Last weekend saw the Cycling Ulster off-road team in action at Thickthorn in Norwich for the last race in the British National Cross Country Series. Dean Harvey, Darcey Harkness, Niamh McKiverigan and Lee Harvey were representing Ulster with Áine Doherty, Travis Harkness, Graham Boyd and Gareth McKee riding for their respective clubs.
9am saw our youth riders line up in baking hot temperatures. Dean struggled with the heat and the lack of hills to record a 19th place finish in U16 with Travis (Carn Wheelers) racing to 17th place in U14 boys. The diminutive stature of these two lads really counting against them on a big power course.
Áine (VC Glendale) would have another strong ride to 4th position to finish her impressive debut season at this level.
Darcey and Niamh would have the hottest conditions of the day with temperatures peaking at 30 degrees during their 1pm race but both took it in their stride as Niamh rode a faultless race to record her second podium finish of the series in 5th place. Darcey chased hard in the early stages before fading slightly at the end although still matching her previous best result in 6th place.
Junior men saw Lee on the start line and after racing in the front group he would take 8th place at the flag.
Elites saw Gareth (Cycleology Racing) make a welcome return to a British National Podium in 4th place with Graham (McConvey Cycles) putting in a strong ride to 13th position.
So overall a good seasons racing in England for our young riders as they gain experience which will undoubtedly help them in future years as they strive to move up the leaderboards.
(Overall series results still awaiting confirmation from British Cycling)