Delamont Country Park, located just outside the village of Killyleagh alongside the shores of Strangford Lough, is a new venue for the Ulster Cyclo-cross series. It was Killinchy Cycling Club’s first cyclo-cross race which they organised through the support of the local park wardens and Newry, Mourne and Down District Council. The popular County Down park offers a play park, a miniture railway, walks to the megalith (erected in 1999) and great views of the lough.
This was Round 4 of the series and thankfully the storm (Brian) the day before had died down to leave a pleasant autumn day, if a little cool. The rain during the week however had made the conditions quite muddy with the finish area particularly sticky. The start was on the tarmac road which then turned left onto a forest trail before turning left again going through a tree section and then out into the main open park area which park visitors see on their way in. This field was also used for the youth races which were held at the opposite corner of this park. The pits were up at the back of the house in a gravel car park. The “angle” field towards the shore line offered a steep gradient for the course designers to use.
The Under 6s ‘fun’ race was the first of the day with the 20 young riders (15 boys and 5 girls) taking on two short laps of their course. The Under 8s were up next with their course heading into the trees. They also had two laps to complete which included a fast descent down the hill and past the timing tent. It was Darragh Murphy (Rostrevor Mountain Bike Club) again who won the boys’ race with Brodie Hull (Trail Demons CC) second and Ryan McBride (Banbridge CC) third. Aoife Craig (VC Glendale) won the girls’ race as she finished ahead of Aoife Kellett (Dromara Cycling Club) with Isla Dohery (Apollo Cycling Team) taking the bronze medal.
A quick course modification to get the Under 10s lined up for their 4 lap race. As usual there was a close race between the leading boys with Curtis McKee (Maryland Wheelers) crossing the line first ahead of Elliot Maitland (Killinchy Cycling Club) with James Armstrong (Dromara Cycling Club) third. Among the girls it was Aisling Smyth (Apollo Cycling Team) who proved to be the strongest with Cara Suckling (Maryland Wheelers) second and Lexie Broome (Dromara Cycling Club) third.
The Under 12s course was an extensionof the Under 10s and the ruders were given 8 laps to complete. By the end of lap 2 Aine Doherty (VC Glendale) had repeated her peformance from the last 2 races and got to the front of the boys and lead the race overall. Also up among the top boys was Aliyah Rafferty (Island Wheelers) who finished second girl with Zoe Lindsay (Dromore CC) rounding off the girls’ podium. Reuben Maitland (Killinchy Cycling Club) was sticking close to Aine had a clear gap over the chasers. Karl Rockett (Ards CC) finished second with Harry Hobbs (VC Glendale) third.
After a break for prize giving the next races started on the tarmac road. Lined up were the women, Under 16s and Under 14s. Junior rider Lara Gillespie (Scott Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) made her mark on the series as she took the win in the women’s cyclo-cross race finishing ahead of Trudy Brown (VC Glendale) with Julie Rea (Phoenix CC) third. Diane Wilson (Dromara Cycling Club) was fourth with junior rider Niamh McKiverigan (Powerhouse Sport) finishing fifth and taking the first unplaced junior prize. In the women’s mountain bike support race Alison McMullan (unattached) finished ahead of Claire Richardson (Killinchy Cycling Club). Darren Rafferty (Island Wheelers) and Donal Walsh (AAA Cycling) had a great battle in the Under 16 boys race but Darren pulled clear on the last lap to take the win. Ciaran Dixon (Phoenix CC) was third. Darcey Harkness (Carn Wheelers) finished well clear of nearest rival Caoimhe May (Scott Eurocycles.com) with Katie Neill (Carn Wheelers) finishing third. Travis Harkness (Carn Wheelers) stormed away on the 2 lap Under 14 boys race to take the flag ahead of Adam Rafferty (Island Wheelers) with Brendan Conroy (EPIC MTB / Expert Cycles) making good from his long journey up from Dublin finishing third. The Under 14 girls were well spaced out at the finish with Erin Creighton (XMTB) crossing the line first, Rachel White (North Down CC) second and Hannah Mullin (Trail Demons CC) third.
Next up was the Cyclo-cross men’s A’ race which was held over 5 laps. Off on a charge from the whistle was David Montgomery (unattached) who powered home to the finish. Graham Boyd (McConvey Cycles) finished second with Barry Kellett (Dromara Cycling Club) third. Darnell Moore (Caldwell Cycles Omagh) made his race debut this season finishing fourth and taking the first unplaced Espoir prize with junior rider Thomas Creighton (McConvey Cycles) fifth (and first unplaced Junior) with Brendan Doherty (VC Glendale) 6th and taking first unplaced M40. Peter McConville (Newry Wheelers CC) was first unplaced M50 and he was part of the winning club when Barry Convery and Gareth O’Neill finished.
The final races of the day were for the Cyclo-cross men’s B’ race and the men’s mountain bike support race. The course condition was now in its worse state but the riders seemed to get around through a mixture of strong pedalling and bike carrying. To the joy of the host club Richard Gaffikin took the win in the CXB race with Dean Lockhart (Carn Wheelers) second and Seamus McAuley (Velo Cafe Magasin) third. Michael Havern (Newry Wheelers CC) was fourth with Neil Armstrong (Dromara Cycling Club) fifth and Jonathan Graham (Velo Club Mourne) sixth. In the MTB men’s support race Brian McAuley (unattached) took the win with Mickey Clarke (Shimna Wheelers Cycling Club) second and Denver Irvine (unattached) third.
After the races the riders were able to enjoy the food laid on by the club back in the sign on building. A huge thanks to all who helped to make the event happen. The next race takes place on Sunday 29 October up at St. Colomb’s Park in Londonderry. See www.ulstercyclocross.com for details.
Commissaires: Lisa Millar and Martin Grimley