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Report - Round 5 - 2016

Date: Sunday 6 November 2016
Event: Ulster Cyclo-cross Round 5
Location: Windmill Park, Dungannon
Host club: Island Wheelers

Round 5 of the 2016 Ulster Cyclo-cross series took place at Windmill Park in Dungannon.  This was the fifth year that the host club, Island Wheelers, have ran races in this park and thanks must be given again to the Mid Ulster District Council for their continued support.  The council even provided several high quality gazebos on the day and works closely with the club in the preparation of the park.  As has come to be expected from Island Wheelers, there was a great set up with regards to the course, sign on and catering.  The club has developed their youth courses to fit inside the main course so that the youth races can take part while the seniors are practicing on the main course.  Despite the rain in the days leading up to the event, ground conditions were dry on arrival.  The day itself started off with bright autumn sunshine and clear blue skies.  There was a light shower during the youth races but it quickly cleared up and left the remainder of the day in bright sunshine again.

As usual, the first race of the day was the Under 6s fun race with 13 young riders lined up for one short lap on the grass area.  Waiting at the finish line was a goodie bag for all the riders.  Next up were the Under 8s with 15 boys lined up to start on the first whistle and 11 girls lined up behind ready to start on the second whisle.  The youth courses include the usual dismount section where the riders jump off their bikes and push them through a short section of the course before quickly remounting their bikes and continuing the lap.  Taking his fifth win out of five, in the three lap race, was Rhys Hepburn from the host club with Ethan Casey (Trail Demons) second and Jonathan Warnock (Shimna Wheelers) third.  In the girls race Emer Heverin (Castlereagh CC) took her third win of the series beating Aoife Craig (VC Glendale) who finished ahead of Emma Daly (Island Wheelers).

Next up were the Under 10s who had to complete 5 laps of the same circuit.  Lined up was a strong field of 20 boys and 10 girls.  In the girls race Aliyah Rafferty from the host club continued her unbeaten run with another win with the Apollo CT riders Aisling Smyth and Caitlin Hanna battling it out for second and third with Aisling getting the better of Caitlin.  In the boys race Harry Hobbs (VC Glendale) had to work hard to stay ahead of, newcomer to the series, Oisin May with series leader Calum Hepburn, from the host club, finishing third.

The Under 12s had to complete 7 laps of the youth course and, despite the drizzle, the riders set off at a furious pace from the line.  The boys race had 21 riders and the host club almost filled the podium with riders but Travis Harkness (Carn Wheelers) worked hard to take bronze with Shane Scullion taking silver and Adam Rafferty the gold, his fourth of the series.  In the girls race Aine Doherty (VC Glendale) was back to her winning ways after missing the race last week.  Hannah Mullin (Trail Demons) had a great race to finish second with Keela Smyth (Apollo CT) finishing third.

Prize giving for the youth races then took place before the start of the midday races.  Lined up first was the large field of 90 Cyclo-cros s B' race riders with the mens mountain bike support race setting off one minute later.  Both race categories had to complete 4 laps of the main course.  All riders got away on the separate whisles but unfortunately Sean Lyness (Apollo CT) fell on the off-camber section during the first lap of the mountain bike support race which caused a pile up.  Sean suffered a broken ankle and was removed by ambulance.  Many thanks to Dr. Fred MacSorley who stopped his race to attend to Sean along with the crew from the Order of Malta.  The organisers had quickly rerouted the course to allow racing to continue while allowing Sean to be looked after.  We wish Sean a speedy recovery.

The B' race saw the ever-popular Bob Talbot (Harps CC) finally make it onto the podium, and the top step, with Dean Burnside from the host club finishing second and Nigel Gibson (Carn Wheelers) finishing third.  All three are now obliged to compete in the A' race for the remainder of the season.  In the MTB support race Sean Featherstone (Newry Wheelers CC) took the win ahead of Cathal Hendron (Apollo CT) with Johnny Comac (Square Wheels CC) completing the podium.

Lining up next were the Cyclo-cross women, mountain bike women, Under 16s and Under 14s.  The starting line up was Under 16 boys, Under 14 boys, Cyclo-cross women, MTB women, Under 16 girls and Under 14 girls.  In the Womens' Cyclo-cross race current Irish Champion Beth McCluskey (Scott Orwell Wheelers) had another fine win but behind her there was a close battle for the remaining podium places with Trudy Brown (VC Glendale) taking second and Gill Smith (Phoenix CC) third.  In the womens' mountain bike support race Angie Smyth (Apollo CT) made it 5 wins out of 5 with Alison McMullan (North Down CC) second and Nicola Nelson (Apollo CT) third.  In the Under 16 boys race Lee Harvey (Xmtb McConvey Cycles) continued his dominance of this category taking his fifth win with Drew Armstrong (Killinchy CC) second and Jake Rushby (North Down CC) third.  In the U16 girls race Niamh McKiverigan (Powerhouse Sport) crossed the line first ahead of Darcey Harkness (Carn Wheelers) with Summer McGibbon (Trail Demons CC) third.  In the boys' Under 14s race Darren Rafferty from the host club had his third win of the series with series leader Ryan Skelly (Carn Wheelers) finishing second and Odhran Doogan (Errigal Cycling Club) third. Katie Neill (Carn Wheelers) was the first of the Under 14 girls to complete the three lap race with Maria McAllister (Island Wheelers) second and Maia Simmons (North Down CC) third.

The final race of the day was for the Cyclo-cross mens' A' race.  This was held over 6 laps of the senior course and with series leader Roger Aiken absent it was going to be a great battle to see who could take the win.  Right from the whislte there was a close battle between Graham Boyd (Xmtb McConvey Cycles), Barry Kellett (Dromara Cycling Club), Alan Bingham (Cuchulainn CC), Christian Nachtigall (Phoenix CC), Dominic McCartan (Apollo CT) and Jason Henry.  As the race went on the battle for the lead came down to Barry and Graham with both riders staying close to each other until the final lap when Barry made the gap on Graham to take the win.  Christian hung onto third despite the best efforts of Alan to close the gap.  Alan finished fourth and was the first unplaced M40 rider.  Jason went on to take fifth with Dominic finishing sixth.  Peter McConville (Newry Wheelers CC) was the first unplaced M50 with Peter Davison (Dromara Cycling Club) the first unplaced Espoir and Matthew McAllister (Island Wheelers) the first unplaced Junior.  The team prize went to Newry Wheelers when Conor Campbell, Barry Convery and Peter McConville crossed the line.

After the races the riders enjoyed a great spread of food while standing about in the glorious light of the setting sun over Windmill Park.  A big thanks to the all the hard-working volunteers from Island Wheelers who helped to bring the event together.  The next round will take place at Seacourt in Larne hosted by Team Madigan.  For more details see www.ulstercyclocross.com.

Commissaires: Martin Grimley, Lisa Millar

Report by Martin Grimley

Results here

Photos

Belgium project (FlickR) - here
Richard Cowan (Facebook) - here and here
Toby Watson (Facebook) - here