Lurgan Park is full of cyclo-cross history and it was great to once again return to this beautiful venue to being the 2017 Ulster Cyclo-cross series. Host club Apollo Cycling Team put on another superb event. The weather stayed dry all day but there were muddy conditions towards the back of the course which was no surprise given the amount of recent rain fall. Sign on was again up at the bowling pavillion with the youth races (Under 6s up to Under 12s) happening around the bowling and tennis areas.
The first race of the day was for the Under 6s who had a short section of course to take on. A big turnout for the first event with 19 boys and 12 girls.
The Under 8s then had their turn to race. They had 2 laps around the tennis courts to complete which included the dismount section. Twenty four boys and six girls racing made for a great spectacle for the crowd of onlookers. In the girls’ race Aoife Craig (VC Glendale) took the win finishing ahead of Aoife Kellett (Dromara Cycling Club) with Chloe Hepburn (Island Wheelers) third. Darragh Murphy (Rostrevor Mountain Bike Club) won the boys race with Ryan McBride (Banbridge CC) and Brodie Hull (Trail Demons CC) sprinting for the line to finish in this order.
The Under 10s had to complete 4 laps of a slightly longer course than the Under 8s. A close finish in the boys’ race with Elliot Maitland (Killinchy Cycling Club) just getting ahead of Curtis McKee (Maryland Wheelers) with James Armstrong (Dromara Cycling Club) rounding off the podium. Aisling Smyth from the host club took the win in the girls’ race as she finished ahead of Emer Heverin (Kinning Cycles) with Lexie Broome (Dromara Cycling Club) third.
An addition section was added to the Under 10s course for the Under 12 riders, with 6 laps to complete before they seen the chequered flag. Reuben Maitland (Killinchy Cycling Club) put his stamp on the series taking the win in the boys’ race. Daniel Scott (Island Wheelers) and Karl Rockett (Ards CC) finished second and third respectively. Aliyah Rafferty (Island Wheelers) started off another off-road racing season with an impressive win. Tori Moffitt (Phoenix CC) was second with Zoe Lindsay (Dromore CC) third.
Racing then moved down to the central part of the park with the finish line opposite the cricket pavillion. Race starts for all the categories was off towards the lake side of the park with a wide area to allow the riders to spread out in a long line. Once the whistle blew they charged across the grass towards the main course passing the timing gazebo on their left hand side. A sight to behold.
The first race was for the Under 14s, Under 16s, Cyclo-cross women and the women’s mountain bike support race. The Under 14s had 2 laps of the main course to complete while the Under 16s and women had 3 laps. In the U14 girls’ race Aoife O’Brien (Lakeside Wheelers) had a comfortable win ahead of Hannah Mullin (Trail Demons CC) who in turn was well clear of third place Rachel White (North Down CC). There was a sprint finish in the Under 14s race with Andrew Kelly (Moynalty Cycling Club) just beating Adam Rafferty (Island Wheelers). Adam McGeeker (AAA Cycling) rounded off the U14 boys’ podium. The long journey for Caoimhe May (Scott Orwell Wheelers CC) paid off as she finished around 2 minutes ahead of Maria McAllister (Island Wheelers) who was well clear of third place Maia Simmons (The Bike House CC) in the U16 girls’ race. There was a great battle in the U16 boys’ race between Ciaran Dixon (Phoenix CC) and Darren Rafferty (Island Wheelers) with Ciaran pulling away from Darren on the final lap. Somhairle Owens Fisher (Omagh Wheelers Cycling Club) finished third. There were just two entries in the women’s MTB support race with Alison McMullan (Unattached Ulster) first and Lee McArdle (Apollo Cycling Team) second. Sixteen women lined up for their cyclo-cross race which Breda Horan (Scott Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) won. The big battle was behind Breda for second place with Julie Rea (Phoenix CC) just keeping ahead of Trudy Brown (VC Glendale).
In a change from last season the men’s A’ race started next. The wide line of riders shot off across the grass field into the main course. Leading from the start was Glenn Kinning (Kinning Cycles) with Tim O’Regan (Aqua Blue Sport) hot on his heels. However, on lap 4 Tim had a mechanical and had to stop at the pits to ask for a spare bike. He managed to finish 10th overall. Glenn went on to win the race. Barry Kellett (Dromara Cycling Club) made his way up the field to take second with junior rider Thomas Creighton (McConvey Cycles) third. Fourth was Christian Nachtigall (Phoenix CC), 5th was Kevin Keane who was the first unplaced M40. Dominic McCartan (Apollo Cycling Team) was 6th. First unplaced Junior was Cian May (Lucan Cycling Road Club) with John Bogues (Phoenix CC) the first unplaced M50 and Kyle Fisher (Lakeland) the first unplaced Espoir rider. The team prize is based on the best results from 3 riders from the same club. This week’s winners were from Team WORC (Niall Somers, Evan Ryan, Gavin O’Connell).
The final race of the day was for the Cyclo-cross B’ race men and the mountain bike men’s support race. Setting an early lead in the CX-B race was Aaron Baines (Spinning Studio Banbridge) but he couldn’t keep ahead of Neil Armstrong (Dromara Cycling Club) who took the win. Aaron finished second with Neil McCartan (Powerhouse Sport) third. Unlike previous seasons this year the top 3 riders are not automatically upgraded but instead a points system is in place.
In the MTB support race Scott Maitland (Killinchy Cycling Club) lead from start to finish with Gavin Thompson (Maryland Wheelers) after he caught team mate David McKee who finished third.
Many thanks to the all the volunteers who came together to put on the event. It is much appreciated. Thanks Apollo for the food and hospitality. The next round will be at Musgrave Park in Belfast. More details can be found on www.ulstercyclocross.com.
Commissaire: Martin Grimley
Report: Martin Grimley