Ulster Cyclo-Cross

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All Ireland CX 2017

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Date: Sunday 6 December 2015
Event: Ulster Cyclo-cross Round 9
Location: Falls Park, Belfast
Host club: VC Glendale

The 9th and final round of the Ulster Cyclo-cross series for 2015 took place at Falls Park in Belfast.  The is the second year that VC Glendale has hosted an event at this venue and they wish to thank Belfast City Council and the park wardens for their assistance.  As per last year, the start/finish line for all race categories was on one of the main tarmac paths.  The youth (Under 6s to Under 12s) course was located in their own separate area with the main course similar to last year taking in the multiple levels of the park.  As per last year the host club had put in a big effort both in the design and banners around the course.  Sign on was in the pavilion which also has shower facilities and a great kitchen.  The weather in the lead up to the event was very wet (storm Desmond was raging the day before) making for some very muddy conditions.  Thankfully race day was dry and bright with little wind, but it was cold.

Racing got underway around 10:30 with the Under 6s.  Seventeen youth riders lined up for two laps of a short course.  All the riders got a goodie bag with sponsored items afterwards.  The Under 8s then had to be gridded before they began their two lap race of the main youth course.  Rhys Hepburn (Island Wheelers) took the win in the boys race ahead of Fionn McCloskey (Roe Valley CC) with Aidan McAleenan (Trail Demons CC) finishing third.  In was an Apollo CT one-two in the girl's race with Aisling Smyth beating Caitlin Hanna and leaving Beth Campbell (Xmtb McConvey Cycles) to complete the podium places.

The Under 10s race then got underway with the young riders completing four laps of the youth course.  As per all the youth races, the boys start first, then a few seconds later, the girls start.  However, as has become almost regular, the top girl, Aine Doherty (VC Glendale) sets off with a mission to overtake all the boys and finish first overall.  This is what transpired at Falls Park this year with Aine in the lead at the end of the first lap.  The podium for the boys race saw
Reuben Maitland (Killinchy CC) on the top step with Calum Hepburn (Island Wheelers) second and Oran Anderson from the host club third.  Joining Aine on the podium was Cara Moffitt (Phoenix CC), who finished second, and Aliyah Rafferty (Island Wheelers) who was third.

The Under 12s were given 6 laps of the youth course to do.  As is the norm, the boys' race was a dominated by riders from Island Wheelers with Adam Rafferty taking gold, Scott Roberts silver and Oisin Ferrity bronze.  In the girls' race, the contest for the top stop was between the riders from Trail Demons CC with Hannah Mullin beating club mate Lily McGibbon. Clodagh Doherty from the host club took the final podium spot.

The next racers gathered at the bottom of the tarmac path where they were gridded, the Under 16s off first, followed by the Under 14s, then the mountain bike men.  The Under 14s had to do 3 laps of the main course with the Under 16s and MTB men having to do 5 laps.  Craig McCarthy and Thomas Creighton, both from Xmtb McConvey Cycles) finished first and second respectively in the Under 16s race with Breándan Flannagan (Ballymoney CC) third. Summer McGibbon (Trail Demons CC) took the win in the Under 16 girls race with Niamh McKiverigan (Powerhouse Sport) second and Georgia Morrison (VC Glendale) third.  In the Under 14s race, Darren Rafferty (Island Wheelers) took the win with Ciaran Dixon (Phoenix CC) second and Ben Wilson (Dromara Cycling Club) third. Maria McAllister (Island Wheelers) won the U14 girls race finishing ahead of Ellie Kelso (East Tyrone Cycling Club) with Maia Simmons (North Down CC) finishing third. In the mens' mountain bike support race, Scott Maitland (Killinchy CC) took his second win of the series as he finished ahead of Mickey Clarke (Shimna Wheelers) with Tommy McKenna (Carn Wheelers) finishing third in his first race of the 2015 Ulster cyclo-cross series.

Next it was the turn of the women and cyclo-cross B' race men.  The cyclo-cross women's race and the mountain bike women's race were separate but started on the same whistle.  Two minutes the large field of 60 cyclo-cross B' race men started with both race categories having to complete 5 laps of the course.  Claire Oakley (Xmtb McConvey Cycles) got her fourth win of the series in the cyclo-cross women's race finishing ahead of Gill Smith (Phoenix CC) and Diane Wilson (Dromara Cycling Club).  In the mountain bike women's race Trudy Brown (VC Glendale) got her sixth win of the series as she finished well clear of the Apollo CT riders Angie Smith and Nicola Nelson.  The cyclo-cross men's B' race finish was of great excitement to the host club as they had two of their riders in the top three.  A big crowd had gathered to watch the close finish between Colm Watson (VC Glendale) and Michael McMullan (North Down CC) with Colm out-sprinting Michael on the tarmac finish straight.  Sean Maguire (VC Glendale) was unchallenged in third spot as he finished over a minute ahead of Paul Watson (Dromara Cycling Club).  

The final race of the day was for the cyclo-cross A' race men who had to complete 6 laps of the course.  The favourites were lined up on the front row of the grid, Roger Aiken (Team Asea) who has had two wins this season, and Glenn Kinning (Kinning Cycles) who has had three wins.  The 52 riders got off to a clean start on a muddy course!  Having a second bike waiting in the pit area was almost essential for the riders as the mud from the Park was particularly sticky this year.  When the riders came into view at the end of the first lap, Roger Aiken was already well ahead of the chasing pack.  Roger continued to pull away from his rivals on each lap and had a comfortable finish of almost 3½ minutes.  The battle for second place came down to the last few corners with Barry Kellett (Dromara Cycling Club) just losing out to Glenn Kinning making for an exciting finish.  Christopher McGlinchy (ChainReaction Cycles) finished fourth and was the first of the Espoir riders, Graham Boyd (Xmtb McConvey Cycles) was fifth with Jason Henry sixth and first of the M40 riders.  First unplaced junior was Adam Duff (Xmtb McConvey Cycles) and first unplaced M50 was Des Woods (Newry Wheelers).

After the races the riders could use the showers before heading in to the main hall of the pavilion where there was hot soup, tea & coffee and a large spread of sandwiches.  The hall proved a great location for the prize giving as well as the final raffle draw provided by ChainReaction Cycles.

A superb event from VC Glendale and a big thank you to all the volunteers who contributed on putting on the event.  Many thanks to the series sponsor - ChainReaction Cycles Flagship store in Belfast.

Report by Martin Grimley

Commissaires: Martin Grimley, Lisa Millar and Gary Sheils.

Results here

Photos
Belgium project - FlickR - here
Richard Cowan - Facebook - here and here
Toby Watson - Facebook - here and here
Jim Halferty - Facebook - here