Round 6 of the 2017 Ulster Cyclo-cross series saw a return to Windmill Park in Dungannon. This is the 6th year that host club Island Wheelers has run an event in this forest and it is thanks to the local council for their support in the lead up and on the day. Weather wise it was very similar to last year with clear blue skies and great autumn sunshine. A short shower during the day quickly cleared. Ground conditions were good especially after the heavy rain the night before. The set up at this event is quite unique where the youth race courses (for Under 6s up to the Under 12s) are self-contained inside the senior course. This allows the seniors to practice while the youth races take place.
The first race of the day was for the Under 6s, known as the ‘fun’ race where all competitors receive a goodie bag at the finish. The 9 boys and 7 girls had one lap to complete to the delight of the large crowd of supporters. Next up were the Under 8s who had 3 laps of their own course to complete. Darragh Murphy (Rostrevor Mountain Bike Club) took a comfortable win in the boys’ race but behind him was a really close battle between Ryan McBride (Banbridge CC) and Brodie Hull (Trail Demons CC) which came down to the line with Ryan just nipping in front of Brodie. Among the girls’ it was Aoife Craig (VC Glendale) who continued her unbeaten run this series with her nearest rival, Aoife Kellett (Dromara Cycling Club), second and Isla Doherty (Apollo Cycling Team) third.
The Under 10s course was held over 5 laps of a slightly extended course. Looking at the girls’ results first it was Emer Heverin (Kinning Cycles) who took her second win of the series as she finished ahead of Aisling Smyth (Apollo Cycling Team) with Cara Suckling (Maryland Wheelers) third. Curtis McKee (Maryland Wheelers) won the boys’ race as he held off Rhys Hepburn (Island Wheelers) with James Armstrong (Dromara Cycling Club) completing the podium.
Reuben Maitland (Killinchy Cycling Club) took the chequered flag in the Under 12 boys’ race with Conor Murphy (Rostrevor Mountain Bike Club) second and Karl Rockett (Ards CC) third. Aine Doherty (VC Glendale) had another terrific race taking the win in the U12 girls’ race (and finishing third overall). Aliyah Rafferty (Island Wheelers) had another great second place with Cara Moffitt (Phoenix CC) third.
After the first of 3 podium ceremonies the next races got underway at 11:45. This race was for the Women doing the cyclo-cross and mountain bike support races, the Under 14s (boys and girls) and the Under 16s (boys and girls). Making her first appearance at the Ulster Cyclo-cross series this year, visitor Michelle Geoghegan (Team Jadan-Weldtite) stamped her authority to take the win. Another gutsy performance by Trudy Brown (VC Glendale) got her second place with junior rider Niamh McKiverigan (Powerhouse Sport) taking third. The unplaced junior was Rachel McBride (Omagh Wheelers). In the women’s MTB support race Alison McMullan (unattached) notched up another win with Karen Wynne (Foyle CC) second, Debbie Boyd (Apollo Cycling Team) third and Michelle Irvine (unattached) fourth.
Shane Scullion (Island Wheelers) won the Under 14 boys’ race as he finished ahead of Adam Rafferty (Island Wheelers) with Travis Harkness (Carn Wheelers) third. Hannah Mullin (Trail Demons CC) had a great lead over nearest rival Aoife O’Brien (Lakeside Wheelers) in the U14 girls’ race finishing in this order with Keela Smyth (Apollo Cycling Team) taking the bronze medal. In the Under 16 boys’ race Darren Rafferty (Island Wheelers) finished well clear of Dean Harvey (Kinning Cycles) with Somhairle Owens Fisher (Omagh Wheelers Cycling Club) third. Darcey Harkness (Carn Wheelers) has won every round she has entered this season and Windmill Park was no exception. Katie Neill (Carn Wheelers) finished second with Maria McAllister (Island Wheelers) third.
The men’s cyclo-cross A’ race was next which looked to be another win for David Montgomery (unattached) but Glenn Kinning (Kinning Cycles) was making great use of his recent experience racing in Europe to steadily get to the front leaving the battle for second between David and Graham Boyd (McConvey Cycles). David and Graham were both sprinting for the line but Graham just managed to get his wheel over the line ahead of David to take 2nd and 3rd respectively. Darnell Moore (Caldwell Cycles Omagh) was fourth overall and took the prize for the first unplaced Espoir rider. Barry Kellett (Dromara Cycling Club) was fifth with Brendan Doherty (VC Glendale) sixth and taking the prize for first unplaced M40. Lee Harvey (Kinning Cycles) was 9th overall and first unplaced Junior. Johnny McCabe (Cuchulainn CC) was first unplaced M50. The team prize went to Dromara Cycling Club when the points for Barry Kellett, David Broome and Neil Armstrong were added up.
The final races of the day were for the cyclo-cross men’s B’ race and the men’s mountain bike support race. Dean Lockhart (Carn Wheelers) took the win in the men’s XC B’ race with Barry Kirkland (Island Wheelers) taking second and Chris Cameron (Kinning Cycles) third. Fourth was Ryan Rainey (Keevan CC) with Peter Campbell (Kilbride Cyclists) 5th and Colm Watson (VC Glendale) 6th. In the MTB support race Scott Maitland (Killinchy Cycling Club) took his 3 win of the series with Dean Burnside (Island Wheelers) second and Tony O’Doherty (Carn Wheelers) third.
After the racing and podium presentations the riders were able to enjoy the food and hot beverages laid on by the host club. Many thanks to race organiser Thomas Hepburn and to all those who helped to pull the event together. Next week we are off to Seacourt in Larne for Round 7 hosted by Team Madigan. See www.ulstercyclocross.com for details.