services and contribution to Banbridge Cycling Club Alan was awarded the Belmont Cup as Club Person of the Year in 2015, and was due to receive a further award from Armagh, Banbridge & Craigavon Council’s Sports Awards next month in recognition for his lifetime’s services to sport.

Banbridge CC members wish to convey their deepest sympathy to Alan’s dearest wife Angela, loving Daughters Felicity & Christina and the wider Towell family.

A funeral service will take place on Wednesday, 30th January, at 2pm in Bann Rd Presbyterian Church, Dromore followed by interment at Dromore New Cemetery, Mound Rd, Dromore.

Refreshments will be served in the Church hall following the service where everyone will be made welcome.

Friends are welcome to call at the family home tonight (Monday) and Tuesday.

2019 Travers Eng. Annaclone GP; Event details and entry info.

A direct link to the pre-entry can be accessed here.

On the opening day of the Irish road racing season, Banbridge CC will once again promote the Travers Engineering Annaclone GP.  Taking place on Saturday 2nd March, pre-entry will open on Tuesday 12th February.

Two races will be on offer for competitors; a handicapped race catering for A1, A2 and A3 categories and a mass start A4 support race.

The ‘A’ race for A1, 2 & 3’s will be 6 laps of the traditional circuit for a total race distance of approx. 50 miles / 80 km, with the winner being awarded the Eddie Sands Memorial Cup.  The ‘B’ race for A4 men and A3/A4 women will cover 5 laps of the same course giving a total distance of approx. 40 miles / 65 km.  Please note ‘A3’ women have the choice to enter either the ‘A’ or ‘B’ race.  Both races will be restricted to a maximum of 80 riders.

Details of the circuit can be found here.

In addition to the Eddie Sands Memorial Cup for the winner of the ‘A’ race, we are delighted to announce the introduction of the Travers Cup for the winner of the ‘B’ race.  Sean Travers has been a long-time supporter and sponsor of Banbridge Cycling Club and the Annaclone GP and we are delighted to add a winner’s cup in his name to this popular event.

Entry will be via the Cycling Ireland online Azolve pre-entry system at a cost of £15 per adult rider & £10 for junior riders.  A link to the pre-entry will be made available both on the Banbridge CC website and Cycling Ireland on Monday 11th Feb.

Entry on the day, subject to availability, will be £20 per rider.

Generous cash prizes have been reserved for the top 8 finishers in the A race and top 6 in the B race which will also have a prize for 1st woman.

For the ‘A’ race we will be reserving 35 places for A1 & A2 category riders for a limited time until 12noon on Monday 18th February, after which all places will be open to all category riders (A1, A2 & A3).  The ‘B’ race will be open to A4 men and A3/A4 women only.  Entry for both races will close at midnight on Wednesday 28th February.  A reserve list will be operated for both events in the scenario of all places being filled.

Both races will start at mid-day, with a roll out from the Event HQ in Annaclone GAA Club at 11:40am.

A valid racing licence is required for all entrants - no exceptions. 

Event Director:  Aaron Wallace - aarwallace@gmail.com / +44 (0) 7713 147 968

 

Banbridge Cycling Club Award's Night 2018

Banbridge Cycling Club held its annual Awards Night at the Belmont Hotel on Friday 2 November 2018. We were delighted to have as guest of honour Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough’s Lord Mayor Julie Flaherty. The Mayor has been an enthusiastic supporter of a number of our races during the season and it was clear to see the enthusiasm she brings to her public duties.

Two special awards were announced during the evening.

Club Member of the Year was awarded to Christina Towell. Christina is the Club’s Chief Judge at our Open Races and is responsible for determining the outcomes of photo finishes, tabulates all the results and maintains the Club League Table. Christina can be seen at all our races whatever the weather and her enthusiasm was recognised by the Club members who voted for her award.

This year’s International Award went to Matthew Teggart,for his performances with Team Wiggins particularly at theBaby Giro, The Tour D’Avenir and The Tour of Brittain. Matthew had some fine individual performances and held a number of jerseys during the season. During the European Championships he was the only Irish finisher!

Full Results are set out below.

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Thomas White Memorial / Invacare League (Rnd 8) , 10 Mile TT: Event Details

Taking place this Sunday, 2nd September, the 2018 Thomas White Memorial will incorporate Round 8 of the 2018 Invacare Paracycling League; Attracting the top paracyclists in the country alongside the annual Thomas White TT.

Sign On & Race Start

Entry is accepted on the day - no pre-registration required.

Ample parking is available within Warrenpoint Enterprise Centre and the entry road.  Please refrain from parking in the adjacent fuel station. 

Please also take caution when travelling from the sign on area to the start line, heeding traffic which may be entering and/or exiting the Warrenpoint Fuel Station.  Riders are asked to be at the start line 5 minutes in advance of their start time and make themselves known to the race officials at the start area.

Riders will start in the order in which they sign on.  The fist rider will start at 11:01 am, 2nd rider 11:02, etc.

Course

The course will remain the same as the 2017 event, starting outside the gates of Wood Innovations Design Centre, traveling via the Warrenpoint Rd dual carriageway to the main Greenbank roundabout on the outskirts of Newry before returning on the opposite side of the dual carriageway.  Please note the finish line is just beyond the start as you approach it - this will be marked with a chequered flag.  You can view the course profile here: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/24324848 

Post Race Refreshments and Prize giving

Tea /coffee, sandwiches and an assortment of tray bakes will be available at the event HQ in Warrenpoint Enterprise Centre following the event where prizes will be awarded to the winners of the Thomas White Memorial event and Round 8 of the Invacare Paracycling League.

Prizes for the Thomas White Memorial will be awarded to the following;

  • Fastest Overall (Top 3)
  • Fastest Women
  • Fastest Junior 
  • Fastest Master 40
  • Fastest Master 50
  • Fastest Master 60
  • Fastest Banbridge CC rider

Note for Banbridge CC riders:  Please be aware that participation in this event will contribute towards the 2018 Club League / BAR

John Beggs Memorial 2018; The Spectator's Guide

The nature and layout of the John Beggs Memorial circuit lends itself to spectators hoping to witness the action unfold on the road.  With various vantage points lending themselves to easy access and opportunity to watch the racing in multiple locations along with the fact that the race is covering laps of a 30km loop means you won’t be waiting long before you see the speeding bunch of Ireland’s elite domestic men and women.  We’ve listed our top 6 spots on the circuit that we think are best placed to catch the action;

  • The climb of Ballykeel Hill is within the first 1km of the main circuit and, while giving way in length to some of the other climbs on the circuit, is likely to cause the riders the most problems due to its steep gradient and is often a favourite for those spectating on the course.  It’s also very close to the climb up to Ballykeel crossroads which the race passes through 18km into the circuit so is an ideal spot to jump between two harder sections of the course.

  • The climb of Ballykeel crossroads is one of the less severe on the circuit, but it’s a wearing down circuit and every rise counts!  The views over the Mourne Mountains from the approach to Ballykeel crossroads give the photographers a great chance for some stunning shots of the action with a great backdrop, and with such a great view you can see the groups approach from approx 1km out.  This one’s a real crowd favourite.

  • Kinallen Village is home to one of the longer climbs on the circuit at 1.5km and it’s very possible to catch those riders out with tired legs in the final laps of the race.  The steepest section of the climb is on the Skeagh Rd as the riders enter the village, while the crest of the climb will see the riders exit Kinallen in the direction of Dromara.

  • If it’s the fast pace action you like to see then Dromara village is the place to be.  The long descent into the village means it is one of the fastest sections of the course.  Add in the fast twisting corners as the race enters the village at speed and you’re guaranteed to see the race in one long line out.  Home to Dromara Cycling Club who are likely to have plenty of local riders competing, there should be a great atmosphere too.
  • Another fast section of the course is McAdam’s crossroads as the riders descend off the arduous Edentrillick Rd before they hit the climb of Ballykeel Hill.  It’s another spot where you can catch the riders twice on the same lap as the Flagpole on Leapoges Rd, where the riders will face a u-turn onto Lagangreen Rd is less than a minute’s dander.  At only 3km from the finish circuit it gives you plenty of time to get back in time for the finale as the riders enter their final lap.

We’ve left the obvious one to last.  The finish line atop Mount St is on a fairly flat section of road, but the steep 400 meter ramp that the riders face as they enter Mount St, maxing out at 5%, and cresting with only 250 meters to the finish line will be the ideal launch pad for those who have the strength to make it count.

Wherever you are on Saturday you can follow all the action LIVE via our Twitter feed by following #TheBeggs18

All races start between 12 noon and 12:15 on Mount St.  Expected race finish times are listed below;

  • Race 4 (A4’s)   14:00 – 14:15
  • Race 3 (Women’s National Road Series)   14:45 – 15:10
  • Race 2 (A3’s)   14:25 – 15:00
  • Race 1 (A1 / A2 Men’s National Road Series) 15:05 – 15:30

SPAR Omagh Three Day Race Report

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Banbridge CC were delighted to get chosen  for the Omagh 3 Day Cycling Event as it always an over subscribed event. The A4 team of riders included James MacMahon, Adrian Peake, Peter McBride, Richard McBride and Chris Burns supported by David Lavery, Neil Teggart and Mark Kendall travelled to Omagh for the 9th edition of the Tour of Omagh 3 day stage race over the weekend of 27th - 29th July. The race covers 4 stages with 3 road races and 1 individual time trial. 

The first stage was a 43 mile road race with 3 KOH’s. The race was a cagey affair as riders didn’t want to show their hands too early. The Banbridge guys stayed close to the front covering any attempted breaks. The stage eventually finished in a bunch sprint with James following wheels to finish a superb 4th coming after a strong showing at the John Moore memorial the previous weekend where he placed 6th. The rest of the team finished in the bunch all on the same time. 

Early next morning the first Banbridge rider off was Adrain with the remainder of the team off at 1min intervals on the 2.5Mile Individual Time Trial. Conditions were fair with light rain compared what was to come in the road race in the afternoon. The guys warmed up under excellent guidance of Neil Taggert and were ready for the start. James was fastest Banbridge rider with an 8th best overall time. Closely followed by Peter and Richard. Adrian and Chris a few seconds further down. A very solid time trial for all the team. 

Stage 3 was a 46 mile road race with 2 KOH. This proved to be the toughest stage of the race, the riders had to contend with a challenging undulating route and the recent spell of weather came to an abrupt end with strong winds and heavy rain. The race however started at a frantic pace and was soon split to pieces as riders fought with the conditions and attacking racing. There was a great atmosphere at the first KOH in Carrickmore as spectators lined the climb and cheered on the riders. Going into the latter stage of the race the team had 4 riders in the main group which had whittled down to 30 odd riders from 102 starters, this group was to be diminished further as cross winds took their toll. Peter and Richard were still in the main group as it came down to a bunch sprint. Peter showed his form to take an excellent 6th place on a brutal day. Richard came in 16th on the same time a fantastic result for Richard in his first year of open racing and only his fourth race. The rest of the team fought the conditions to finish strongly. 

The 4th Stage was a 44 mile road race with a dreaded CAT 1 climb 10 mile from the finish. The weather had turned to summer again and the team had to give it more more go. The guys stuck to the plan and raced very hard on tired legs. The race stayed compact until it reached the Gortins where the race started to split. The team stayed in the front group with Peter very active. Unfortunately the climb proved too much for Adrain who dropped off the lead group but all credit as he was feeling unwell over the weekend but raced to the end and finished the event. The lead group was coming into the final sprint and Peter went for it with 1K to go eventually to be caught and swamped finishing 15th and taking 10th overall. Richard came in the next group back finishing very strongly. 

A great event organised by Omagh Wheelers and a successful event for Banbridge CC with 3 top 10 stage placings and 4th Overall in the Team Classification and 10th in the GC. The team would like to thank all the club members who travelled to support the team on the road it is very much appreciated. 

D Lavery

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