This Saturday (28th May) sees Ballymena Road Club, (ChainReactionCycles, Northstone NI), host the 2016 Blair International Red Hand Trophy event in County Antrim.

ballymena logo

The Red Hand Trophy is one of the longest running road races in Ireland and was first run in 1968. Throughout the years the race has been won by many famous names including hat-tricks for the Promoting Club`s late Billy Kerr (1975, 1977 & 1980) and Ryan Connor (2001, 2007 & 2009).

In 2015 the race was won by Bangor man Fraser Duncan (Team Asea).


The trophy itself dates back to 1896 when it was presented to the Red Hand Cycling Club which existed in Ballymena at the time. Known then as the Lancashire`s Lemon Soda Cup it was first presented to FJ McCann in July 1896 at a race around the cinder track at the Recreation Grounds (now Ballymena Showgrounds). The trophy was presented to Ballymena Road Club in 1968 by solicitor, the late Jack McCann and was named the Red Hand Trophy.

(L) Three time winner from the host club, thconnore late Billy Kerr.


(R) Another 3-time winner of the event, again from the host club – Ryan Connor.

A full entry for Saturday sees Glenn Kinning (Kinning Cycles), Ryan Sherlock (Leinster), Lindsay Watson (Plush), and Ryan Reilly (Foyle CC) among the favourites, however there is a strong Junior contingent including Nicolas Roche Performance Team duo Marc Heaney and Cameron McIntyre; Caldwell Cycles Calvin Moore, East Tyrone`s Harvey Barnes, Island Wheelers pair Conor Devlin and Matthew McAllister and Spires CC`s Stewart Thompson.

red hand trophy

Saturday`s race rolls out from the Ballymena RC Clubrooms on Railway Street at 11am. The 65 mile race remains neutralised until Rathkenny, where it takes up its traditional route through Clogh, Loughguile, Armoy, Ballycastle, Cushendall, Waterfoot, Carnlough, before finishing in Broughshane.

(L) The impressive Red Hand Trophy will have a new name engraved on it after this weekend.

The club would like to thank Blair International Transport for their generous sponsorship of the 2016 Red Hand Trophy, and look forward to seeing a new name on this prestigious trophy at the weekend.


Saturday`s event is also round 5 of the 8-round Ulster Roadman`s Series, and with a number of key players absent on Ras duties, it will be an opportunity for others to claw back a few points in the overall standings.


Paul McCarter (Donegal bay CC), currently in equal 12th place, is the best placed rider on the start sheet, closely followed by Stewart Thompson (Spires CC) who lies equal 15th, one point adrift of McCarter. These pair, and the recently-upgraded Paul Ferguson (Powerhouse) could be the ones to watch at the weekend.

Ulster Roadman`s Series after 4 rounds.

1 Angus Fyffe.                  19 points

2   Ali MacAuley.                 16
3= David Hamilton.              15
Jonny Taylor                    “
5= Roger Aiken.                   10
Craig Rea.                        “
Derek Finnegan                “

8= Craig McAuley                9
Aaron Swan                      “
David Watson                   “
James Ambrose                “

12= Chris McGlinchey        8
Paul McCarter               “
Jake Grey                       “
15= Stewart Thompson       7
Paul Ferguson              “