This weekend saw Cycling Ulsters off-road riders in action at round two of the British XC series on the iconic World Cup course at Dalby Forest, North Yorkshire.
This was a daunting venue for our younger riders who were here for the first time. With its massive climbs and technical rocky descents every one of them did themselves proud with their attitude and how they applied themselves to learning the track in the limited practice time available. We’d like to thank Brian Steele and Graham Boyd who sacrificed their own practice to help Cycling Ulster coach Gareth McKee get the young riders round safely on Saturday afternoon.
Sunday morning saw an early start with the 9am youth races with Dean Harvey representing his Kinning Cycles team in under 16s along with Cycling Ulster riders Ben Wilson and Darcey Harkness.
Dean rode a faultless race in this ultra competitive category to 15th place while Ben rode strongly to 39th position and continues his steep learning curve as he gains experience of racing in the big bunches.
Darcey completed her race in a solid 16th position.
Under 14 saw Carn Wheelers Travis Harkness make up for the disappointment of a broken chain in round one to climb from the back of the grid to 29th at the flag while Erin Creighton made her debut at this level with 15th for her club XMTB.
Niamh McKiverigan was the next Cycling Ulster rider in action in the junior womens race and charged her way to a great 9th position.
The 3pm race saw our pair of Cycling Ulster junior men Thomas Creighton and Lee Harvey in a field featuring the reigning European Champion. Never one to shirk a challenge Thomas got stuck in to record a strong 4th place . First year junior Lee chased hard early on, running 7th for the first half of the race before the searing pace saw him slip to 12th at the finish.
Cameron McIntyre represented Cycling Ulster in the expert race with 25th position.
Also in action in the elite category were Irish Champ Gareth McKee in 10th place for Cycleology racing and Graham Boyd in 20th for McConvey Cycles.
Shimna Wheeler Brian Steele rode to 11th place in a huge field of veteran men.
So a huge learning experience for our young guys and girls but experience that they will be able to fall back on in the future.
Thanks to team managers Simon Curry and Nicola McKiverigan and to rider coach Gareth McKee and mechanic Gareth Skelly for giving up their time to help make these races possible.