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Report - Round 10 - 2016

Date: Sunday 11 December 2016
Event: Ulster Cyclo-cross Round 10
Location: Castle Park, Bangor
Host club: North Down CC

Castle Park in Bangor has been running off-road cycling events since the days of black and white photographs.  Some of the riders who turned up on Sunday to race were probably in those early photos!  The race was the 10th and final round of the 2016 Ulster Cyclo-cross series and was hosted by North Down CC.  The course was based around the grass areas near the hockey pitch, went up and over the bank past the football pitches and into the woods.  It was a stretched course with the far end of the track near the town hall.  At the far end was a tricky climb with a short tarmac section before a set of steps.  The weather had remained dry and the course was quite fast.  Sign on took place in the basement area of the Aurora centre which also had showers and changing facilities.  The start/finish was on a wide grass section to the left of the hockey pitch with the pits up on the top of the hill.  A big thank you to North Down and Ards Council for the use of the site and thanks to Chain Reaction Cycles Belfast Flagship Store for providing the vouchers for the youth prizes.

Sixteen young riders lined up for the Under 6s fun race.  This was a one lap race around the back of the starting straight in a clockwise direction, coming back out for the sprint to the line.  Well done to all the young riders and to the parents who ran alongside.

Next up were the Under 8s who were gridded before they took on two laps of the youth course.  The course proved to be longer than they were used to and quite tricky up along the hill at the far side of the football pitch, however, they all made it round to the applause of the crowd of parents.  Rhys Hepburn (Island Wheelers) has dominated the series taking his 9th win.  Jonathan Warnock (Shimna Wheelers) took second with Ethan Casey (Trail Demons CC) third.  In the girls race Emer Heverin (Castlereagh CC) took her 8th win with Aoife Craig (VC Glendale) second and Emma Daly (Island Wheelers) third. This was the finishing order for the overall series which was based on the best 8 out of 10 rounds.

The Under 10s took on 3 laps of the same course.  The girls race just had 3 riders in it and finished with Aliyah Rafferty (Island Wheelers) putting on yet another fine display of racing to take her 9th win of the series.  Tori Moffitt (Phoenix CC) crossed the line in second place with Eva Daly (Phoenix CC) third.  In the boys race Conor Murphy (Rostrevor Mountain Bike Club) took his third win of the series which left him third overall (based on best 8 out of 10 rounds).  Calum Hepburn (Island Wheelers) was second on the day and finished second in the league with overall league winner Harry Hobbs (VC Glendale) finishing third at Round 10.

The Under 12s course took in the Under 10s but then extended out across the top of the hill towards the wood before turning back just before entering the trees, crossed back along the boggy section past the pits, down the switch back slope and then round to the finish line.  In the girls race Hannah Mullin (Trail Demons CC) had no Aine Doherty to chase this week so had a chance to shine on her own as she took her second win of the series.  Keela Smyth (Apollo CT) finished second with Sophie Osborne (VC Glendale) third.  In the boys race it was a full podium for Island Wheelers when Shane Scullion taking the win ahead of Adam Rafferty and Oisin Ferrity.

The podium ceremony then took place for the Under 8s, 10s and 12s.  At noon the Cyclo-cross men's B' race started and, one minute later, the mountain bike support race.  They both had to complete 5 laps of the main course.  Among the riders was our regular visitor from Scotland, David Hamill (Pedal Power RT), who finished 5th.  It was a great performance by riders from the host club North Down when they filled the podium in the CX B race.  Michael McMullan took with win with Richard McCullough second and Keith Phillips third.  Home advantage or careful strategy?  In the MTB men's support race Paul Ferguson (Powerhouse Sport) took the win with Nigel Gibson (Carn Wheelers) second and Ethan Creighton (Xmtb McConvey Cycles) third.

Next to race were the women, Under 16s and Under 14s.  The start sequence was: Under 16 boys, Under 14s boys a few seconds later, CX women at one minute followed by MTB women, Under 16 girls then Under 14 girls.  In the 5 lap CX women's race, current Irish National Champion Beth McCluskey (Scott Orwell Wheelers) put on a great display of racing to take the win.  Gill Smith (Phoenix CC) finished second at the race but first in the series.  Anne Duffy (Cuchulainn CC) completed the podium.  In the MTB women's support race there were just two entries with one of the main event organisers, Alison McMullan (North Down CC), finishing first ahead of Andra Ungureanu (Dromara Cycling Club).  In the Under 16 boys race Jake Rushby (North Down CC) got his first win of the season as he finished ahead of Ciaran Dixon (Phoenix CC) with Callum Richardson (Trail Demons CC) making the podium.  In the U16 girls race it was another close battle between Méabh Flannagan (Ballymoney CC) and Niamh McKiverigan (Powerhouse Sport) with Méabh pulling away towards the end.  Darcey Harkness (Carn Wheelers) completed the podium.  Dean Harvey (Kinning Cycles), Ryan Skelly (Carn Wheelers) and Darren Rafferty (Island Wheelers) had a close battle early on in the Under 14 boys race with Dean and Ryan pulling away to have a sprint for the line.  After 3 laps Dean just reached the finish line one second ahead of Ryan.  There were only two entries in the U14 girls race which was won by Maria McAllister (Island Wheelers) with Lily McGibbon (Trail Demons CC) second.

The men's A' race was the final race of the day.  This was a 7 lap affair.  Series leader Roger Aiken (Team Asea) was in dominant form again pulling away from the field early on and never slowing until he crossed the line.  Closest rival Glenn Kinning (Kinning Cycles) had another strong performance as he finished second well ahead of Barry Kellett (Dromara Cycling Club) who had a close battle for third with Christopher Mcglinchey (ChainReaction Cycles).  David Montgomery (ChainReaction Cycles) finished 5th, 1st unplaced Espoir.  Jason Henry and Brendan Doherty (VC Glendale) were competing for unplaced M40 rider with Jason getting 6th overall and Brendan 7th. Thomas Creighton (Xmtb McConvey Cycles) was the first unplaced Junior rider.  The team prize battle came down to a race between David Broome (Dromara Cycling Club) and John Bogues (Phoenix CC) with David getting ahead of John in the end to give team prize to Dromara CC.  John picked up the first unplaced M50 award.

After the races the riders could head to the burger van for a complimentary burger as a reward for their efforts.
A big thanks to the team of volunteers from North Down CC for putting on a great event at an excellent venue.

Next week is the Ulster Cyclo-cross championships. See www.ulstercyclocross.com for details.

Commissaires: Martin Grimley, Lisa Millar

Report by Martin Grimley

Results here

Photos

Belgium project (FlickR) - here
Bronagh Kirk (own website) - here
Richard Cowan (Facebook) - here
Sean McIntyre (Facebook) - here
Ryan Fegan (Facebook) - here