𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙐𝙡𝙨𝙩𝙚𝙧 𝘾𝙝𝙖𝙢𝙥𝙞𝙤𝙣𝙨𝙝𝙞𝙥 𝘾𝙓 event took place on Sunday 10th December at Cyclo-cross NI
Host club Velocity Road Club using the permanent track owned by James Wilson.

The successful running of the event is down to everyone who gets together, even in the most miserable conditions.

Big shout out to all volunteers who despite the weather smiled and cheered along the way as well as Velocity and James Wilson for making the event happen.

Everyone that turned up and raced in the mud deserves a medal, or would maybe like in on the goodie bag action (hoping there were some Haribo in there).

As the 2023 season draws to the end, we look forward to watching our talented riders thrive in 2024

Thanks to Cycling Ulster Off-road for such an in-depth report on the weekends CX event below.

The 2023 Ulster Cyclo-cross Championships took place on Sunday 10 December at CyclocrossNI in Portadown, a permanent cyclocross track owned by James Wilson. Host club for the event was Velocity Road Club who had lots of members on site covering all the key roles. The championships mark the end of the season of cyclo-cross in Ulster. Entries were lower than expected with just 126 signed up. The weather in the lead up to the event had been very wet. It wasn’t a surprise to see the mud on site but the efforts by James over the last two years, with the installation of major drainage works, meant that there was no lying water around the course. James had been busy, since the last event held at this venue back in November, with an expansion of the start/finish area and a rerouting of the youth courses. The skies were overcast on the morning of the race with some light showers. In the afternoon the clouds did break and the site was bathed in warm sunshine.

Starting the day were the non-championship youth races, for Under 6s, Under 8s, Under 10s and Under 12s. The Under 6s race had 5 young riders taking on two laps around the mini course. All received goodie bags at the finish.

The Under 8s then lined up for 3 laps of their course. Daithi Hughes (Square Wheels) added another win to his successful season. James Kavanagh (Lakeland) was second with Séan McGahan (Square Wheels) third. There were just two entries in the girls’ race with Ríonach Campbell (Square Wheels) crossing the finish before Sarah McKeegan (Team Madigan C.C.).

The Under 10s course was longer than the Under 8s and they also had 3 laps to complete. In the boys’ race it was Ulster series winner Lewis Bell (Lisburn BMX Club) who went on to take the win today. Leo Gallagher (Shelbourne/Orchard CC) was second with Conor McGahan (Square Wheels) third. Like Lewis, Ruby Millar (Square Wheels) had won the series and also won the girls’ race at Portadown. Fiadh Craig (VC Glendale) was second with Sophia Campbell (Phoenix CC) finishing third.

The Under 12s course took in about half a lap of the main course. Daragh Quigley (Foyle CC) stormed around the 4 laps to claim victory in the boys’ race. Jack McGahan (Square Wheels) was second with William Sunderland (Lisburn BMX Club) third and Nathan Baker (Breffni Wheelers) fourth. There were just two entries in the girls’ race. Aoife Campbell (Square Wheels) managed to pass all the boys apart from Daragh to take a fine win in the girls’ race. Amelia Finnegan (Square Wheels) was second.

The first of the championship races then took place with the Under 14s, Under 16s and Women taking on the full course. In the Under 14 boys’ race Rory McCool (Square Wheels) repeated his performance from last week to take the win. Corran McCourt (VC Glendale) was second with Kealan Doherty (Foyle CC) third. In the Under 14 girls’ race Aoife Craig (VC Glendale) took the win ahead of Ava Baker (Breffni Wheelers) with Aoife Kellett (Dromara Cycling Club) third and Skye Spence (Shimna Wheelers Cycling Club) fourth.

Curtis McKee (Scott Bright Motor Group) managed to pull away from James Armstrong (VC Glendale) at the end of lap 1 of 3 and stayed clear to the finish in the Under 16 boys’ race. James was second with Caleb McGreevy (VC Glendale) completing the podium with third place. In the Under 16 girls’ race Emer Heverin (Kinning Cycles Cycling Club) finished well ahead of Aisha Gannon (Breffni Wheelers) and Cara Suckling (VC Glendale) who finished second and third respectively.

The Women all raced together but there were Ulster medals for the top 3 juniors, seniors and masters. The Women’s race was held over 4 laps and it was Junior rider Aliyah Rafferty (Island Wheelers) who took the chequered flag, finishing just over a minute ahead of another Junior rider, Aine Doherty (VC Glendale). First of the masters was Eimear Nicholls (Inspired Cycling) who finished third overall. First Senior rider was Elena Wallace (Harps CC) was finished fourth overall just ahead of second Senior rider Darcey Harkness (VC Glendale).

Women Junior
1-Aliyah Rafferty (Island Wheelers)
2-Aine Doherty (VC Glendale)

Women Senior
1-Elena Wallace (Harps CC)
2-Darcey Harkness (VC Glendale)
3-Laura Birley (Un-Attached Ulster)

Women Master
1-Eimear Nicholls (Inspired Cycling)
2-Trudy Brown (VC Glendale)
3-Caroline Martinez (Chain Reaction Cycles)

For the next championship race there were Junior men, M50s and M60s. Cameron Henry (Inspired Cycling) was the runaway success in the 4 lap Junior men’s race. Ashton Moore (Strabane Lifford Cycling Club) finished second with Calum McMonagle (Foyle CC) third. In the M50s race, Declan McEntee (Emyvale CC) managed to get ahead of Jason Henry (Inspired Cycling) and kept ahead of him until the finish line. Jason had to settle for second. Des Woods (Inspired Cycling) was third with Eamon Loney (Un-Attached Ulster) fourth and David McKee (VC Glendale) fifth. Visiting rider Lloyd Moore (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) won the M60s race but didn’t qualify for the Ulster medal. That went to Derek Patterson with Liam O’Connor (Bann Wheelers CC) picking up the silver and Derek King (Apollo Cycling Team) the bronze.

The final championship races were for the Senior men and M40s. They were both held over 5 laps. The course, at this stage, had become very churned up with lots of sections involving bike carrying rather than bike riding. Well out in front, in a league of his own, was Kevin McCambridge (Trinity Racing) who won the Senior men’s race. Graham Boyd (McConvey Cycles) was second with Eoghan McGuigan (Dromara Cycling Club) third, Jonny Adams (Killinchy Cycling Club) fourth and Mark McGrady (Verulam Reallymoving) fifth. In the M40s race Glenn Kinning (Kinning Cycles Cycling Club) lead all 5 laps and managed to pass all the Senior riders apart from Kevin McCambridge. Barry Convery (Newry Wheelers CC) finished second with David O’Neill (Inspired Cycling) taking third after a great battle with Barry Kellett (Dromara Cycling Club) who had to settle for fourth.

Many thanks to all the volunteers from Velocity Road Club for coming out in force to run the race. Thanks to James Wilson for the use of the site. A big thanks to all the riders, support crew, parents and spectators for making this event and the Ulster series a success. Thanks to our photographer Toby Watson and to Dany Blondeel and the Belgium Project for race commentary, interviews and photos. James Wilson had arranged a videographer to cover the event and the drone was seen throughout the day. Link to the video to follow.

Commissaires: Jim Adams and Martin Grimley

Find race results here

Check out Toby Watson’s pictures to get a feel for the day.