Ards Cycling Club

Ards Cycling Club -

Club Races start next week

We spring forward an hour into British Summer Time this weekend and that can only mean one thing for cycling fans – the start of the Ards CC club race calendar!

First event is a five mile time trial on the Donaghadee Road on Tuesday evening. First rider is off at 6.30pm, with sign on from 6.00pm. The full calendar can be found by following the Club Races link at the top of our home page. Thanks to Gareth for adding maps this year!

Riders are reminded that they must have a rear light for club time trials.

All our club races count towards the Ards CC trophy and medal competitions. For example, the first 5 mile time trial is a counting event for the 5 mile handicap cup, for the Best All Rounder trophies, and there are also age standard medals. For a full list of all trophies and the medal standards, follow the Club Competitions link at the top of our home page.

As always, we welcome visiting riders from other clubs. And I’m sure Desi would be delighted to hear from anyone wanting to help out with marshalling – particularly at our very popular club road races.

Good luck. We’ll keep you posted here on results, and on progress in the club competitions as the season progresses.

Reflections on the Tour of Ards

Here are some reflections and comments we’ve received on the  recent ToA.

16821278211_8e50ca0bce_nThe commissaire’s report was very favourable. In particular it commented on the number of static and mobile marshals who helped to make the race safe, and on the great spread of food after the event. So thanks again to everyone who helped to make this such a successful event.

And thanks to the commissaires as well!


Isn’t technology wonderful. Due to a combination of bike sensors and video we were able to place the first 30 riders before the prize giving. But it’s not infallible… the first version of the result showed Brian McCrystal in second place. We suspect his bike was in a following car!

On my way to help judge the finish, I got stuck behind a group of about a dozen local club riders who seemed to be having their own mini ToA on the Portaferry Road. I understand it can be hard to let cars past, and as cyclists we have an equal right to the road. But I suspect the ambulance in front of me, that was held up for 4 or 5 miles, was less understanding… The Ulster Farmers Union advises its tractor driving members to pull over periodically to allow queues of traffic to clear – does Cycling Ulster need to issue similar guidance? Perhaps the best solution is to follow Desi’s club run example, and enjoy the wealth of smaller back roads where possible.


Myles McCrory (top rider and cycling impresario) liked the way the route passed through the villages in the Ards Peninsula. This has always been a feature of the ToA, although the 30mph charge around the Bangor ring road, the sprint up Donaghadee’s New Street and the narrow descent into Portaferry Square have all sadly had to be dropped over the years as traffic volumes have grown. Some riders commented that this year’s route was easier than last year’s. The organising committee has to balance distance, severity and safety, and a number of different routes have been used over the years. Did we get it right this year – let us know via Facebook.


Damian Shaw an impressive winner of the See.Sense Tour of Ards

Damian Shaw (Team ASEA) came in nearly 3 minutes ahead of his nearest rival to emphatically win this year’s See.Sense Tour of Ards.

Damian Shaw (Team ASEA) solos to victory (above) and with the Tommy Brown trophy (right)












It was a cold day, with a biting south easterly wind coming off the sea, but the rain held off. A full field of 80 riders signed on, and the attacks started almost immediately. The field was still together at Ballywalter, but by Cloughy a group of 8 had managed to get away.

The sign says it all – race on along the Strangford lough coast!

The gap hovered around a minute for a long time, as chase groups tried to escape from the bunch. Up front, Damian attacked the break, and with his team mate Alastair Macauley policing the others the gap grew steady. The wind was on the riders’ backs as the race headed home to Newtownards, and Damian was uncatchable.

The break at Nunn’s Bridge

Last year’s winner Fraser Duncan tries to escape from the bunch at Saltwater Brig.









David Watson (from neighbouring club North Down CC) took the sprint for second from Craig Macauley (Roe Valley). It was encouraging to see Mark McKinley (Newry Wheelers) returning from illness to take 4th – he won’t remain a 3rd cat for long! Sean Featherstone (Newry Wheelers) and Alastair Macauley rounded out the remainder of the break.

The bunch finished just 41 seconds further back, with ever green vet Brian Stewart (Phoenix) taking the sprint from first junior Jake Gray (Nicholas Roche development squad) and first unplaced A3 Ryan Bankhead (Ballymena RC). It was encouraging to see five juniors in the top 20, and 3 of the Ards CC road squad finishing comfortably in the bunch. See below for the full result.

Commissaire’s briefing at the start

Dany interviews the winner








The race would not have been possible without the help of -

  • Our sponsors – See.Sense and Roma’s
  • The police, who once again did a great job smoothing the flow of the race through busy Saturday traffic
  • The Ards CC organising committee, for doing all the legwork behind the scenes
  • All the marshals, motorcycle marshals, judges and timekeeper.
  • The Roads Services, for doing last minute repairs, and making sure all road works were cleared in time for the race.
  • St John’s Ambulance, who were thankfully not called upon this year.
  • David McVeigh and Dany Blondeel for extra reporting and photo – checkout out our Facebook site for more photos and videos later.
  • The Belgian project and McConveys for the extra Junior prizes.
  • Cycling Ulster for the radios.
  • Tom Henry (North Down) for his entertaining commentary
  • The Commissaires (both experienced, and new ones training for the future)
  • St. Patricks, for allowing us to use their hall and car park.
  • And most importantly, the ladies for a great spread of food afterward.

Post race analysis with the commissaires

The tea ladies did us proud :-)








Overall Results

Pos. Name Club Time
1 Damian Shaw Team ASEA 2:23:29
2 Dave Watson North Down CC 2:26:12
3 Craig Macauley Roe Valley

4 Mark McKinley Newry Wheelers

5 Sean Featherstone Newry Wheelers

6 Alastair Macauley Team ASEA

7 Brian Stewart Phoenix CC


8 Jake Gray (1st Jun.) Nicholas Roche Dev.

9 Ryan Bankhead (1st A3) Ballymena RC

10 Roger Aikan Team ASEA

11 Johnny Taylor Carn Wheelers

12 Stephen Harkens (1st Vet) Team Madigan

13 Lindsay Watson (1st A2) Plush

14 John McGlaughlin Cookstown CT

15 Marc Heaney (2nd Jun) Carn Wheelers

16 Conor McCann (3rd Jun) Nicholas Roche Dev.

17 James Curry (4th Jun) Banbridge CC

18 Angus Fyffe Omagh Wheelers

19 Aaron Parks Cookstown CT

20 Jody Evans (5th Jun) Spires

21 Gareth McKee Banbridge

22 Des Woods Newry Wheelers

23 Barry Hamilton North Down CC

24 Joe Henry Velo Café M.

25 Cameron McIntyre Banbridge CC

26 Johnny Webb North Down CC

27 Gareth Beattie North Down CC

28 Paul Smyth Maryland Wheelers

29 Andrew Hicks Newry Wheelers

33 Ian Carson (1st Ards) Ards CC