Ulster Cyclo-Cross


Ulster XC Series


All Ireland CX 2017


Information for race organisers

There is a lot of useful information about organising off-road races on the Cycling Ireland Off-road commission website.  This information is geared towards running a cross-country race but there is a lot of cross-over of information.  Click here to read this document.

A sample checklist of things to remember to bring along on race day is given below.  Feel free to share any other tips / ideas for best practice so that this list becomes fully comprehensive.  The Ulster series is supported by the Cycling Ulster Off-road Commission (CUORC).

Ensure your event is 'approved'
Request an indemnity for insurance cover of the site where the race will take place
Request an event licence form  (previously known as "one-day licence forms").  Use the 'ContactUs' link on the Cycling Ireland website (www.cyclingireland.ie


Sign on
Kitty / float (suggest 5 x bags of £1 coins (20 per bag), 20 x £5 notes = £200)
Sign on sheets (supplied by Martin or the registration company after pre-registration closes)
Clipboards and Pens
One-day licence form A3 size - (download guidance notes here - PDF)
Notice to show the start time of races + number of laps - example here
Race numbers (for youth and MTB support race)  - supplied by CUORC
Shoulder numbers  (for cyclo-cross race) - supplied by CUORC
Cable ties (3 per race number - 400-500)
Notice to say which shoulder the number should be worn on - example left shoulder, right shoulder

Race administration
Gazebo (to protect the timekeepers from the elements)
Table and chairs
Clipboards and pens

Sequence sheets (to record the race numbers crossing the line irrespective of race category) - download an example here

Timing sheets - (to record both race number and time) - download an example here

Prize giving sheet (to transfer the names of the winners onto) - download an example here

Stop watches (2 or more)
Whistle (to start the races)
Chequered flag
Lap board
Bell (for the final lap)
Sign on sheet for marshals (all marshals must be aged 18 or over)
Race radios (the Cycling Ulster Off-road commission have a set of 12 radios)
Spare barrier tape
Signage for the Under 6s, Under 8s, 10s, 12s, 14s, MTB and CX courses (can be supplied by CUORC if needed)
Cable cutters, snips, scissors (to remove the race plates after the race is finished)
Large bucket or box to collect the race numbers  (CUORC has a large bucket with cable cutters attached)
Bins and/or bin bags for riders to throw in their rubbish


  • Head timekeeper - to record manually all the race positions and times (using timing sheets above)
  • Sequence writer - records all the race numbers (no times) using the sequence sheets above
  • Caller / Spotter - to call out the race numbers to the timekeepers
  • Laptop operator - to type in the race number into the laptop.  Laptop training provided by CUORC. For U8 to U12 only.
  • Auxiliary timekeeper - to record the race numbers of the girls in the youth races.  Useful to sort out race results quickly
  • Assistant- to hold the lap boards, ring the final lap bell, wave the chequered flag
  • Race number remover / timing chip remover (if applicable) - someone to remove the race numbers from riders who have finished their race.  (or someone to return the timing chips if they are used)
  • Head marshal / marshal co-ordinator - to co-ordinate all the marshals - communicate via radio what is happening at the race and passing on instructions to the marshals
  • Marshals - wearing brightly colours bibs and holding radios / communicating via mobile phone
  • Sign on chief - person with most knowledge of race licences required, looking after the one-day licence forms and annual licence forms.
  • Sign on assistances - dealing with sign on, taking in money, issuing race numbers with 3 cable ties or pieces of string / wire
  • Catering staff


Podium (1, 2, 3)
If you are part of the Ulster Cyclo-cross series then a podium backdrop will be supplied
Medals for youth riders [30] (10 gold, 10 silver and 10 bronze) - supplied by CUORC if your event is part of the Ulster Cyclo-cross series
Envelopes for cash prizes for seniors  - supplied by CUORC if your event is part of the Ulster cyclo-cross series


Tea, coffee, cold water, cordial
Milk, sugar
Cups, plates, spoons, Knife
Napkins, table cloths, kitchen roll
Rubbish bags / bins


If an ambulance is being provided ensure that it can have access onto the course and has a clear path to the road for taking casualities for transfer to a regular ambulance
If an ambulance is not being provided ensure that there is a first aid station clearly marked and that first aid personnel are wearing distinctive clothing
Ensure the first aid personnel have a means of communicating with the race organiser (mobile phone and radio).  When the first aid personnel are in position check that this communication works before the races begin


If portable toilets are being used -  have a minimum of 3 on site
For on-site facilities or portable toilets ensure there is sufficient supplies of toilet roll and soap.  Have someone check this during race day


NOTE: If you do not have a particular item from the above list then get in touch with Martin asap so that arrangements can be made.


Ensure the course is cleared of tape, posts, signs and, most importantly, rubbish
Provide the Chief Commissaire with the sign on sheets and all manual timing sheets.
If there were any event licence forms used, then send the white copy to Cycling Ireland along with a cheque for the amount paid.


A cyclo-cross race circuit should meet the following criteria.

The overall length should be between 2.5 and 3.5 km
Minimum of 3 metres wide - that is 3 metres on the ground not just between the trees!
If you have a wide section of course then tape it out to 6 metres wide
Starting straight - 200 metres in length, at least 6 metres wide
Finishing straight - 100 metres in length, at 4 metres wide
Maximum 6 obstacles for the riders to dismount
Only one artificial obstacle which can consist of two planks 4-6 metres apart.  The planks must not exceed 40 centimetres in height.  Also ensure the riders' feet cannot slip under the plank.
If you are part of the Ulster Cyclo-cross series then the planks will be supplied

More details of the course design requirements are shown below (extracted from the Cycling Ireland Technical rules 2012).

Support races
If there are any mountain bike (MTB) support races then the riders should avoid having to go over any artificial obstacles.
For the youth races, the Under 16s and Under 14s should be capable of completing laps of the main circuit as per the MTB support race.  The Under 14s should do less laps than the Under 16s. 
Youth races for the Under 12s, 10s and 8s should be on a short circuit(s) set up with the following criteria

1. The races should be over a minimum of 2 laps
2. The course should be easily identified with signage showing race direction and clear signage at any splits in the course.
3. A finish line should be clearly marked.
4. In terms of duration, the aim is to have a race length of 4-8 minutes for the Under 8s, 5 - 10 minutes for the Under 10s and 8 - 15 minutes for the Under 12s.
5. Marshals in place at junctions and at locations where the circuit would be challenging for very young riders.

Types of courses
For mountain bike cross-country courses the youth should experience a variety of terrain with increased levels of difficulty as they move up through the age categories.
There is no set distance required, more a guidance on time taken to complete the course.

Guide to race lengths
Under 6s - around 1-2 minutes
Under 8s - around 5 minutes (4-8 minutes)
Under 10s - around 10 minutes (8-12 minutes)
Under 12s - around 15 minutes (12-17 minutes)
Under 14s - around 30 minutes
Under 16s - around 50 minutes

Number of laps
Ideally aim to have a course with 3 laps for the Under 8s, 10s, 12s.
Under 14s (2-4 laps)
Under 16s (to match the Senior 4 men)

Pit area
Set aside a pit area that riders can ride into.  It should be on a straight piece of track.  The pit lane should be at least 3 metres wide and have barriers or similar for riders to rest their spare bikes and/or wheels against.  CUORC can supply yellow flags for the start and end of the pit lane.

For your event
Club banners or banners from sponsors



1. Above and beyond any legal or administrative issues that apply, and each person’s responsibility for their own protection, the organiser shall ensure that the course does not constitute a danger to the riders or the public.

2. A cyclo cross course shall include roads, country and forest paths, and meadowland alternating in such a way to ensure changes in the pace of the race and allowing riders to recuperate after difficult sections.

3. The course shall be rideable in all circumstances whatever the climatic conditions. Clay or easily flooded areas should be avoided as should streams or rivers.

4. The course shall form a closed circuit of a minimum recommended length of 2.5 kms and maximum length of 3.5 kms of which at least 90% shall be rideable.

5. Over its full length the course should be a minimum of 3 mts wide and be well marked and protected. The use of harmful elements such as wire (barbed or not) and metal poles shall be forbidden. Moreover the course shall not approach any object that could constitute a danger to the riders.

6. The starting straight shall be at least 200 mts long and at least 6 mts wide. It shall be as straight as possible and not run downhill. The first narrowing or obstacle after the starting stretch shall not be abrupt but shall allow all the riders to pass easily. The first bend shall be less than a full right angle turn.

7. The finishing straight shall be at least 100 mts in length and 4 mts wide and shall be either flat or uphill.

8. The start and finish straights shall be free of obstacles.

9. The course shall contain a maximum of 6 obstacles that oblige riders to dismount. The length of an obstacle should not be longer than 80 mts and the total length of obstacles may not exceed 10% of the total course.

10. Steps may not be places on downhill stretches.

11. The course can contain one artificial obstacle, which can consist of two wooden planks 4 -6 mts apart. They may not be greater than 40 cms high and shall be the full width of the course. The space between the two planks shall be completely filled in.

12. The course may cross bridges or footbridges provided that they are at least 3 mts wide and that there is a protective barrier on both sides. A non-slip surface (carpet wire-mesh etc) shall be used on these.

13. No acrobatics on the part of the riders shall be required to overcome obstacles.

14. The pit is the only part of the circuit where riders can change wheels or bicycles.  Refreshments can also only be taken on from the pit lane with the exclusion of the first and last lap.

15. If possible two pits shall be provided placed carefully around the course in places where speeds are not high but not on stony or downhill stretches. They shall be straight and free from artificial obstacles. If during each lap riders pass two points sufficiently close to each other then just one pit, known as a double pit may be set up. In the National Cyclo Cross Championship a Double Pit arrangement must be used as indicated in the UCI regulations.

16. There should be a race lane and a pit lane through each pit. And these lanes should be indicated by tape and signs.

17. To the side of the pit lane shall be the mechanics area, which should be at least 2 mts deep.

18. Riders may change wheels or bicycles at any pit.

19. The pit lane may only be used by the rider to effect a change or wheel or bicycle and this must only occur within the pit area and at the same point. He must not discard his machine in order to cause an obstruction to other competitors using the pit lane.

20. A rider arriving at the end of the pit and deciding that he wishes to change his wheels or bike must proceed to the next pit.

21. A rider may only enter the pit lane at its designated start and may not move between race lane and pit lane.

22. The exchange of wheels or bikes between riders is forbidden.

23. All riders must start with one foot on the ground. Riders causing a false start may be disqualified.

24. Races should not normally exceed 50 minutes in duration for Seniors and 40 minutes for Juniors.

25. The start of the last lap will be designated by the ringing of a bell.

26. All riders will finish on the same lap as the winner.

27. The National Cyclo Cross Championship shall be held on the 2nd weekend of the year.

28. Only bikes described in the Equipment Regulations Appendix AT2 as “cyclo cross bikes” may be used in the National Cyclo Cross Championships.

29. For the National Cyclo Cross Championship a starting grid arrangement should be used to seed the riders. This grid must be approved by the Chief Commissaire. Preference should be given to the leaders of any current National Cyclo Cross Leagues, that have been run on a scratch basis. Failing this preference should be give to the highest placed riders in the previous years championship.