Date: Sunday 29 October 2017
Event: Ulster Cyclo-cross Round 5
Location: St. Columb’s Park, Derry/Londonderry
Host club: Foyle Cycling Club
Round 5 of the Ulster Cyclo-cross Series saw the cycling masses head north west to the second city, Derry/Londonderry. The city buzzes this time of the year as it embraces the Halloween festival with lots of themed events taking place. The racing took place in St. Columb’s Park which is located on the banks of the Foyle river. The park, named after the patron saint of Derry, was the estate of the Hill family before being bought as a public park in 1845. The park covers around 40 acres and is a popular destination for walkers and cyclists. The day’s schedule was delayed by 30 minutes to accommodate a park run which took place in the morning.
This was the third year that host club Foyle CC has been running the race and they are thankful of the support from the local council. Race headquarters was in the superb Foyle Arena, which has changing and showering facilities, with the start/finish down at the running track which is located in the centre of the park. The day was enhanced by wonderful autumn mild conditions with hardly any wind and periods of bright sunshine which had the spectators re-locating their shades.
The first race was the ‘fun’ race for the Under 6s with 13 boys and 6 girls starting on the gravel running surface. They then turning onto the grass beside the football pitch and completed the twisting circuit behind the goal posts before heading to the finish line. All riders received a goodie bag at the finish. The Under 8s used the same circuit but they had 4 laps to complete. A crash at the start of the boys’ race took a few riders down but they were soon back up and racing again. In the boys’ race Ryan McBride (Banbridge CC) finished ahead of Darragh Murphy (Rostrevor Mountain Bike Club) with Evan Wynne (Foyle CC) third. Aoife Craig (VC Glendale) finished first in the girls’ race with Aoife Kellett (Dromara Cycling Club) second and Isla Doherty (Apollo Cycling Team) third.
Initially the Under 10s were going to use the same course as the Under 8s but the riders seemed keen to use the course from last year, which the Under 12s were doing, so a quick change of signage and some announcements on the PA system and their wishes were granted. Curtis McKee (Maryland Wheelers) took the chequered flag in the 5 lap boys’ race with James Armstrong (Dromara Cycling Club) second and Elliot Maitland (Killinchy Cycling Club) third. Cara Suckling (Maryland Wheelers) had a strong finish in the girls’ race to take the win. Emer Heverin (Kinning Cycles) was second with Aisling Smyth (Apollo Cycling Team) third.
The Under 12s race was an 8 lap affair which seen some fast racing especially from Aine Doherty (VC Glendale) who, despite starting with all the rest of the girls around 7 seconds behind the boys, made her way past all the boys to lead the race. Aliyah Rafferty (Island Wheelers) finished 8th overall, 2nd girl with Zoe Lindsay (Dromore CC) rounding off the girls’ podium. Reuben Maitland (Killinchy Cycling Club) had a close finish with Karl Rockett (Ards CC) just behind him, Calum Hepburn (Island Wheelers) taking third.
After the break for the medal presentations which took place beside the track, the next races kicked off at 12:15 with the women’s cyclo-cross, women’s mountain bike support race, Under 14 and Under 16s race. The race was held up for a few minutes waiting for one missing rider, Trudy Brown, who did not show up for gridding. The race got underway without Trudy who did turn up 4½ minutes late and then set off at speed after her fellow competitors. Julie Rea (Phoenix CC) and junior rider Niamh McKiverigan (Powerhouse Sport) had a great contest at the front of the women’s CX race with Julie taking the win but Trudy was on fire and by the fourth lap had managed to catch up to Niamh to claim second place. First unplaced junior was Rachel McBride (Omagh Wheelers Cycling Club). Alison McMullan (unattached) took the win in the women’s MTB support race with Karen Wynne (Foyle CC) second and Michelle Irvine (unattached) third. There was a really close race between Ciaran Dixon (Phoenix CC) and Darren Rafferty (Island Wheelers) in the Under 16 boys’ race with Ciaran narrowly taking the win at the line. Donal Walsh (AAA Cycling) finished third. There were just 2 entries in the Under 16 girls’ race with Darcey Harkness (Carn Wheelers) beating fellow club mate Katie Neill. Adam Rafferty (Island Wheelers) had a clear lead in the Under 14 boys’ race and went on to take the flag. Adam McGeever (AAA Cycling) was second with Shane Scullion (Island Wheelers) taking bronze. Erin Creighton (XMTB) also had a clear lead over her nearest rival, Hannah Mullin (Trail Demons CC) with Rachel White (North Down CC) placing third in the U14 girls’ race.
Next up was the Men’s Cyclo-cross A’ race. This was held over 6 laps with the race start again at the corner of the running track allowing the riders an almost full lap of the track before heading into the trees. Christian Nachtigall (Phoenix CC) lead the riders off the track and into the trees but it was David Montgomery (unattached) who was first back to the track and had set about increaing the gap between himself and his competitors. David went on to take the win. The big battle was for second between local star and course designer Ronan McLaughlin (Aqua Blue), Barry Kellett (Dromara Cycling Club), Graham Boyd (McConvey Cycles) and Thomas Creighton (McConvey Cycles). Barry managed to pull away from Graham on the last lap to take second with Graham third. Thomas finished fourth and was first unplaced junior. Another junior rider, Breandán Flannagan (Powerhouse Sport) was fifth with first unplaced M40, Brendan Doherty (VC Glendale), finishing 6th. John Bogues (Phoenix CC) took the unplaced M50 prize with Matthew McAllister (Island Wheelers) taking the first unplaced Espoir prize. Ronan finished just outside the top 10 – a fine achievement for his first CX race of the season and after 2 days helping to set up the course. The team prize went to Phoenix CC when Christian Nachtigall, John Bogues and Edward Kearney finished.
Sean Scullion (Island Wheelers) crashed heavily out on the course and broke his collar bone. We all wish Sean a full and speedy recovery.
The Men’s Cyclo-cross B’ race and Men’s Mountain Bike support race were the final races of the day. Both events were held over 4 laps with a one minute gap separating the two races. Jack Ferguson (Dromara Cycling Club) took his third win of the season as he stormed around the fast couse. John Maginn (Shimna Wheelers Cycling Club) finished second with John James McAnerney (Armagh City Cyclists) third. Marek Pluciniczak (Portadown Cycling Club) was 4th with Seamus McAuley (Velo Cafe Magasin) 5th and Colm Watson (VC Glendale) 6th. In the MTB support race Brian McAuley (unattached) chalked up his second win in a row with Philip Moore (Caldwell Cycles Omagh) completing his first race of the series and taking second place. Michael Foley (Dromara Cycling Club) was delighted to take the third place on the podium.
As always a massive thank you to all the team from Foyle Cycling Club for organising the event. There was a great spread of food laid on in the Foyle Arena afterwards with plenty of tea and coffee to wash it all down with. Next week we are at Windmill Park in Dungannon as Island Wheelers host Round 6 of the series. For more details see www.ulstercyclocross.com.
Jonny Collins (YouTube) – here