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Report - Round 6 - 2016

Date: Sunday 13 November 2016
Event: Ulster Cyclo-cross Round 6
Location: Seacourt, Larne
Host club: Team Madigan

It was a return to Seacourt in Larne for Round 6 of the 2016 Ulster Cyclo-cross series.  This is the 7th year that Team Madigan have hosted off-road cycle races at this location which boasts a great community centre with kitchen, showers and changing facilities on site.  The venue offers a wide expanse of grass area to design a course on with the designers making great use of the sloping off-camber sections.  With the elevation of the area there is a great view over the Belfast Lough allowing the spectators to watch the ships coming in and out.  There was also a separate area for the Under 6s and Under 8s to compete on.

The host club normally set up the course on the day before the race without an issue but this year their course tape had been pulled down in many places either due to overnight weather issues or persons unknown.  A big effort was required on race day morning to get the course back up and running.  Many thanks to the riders from other clubs who pitched in to get the job done.  The weather on race day started off dry with a light wind but it was quite cold.

The first race of the day was the Under 6s fun race which was one lap of the junior course.  Well done to the 11 riders who took part.  Next up were the Under 8s.  They had 3 laps to complete of the same course.  Gridding was based on the current series standings.  There were no surprises in the boys and girls races as the top 3 riders in both categories were back on the podiums again.  Rhys Hepburn (Island Wheelers) won the boys race again this time with Jonathan Warnock (Shimna Wheelers) taking second ahead of Ethan Casey (Trail Demons CC) who finished third.  In the girls' race Emer Heverin (Castlereagh CC) took her fourth win of the series with Aoife Craig (VC Glendale) coming second and Emma Daly (Island Wheelers) third.

The timekeepers then moved over to the main grass area where the Under 10s were lined up waiting to complete their course which took in around half of the main course.  The race was set to be two laps but the event organisers had under estimated just how quick these young riders can race so the race ended up shorter than normal.  In the girls race Aliyah Rafferty (Island Wheelers) continued her winning streak, 6 out of 6, with Tori Moffitt (Phoenix CC) finishing second and Caitlin Hanna (Apollo CT) third.  In the boys race Calum Hepburn (Island Wheelers) had his third win of the series with Fionn McCloskey (Roe Valley CC) second and Conor Murphy (Rostrevor Mountain Bike Club) third.

The Under 12s then lined up for 5 laps of the same course.  During their race the rain arrived and the wind picked up with very strong gusts.  The timekeepers had to scramble to re-adjust the sides on the timing gazebo as the laptop and paperwork was getting soaked and blown around.  Tough conditions to race in but the Under 12s did not seem to notice.  In the boys' race Adam Rafferty (Island Wheelers) took his 5th win of the series with fellow club mate Oisin Ferrity finishing second and Travis Harkness (Carn Wheelers) third.  The girls' podium was the same as last week with Aine Doherty (VC Glendale) getting her 5th win of the series as she finished ahead of Hannah Mullin (Trail Demons CC) with Keela Smyth (Apollo CT) third.

During the break the timing gazebo was relocated with the back of the gazebo pointing into the wind.  The prize giving took place for the Under 8s, 10s and 12s inside the warm community hall.  The young riders were able to enjoy the hot dogs put on by the catering van.

The next race started around noon with the Cyclo-cross B' race riders and, setting off one minute later, was the mens' mountain bike support race.  Both categories had to complete 6 laps of the main course.  The cold wind was still playing havoc so the riders were glad to get underway.  The course was starting to get quite muddy with the off-camber sections proving to be very challenging.  In the CXB race Henry O'Neill (Newry Wheelers CC) took the win with Edward Kearney (Phoenix CC) second and Edward Shannon (Velo Club Mourne) third.  Early leader Colm Watson (VC Glendale) suffered a few spills and dropped back to fourth.  In the MTB race Gary Thompson (Maryland Wheelers) improved on his third place at Round 4 to take the top step of the podium.  Dean Lockhart (Carn Wheelers) finished second with Gavin Thompson (Maryland Wheelers) third.

Next up were the Cyclo-cross women's race, women's mountain bike support race, the Under 16s and Under 14s races.  Setting off first were the Under 16 boys with the Under 14 boys going second then, one minute later, the CX women, MTB women, U16 girls and U14 girls.  The Under 14s had to complete 4 laps with all others completing 6.  Leading from start to finish was Lee Harvey (Xmtb McConvey Cycles) who powered around the course finishing well clear of his nearest rival Drew Armstrong (Killinchy CC) with Jake Rushby (North Down CC) completing the podium.  In the Cyclo-cross women's race Trudy Brown (VC Glendale) took her third win of the series with Gill Smith (Phoenix CC) giving chase throughout the race.  Emma Casey (Trail Demons CC) completed the podium with Emma Elder (Carn Wheelers) the first unplaced junior.  In the women's MTB race Angie Smyth (Apollo CT) took her 6th win out of 6 races with Alison McMullan (North Down CC) second and Nicola Nelson (Apollo CT) third.  Méabh Flannagan (Ballymoney CC) took gold in the girls Under 16 race with Niamh McKiverigan (Powerhouse Sport) taking silver and Darcey Harkness (Carn Wheelers) bronze.  In the Under 14s race Darren Rafferty (Island Wheelers) took his fourth win of the series with Ryan Skelly (Carn Wheelers) second and Shea O'Kane (Phoenix CC) third.  In the girls U14 race Maia Simmons (North Down CC) crossed the line first with Maria McAllister (Island Wheelers) second and Katie Neill (Carn Wheelers) third.

The final race of the day was the Cyclo-cross men's A' race.  They had to complete 8 laps of the full course.  The wind had eased and the rain had stopped but the course was now very slippery and challenging.  Missing out on lining up for the start was Scott Maitland (Killinchy CC) who managed to cut his calf in a freak accident with his own bike.  Thanks to the first aiders on site for sorting him out and getting him packed off to hospital.  Once the whisle blew the riders surged off with Christian Nachtigall (Phoenix CC) taking the early lead.  Early laps had Graham Boyd (Xmtb McConvey Cycles), Barry Kellett (Dromara Cycling Club) and Glenn Kinning (Kinning Cycles) swapping the lead.  Glenn had a mechanical around half way through the race which took him out of contention.  Coming up strongly was Roger Aiken (Team Asea) who took his lead all the way to the finish.  Chasing hard was Graham Boyd with Barry Kellett third and Glenn Kinning fourth.  Christian Nachtigall finished fifth ahead of Dominic McCartan (Apollo CT).  Alan Bingham (Cuchulainn CC) was 7th overall and the first unplaced M40 rider.  First unplaced Junior was Bréandan Flannagan (Ballymoney CC) with first unplaced M50 going to Peter McConville (Newry Wheelers CC) and first unplaced Espoir rider going to Conor Young (Kinning Cycles).  Winning the team prize was Dromara Cycling Club when Barry Kellett, David Broome and Graham Smyth crossed the line.

Once the races were over the riders headed to the warm community hall to drink tea and eat hot dogs.  The organisers occupied themselves with taking down the course, cleaning up and packing up.  The prize giving then got underway.  During the prize giving a minute's silence was observed in memory of Gerry McCabe, the Cuchulainn rider, who passed away on Friday.  Gerry was a well known cyclo-cross rider as well as mountain biker and tri-athelete.

Many thanks to Team Madigan for hosting this round.  Also thanks to Mech Monkey for providing mechanical support and to Lidl for providing some gift vouchers.  The next round will take place at Ormeau Park in Belfast and hosted by Xmtb McConvey Cycles. For more details see www.ulstercyclocross.com.

Commissaires: Martin Grimley, Lisa Millar

Report by Martin Grimley

Results here

Photos

Belgium project (FlickR) - here
Toby Watson (Facebook) - here, here and here
Bronagh Kirk (own website) - here