VC Glendale was unable to get use of Falls Park this year as the council were installing a new 4G pitch, but the club and the council worked together to secure Musgrave Park as an alternative venue. This was Round 2 of the Ulster Cyclo-cross series with the racing starting to hot up as riders were getting accustomed to the pain/joy of cyclo-cross. The course worked around the facilities in the park, making use of the embankments and long straight tarmac road used as the start/finish. Sign on took place inside the bowling pavilion where the club provided a great spread of food afterwards. The day was largely dry with light rain in the middle of the events and a period of strong winds testing how well the gazebos were put up!
At 10 am the first race of the day took place and this was the Under 6s/fun race. A short two lap event for those young riders who would find the Under 8s race too daunting. With 14 boys and 8 girls this was a great opener for a super day of racing.
Next up were the Under 8s who were gridded onto the start line based on their results from Round 1. Another big turn out of 26 boys and 7 girls who had 2 laps of their own course to complete which took in the dismount section for the young riders to test their cyclo-cross skills. In the girls’ race you weren’t on the podium unless your name began with the letter ‘A’. Aoife Craig (VC Glendale) took the win ahead of Aoife Kellett (Dromara Cycling Club) with Annie Conn (Phoenix CC) third. In the boys’ race Darragh Murphy (Rostrevor Mountain Bike Club) once again took the win this time finishing ahead of Brodie Hull (Trail Demons CC) with Ryan McBride (Banbridge CC) third.
The Under 10s used the same course as the Under 8s but had more laps to complete, in this case it was 5. Curtis McKee (Maryland Wheelers) had a great race with Elliot Maitland (Killinchy Cycling Club) but held his lead leaving Elliot second and James Armstrong (Dromara Cycling Club) third. Aisling Smyth (Apollo Cycling Team) won the girls’ U10 race with Cara Suckling (Maryland Wheelers) second and Emer Heverin (Kinning Cycles) third.
The Under 12s course was longer and they had to complete 5 laps. Aine Doherty from the host club won the girls’ race even threatening to get to the front to beat all the boys as well. Aliyah Rafferty (Island Wheelers) was second with Cara Moffitt (Phoenix CC) third. Reuben Maitland (Killinchy Cycling Club) had to out-sprint Daniel Scott (Island Wheelers) for the win with Conor Murphy (Rostrevor Mountain Bike Club) not far behind the leading two.
After a short break for prize giving the racing kicked off again with the Under 14s, Under 16s, mountain bike and cyclo-cross women’s races. Trudy Brown, from the host club, took the win in the Women’s Cyclo-cross race with Gill Smith (Phoenix CC) second, making her welcome return to mud racing as she finished ahead of junior rider Niamh McKiverigan (Powerhouse Sport). The first unplaced junior was Summer McGibbon (unattached). In the women’s mountain bike support race Lisa Millar (Dromara Cycling Club) made her debut of the series by taking the chequered flag then returning to commissaire duties. Alison McMullan (Unattached) was second with Karen Wynne (Foyle CC) third. A sprint finish for the win in the Under 16 boys’ race saw Darren Rafferty (Island Wheelers) just pip Ciaran Dixon (Phoenix CC). Somhairle Owens Fisher (Omagh Wheelers Cycling Club) took third place. Darcey Harkness (Carn Wheelers) had a comfortable win in the U16 girls’ race with Maria McAllister (Island Wheelers) second and Sarah Elder (Carn Wheelers) rounding off the podium. In the Under 14 girls’ race Hannah Mullin (Trail Demons CC) crossed the line well clear of Keela Smyth (Apollo Cycling Team) with Lily Brown (VC Glendale) third. Adam Rafferty (Island Wheelers) won the boys’ Under 14s race with club mate Oisin Ferrity second and Adam McGeever (AAA Cycling) third.
The next race was the Men’s A’ race which was held over 5 laps of the main course. The course was getting well churned up which was challenging for the racers as their bikes grew heavier with the mud. Leading from the start was David Montgomery would had some mud issues towards the end of the race which allowed Barry Kellett (Dromara Cycling Club) to take the win. David finished second with Ross Collins (McNally Swords CC) third. Christian Nachtigall (Phoenix CC) was fourth, Lewis Ferguson (The Bike House CC) fifth and Alan Bingham (Cuchulainn CC), the first unplaced M40, was sixth overall. John Bogues (Phoenix CC) was the unplaced M50-60 rider, Thomas Creighton (McConvey Cycles) the first unplaced Junior and Kyle Fisher (Lakeland) the first unplaced Espoir (Under 23). The team prize came down to one point with Dromara Cycling Club taking the honours just ahead of Phoenix CC.
The final races of the day were for the Cyclo-cross Men’s B’ race and the mountain bike support race. Taking part in his first ever cyclo-cross race Junior rider Jack Ferguson (Dromara Cycling Club) came from behind to finish well ahead of his nearest rival John McAnerney (Armagh City Cyclists) who had a close finish with Neil Armstrong (Dromara Cycling Club), winner of Round 1. Seamus McAuley (Other) was fourth with Aaron Baines (Spinning Studio Banbridge) fifth and Neil McCartan (Powerhouse Sport) sixth. In the mountain bike support race it was another win for the host club when Seán Maguire crossed the line. Mickey Clarke (Shimna Wheelers Cycling Club) was second with Brian McAuley third.
Post race the riders headed back to the bowling pavilion for tea, coffee, sandwiches, buns and even apple crumble. Podium presentations were held with Barry Kellett receiving the Teresa Smyth Memorial Cup. The next race in Ulster will be the McConvey ‘Cross Cup which will be held at Lady Dixon Park in Belfast and hosted by Phoenix CC. Details on www.ulstercyclocross.com.
Commissaires: Jim Adams, Lisa Millar and Martin Grimley