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Report - Round 4 - 2016

Date: Sunday 30 October 2016
Event: Ulster Cyclo-cross Round 4
Location: St. Columbs Park, Londonderry 
Host club: Foyle CC

Round 4 of the 2016 Ulster Cyclo-cross series saw the return to St. Columb's Park in Londonderry with Foyle CC hosting.  Headquarters for the event was in the Foyle Arena which has to be the best sign on area of the series.  The centre also offers great changing facilities and warm showers.  The course was down in the main park with the start and finish for all events taking place on the gravel running track.  The course has a mix of grass and tarmac path and, with the dry weather in the lead up to the event, the ground conditions lead to fast racing.  Last year seen the arrival of storm Clodagh with rain and strong waves, whereas this year the flags were hanging limp and the conditions were warm.

With the city putting on some great Halloween events, including a funfair only a short distance away and more events taking place in the city centre, there was an opportunity to make a whole weekend out of the race.  The clocks also went back on Saturday evening so everyone had an extra hour in bed before travelling.

The day started with the Under 6s fun race with 14 young riders lined up for one lap of a short course starting on the running track and returning on the grass beside the football pitch.  At the finish all the riders received a goodie bag for their effort.

Next up were the Under 8s who had to complete two laps of the junior course which headed up through the trees onto the path before cutting right and onto the grass field before dropping back down the slope onto the running track.  In the boys race Rhys Hepburn (Island Wheelers) did it again and took his fourth win out of four events.  Ethan Casey (Trail Demons CC) was second with Evan Wynne from the local club finishing third.  In the girls race Aoife Craig (VC Glendale) had her second win of the series with Emma Daly (Island Wheelers) second and Aoife Kellett (Dromara Cycling Club) third.

The Under 10s used the same course but had to complete 4 laps.  Having a great close race were Calum Hepburn (Island Wheelers) and Harry Hobbs (VC Glendale) with Calum taking the win.  Finishing third was Conor Murphy (Rostrevor Mountain Bike Club).  In the girls race Aliyah Rafferty (Island Wheelers) had another great win, a clean sweep this season, with Aisling Smyth (Apollo CT) second and club mate Caitlin Hanna third.

The Under 12s race was next and they had to complete 6 laps of the junior course.  It was a great ding-dong battle between the Island Wheelers lads Adam Rafferty and Oisin Ferrity with Adam just getting ahead of Oisin at the line.  Travis Harkness (Carn Wheelers) lead the chasing pack to finish third.  In the girls race Hannah Mullin (Trail Demons CC) was a clear winner with club mates Keela Smyth and Erin Hanna, both from Apollo CT, taking second and third respectively.

After a short break, to allow for prize giving for the youth races, the next races took place with a large field of 85 riders in the B' race and 20 riders in a separate mountain bike mens support race.  Both had to complete 5 laps of the senior course.  In the CXB race Colin Deane (Ballymena Road Club) took a narrow win over Matt McLaughlin (Phoenix CC) with Aaron Baines (Spinning Banbridge) just 3 seconds behind.  In the mountain bike mens event Calvin Moore (Caldwell Cycles Omagh) powered his way around the course to finish first overall with Oleksii Kolbasko (Xmtb McConvey Cycles) second and Gary Thompson (Maryland Wheelers) third.  On a positive note of generosity Garrett Green (Velo Café Magasin) managed to wreck his bike during practice and was truly thankful when a rider from Carn Wheelers loaned him a bike to race on.  It was also great to see Raymond Dunlop (Lakeland CC) back racing after suffering a stroke back in September.

Next up were the races for the Cyclo-cross women, mountain bike women, Under 16s and Under 14s.  The Under 16s boys started first, followed one minute later by the Under 14 boys then the CX women, MTB women, U16 women and U14 women.  The Under 14s had 3 laps to complete with all others racing 5 laps.  The Cyclo-cross women's race was an exciting battle between Trudy Brown (VC Glendale) and Gill Smith (Phoenix CC) with Trudy taking the win.  Emma Casey (Trail Demons CC) finished third.  In the womens' mountain bike support race Angie Smyth (Apollo CT) came home first ahead of Alison McMullan (North Down CC) with Nicola Nelson (Apollo CT) completing the podium.  In the Under 16s boys race Lee Harvey (Xmtb McConvey Cycles) put on a strong performance with Drew Armstrong (Killinchy CC) second and Jake Rushby (North Down CC) taking bronze.  In the Under 16 girls race Méabh Flannagan (Ballymoney CC) took gold with Darcey Harkness (Carn Wheelers) silver and Niamh McKiverigan (Powerhouse Sport) bronze.  In the Under 14 boys race Ryan Skelly (Carn Wheelers) took the win ahead of Odhran Doogan (Errigal Cycling Club) and Adam McGeever (AAA).  In the girls U14 race Maia Simmons (North Down CC) took her first win of the series with Maria McAllister (Island Wheelers) second and Katie Neill (Carn Wheelers) third.

The final race of the day was for the cyclo-cross mens' A' race. 51 riders took to the start line for 7 laps starting from the back of the goal posts on the football pitch, with a full lap of the gravel running track before heading up into the trees.  The top 5 riders kept changing positions each time they went past the timing tent.  Barry Kellett (Dromara Cycling Club), Dominic McCartan (Apollo CT), Glenn Kinning (Kinning Cycles), Graham Boyd (Xmtb McConvey Cycles) and Roger Aiken (Asea Wheelworx) kept us all guessing as to who would make the podium in the end. Roger has won each race so far this season but it was late in the race before he took to the front and went on to win.  Barry had a super race to finish second with Graham third, Dominic fourth and Glenn fifth.  Christian Nachtigall (Phoenix CC) was sixth with Jason Henry 7th overall and first unplaced M40.  Des Woods (Newry Wheelers CC) was first unplaced M50, first unplaced Espoir was Peter Davison (Dromara Cycling Club) and first unplaced Junior was Matthew McAllister (Island Wheelers).  Winning the team prize was Dromara Cycling Club.

After the races the riders enjoyed a great spread of food in the Foyle Arena where the prize giving took place.  A big thanks to the all the volunteers from Foyle CC who helped to bring the event together.  The next round will take place at Windmill Park in Dungannon.  For more details see www.ulstercyclocross.com.

Commissaires: Martin Grimley, Lisa Millar

Report by Martin Grimley

Results here

Photos

Richard Cowan (Facebook) - here
Bronagh Kirk (own website) - here
Foyle CC (Facebook) - here
Belgium project (FlickR) - here
Report on LovelyBike - here