Billy Maxwell in action at the 10 mile TT.
Billy Maxwell has had a colourful and highly successful cycling career with over four decades in the saddle which began in 1962.
He began to show potential in 1963 when he recorded 23.21 on the Dromore Road 10 but it was in the 1970's that he hit the top in Northern Ireland. In 1970 Billy won the Northern Ireland 100 miles Time Trial Championship with four hours 38 minutes and was only eight seconds off the magic hour in a 25 mile TT on the Antrim Road with 1.0.8. With a 50-mile TT he recorded 2.8.34 to take a top three finish in the season long Northern Ireland.
Best all-rounder in 1976 Billy won all 17 Time Trials in the Banbridge CC Club events and won the Silver Medal in the Northern Ireland 25-mile TT Championships.
These were the great years and in those days Billy was clocking up 250 training miles each week, leaving his work at Down Shoes he sometimes would have gone home to Katesbridge round the Co. Down Coast - 60 miles - starting off at 5.30pm and getting home at 8.30pm - averaging 20 mph.
With well over 100 wins to his credit Billy has decided to call it a day in competition cycling. Having completed in some 700 events, he will continue to help out in the West Down Wheelers Club events of which he is chairman, and still keep very much active round the country roads and pedal to work at the Windsor Bakery, Banbridge. Billy is also an active member of Anaghlone Bowling club and has been chairman for 20 years and is thinking about taking in the Outdoor Bowls next season.
The Ernie Hall Hillclimb brought the season to a close last Tuesday
night for the Whirline West Down Wheelers in what has been another great season. The hillclimb was held on the Tanaghmore Road and it proved to be the closest race of the year. Eleven riders faced the started, Clive Adamson, who said that it would be a close race to the top and how right he was.
Ronnie Smyth was the man of the night. Just arriving as the riders were starting he didn't get a warmup but it turned out that he didn't need it, as he powered to the top in a quick time of 57.82, less than a second faster than the rider who was race favorite, Aaron Baines. He looked set to be the winner as he set off on a fixed gear but it wasn't to be as Ronnie, who started as the last man, pipped him at the post in the closest finish ever to a hill climb.
Third place went to Davy McKnight who did 1.01. He was the rider who could have been quicker, having been in winning form in the final two races. Fourth placed was Darren Weir, who wasn't far off the pace with 1.03.
Would you believe that four riders - John Kernaghan, Peter Lilley, Paul Wilkinson and Stephen Baines - all finished in the same time of 1.04? Paul McManus had.14, N Doyle had 1.16 and Davy Cartmill 1.20. Paul Wilkinson and John Kernaghan share the Ernie Hall trophy and Ronnie Smyth received a trophy from Wheelers Chairman Billy Maxwell for Best Visitor.
Members are asked to take note of the club meeting in the Leisure Centre on Friday September 26 at 8pm. All trophies are to be brought to the meeting.The annual dinner is to be held on Friday November 21 in the Belmont Hotel.
West Down GP
Junior Peter Williams took todays win at Katesbridge, the Juiced Orchard rider outsprinted Gordon Scott East Antrim/Audi, and John "junior" McAuley Apollo CT, to take the win after 52 miles of racing that over the first three laps hadn't any major break.
However by the start of lap five there was a break that had, Jim
McConnell East Antrim/Audi, Leo McAlister Ballymena/Scotts, Liam Curran Curran Racing, and Andre Engerman ST Tierans, open up a gap of 35 seconds, before being caught at the six mile mark, from this there opened up another break with Jonny Cole Team Madigan, and Daniel Logue Foyle CC, who pulled away to open a 30 second gap, however the two riders failed to stay away and were caught on the last bend before the finish line, leaving Williams to take the sprint.
West Down GP 52 Miles
Peter Williams Juiced-Orchard 2.07.15
Gordon Scott East Antrim/Audi @ " "
John McAuley Apollo CT @ " "
Dane Dunlop Lakeland CC @ " "
Liam Curran Curran Racing @ " "
Gareth Enright Dublin Wheelers @ " "
Dubliner Paul Healion almost joined the elite band of Irish cyclists who have achieved a sub-twenty minute time for the 10 mile time trial when he won tonight's Eric Maxwell - Dave Kane Cycles TT League event at Warrenpoint. Promoted by West Down Wheelers Healion set a new course record with a time of 20-00, ten seconds faster than current league leader John Heverin from the Lurgan Clann Eireann club.
Heverin's team-mate Thomas Martin finished in third spot followed by another overall league contender Paul Brady from Emyvale. Fastest junior on the night was Aaron Buggle from Dublin with a superb 21-10. Buggle was runner-up in last weekends Donegal 3-day stage race and intends to travel to Woodgreen, Ballymena next Thursday evening in an attempt to set a new Irish record for the 10 mile distance. Healion will also be attendance at the Ulster 10 Championships to try and break that elusive 20 minute barrier. The Championships are open to all but only Ulster riders will be eligible for championship medals.
Paul Healion South Dublin 20.00 PB