Ulster Cyclo-Cross


Ulster XC Series


All Ireland CX 2017


Date: Sunday 11 January 2015
Event: Irish National Cyclo-cross Championships 2015
Location: River Valley, Swords, Co. Dublin
Host club: Swords CC

The 2015 Irish National Cyclo-cross Championships was held at River Valley Park in Swords County Dublin on Sunday 11 January 2015.  Host club Swords Cycling Club, under the event management of Dave O'Neill, had created a tough course which utilized the different levels of terrain at the park.  The car park, sign on and finish line were up on the upper level, with the double pits located at the bottom of the slope.  There were plenty of spots for the spectators to watch the action but the main crowd was located at the top of the slope which had full view of the pits, the wide grass hill to watch the riders carrying their bikes up as well as the zig zag descent of the hill with its multiple 180o off-camber turns.  Many thanks to the local council for the use of the park and to the local fire service for providing hoses to get water down to the pit area.  It was a cold day with temperatures around 3o degrees with a strong head wind to test the the riders as crossed the finish line and headed out towards the football pitches.  The day remained mostly dry with only a light rain shower around noon which didn't last long.

There were three race times.  At 11:15 the support race got underway.  The riders included some Under 16s, those without an "IRL" on their race licence, some mountain bike riders and, of course, those who felt that racing the championships was too much for them.  Young rider Cian May (Team WORC) took the win, with Paul O'Reilly second and Constantin Bartels (St. Tiernan's Cycling Club) third.  Natalie Grieve (Sundrive Track Club) was the first female with Jessica Lamb (St. Tiernan's Cycling Club) second and Orla Conroy (Bray Wheelers) third.

The first of the championship races started at 12:30 with the Senior Women's race.  They were followed three minutes later by the Juniors who were in turn followed one minute later by the Masters race.  The women's race had 13 entries but only 11 made it to the start line with winter illnesses claiming the rest.  Nine Juniors had entered with 8 lining up just in front of the large group of 65 Masters which included a mix of age groups from the M40, M50 and M60 age groups.  All three categories had to complete 6 laps of the course.  In the Women's race Fran Meehan (Team Aqua Blue) set out for her sixth cross championship title and didn't disappoint the crowd finishing well clear of the other contenders.  Making a long trip over from the United Stated was Maria Larkin (Chicago Cuttin Crew) who finished second with Claire Oakley (Xmtb McConvey Cycles) finishing off her great season with the bronze medal.  In the Junior race, with Cameron McIntyre (Banbridge CC) as a no show it was going to be a contest between James Curry (Banbridge CC) and David Conroy (Donnybrook Landscape Co/Scott) but it was to be James' day as he started to pull away from David from lap 2 onwards to finish over a minute and a half ahead of David.  Gareth Hegerty, also from Donnybrook Landscape Co/Scott,  took the final position on the podium.  In the Masters race there was a crash on the tarmac lane shortly after the starting whistle which held up a large amount of the riders.  Thankfully all riders got back on and chased after those that got away.  Up ahead there was a great battle between Jason Henry and the Newry Wheelers riders Des Woods and Peter McConville, which, after 6 laps was down to less than 1 minute between the top three with Jason delighted to get gold, Des silver and Peter the bronze.  Colm McGarvey (Epic MTB) was fourth, Aiden McDonald (Cuchulainn CC) fifth and Anthony Doyle (Velo Revolution) sixth.

At 2 pm the final race of the day got underway with the Senior Men's race which was held over 7 laps of the course.  There was a big field of 43 riders with 8 cry offs including the legend of Irish off-road racing, Robin Seymour, who had come down with illness in the week leading up to the race and was not able to compete or make an appearance on the day.  Also missing from this year's race was last year's champion Roger Aiken who had chosen not to ride any cyclo-cross races this season and was concentrating on preparing for road racing in 2015.  Roger was, however, on site in the pits area helping to wash bikes for fellow club riders.  As per the Masters race there was a crash on the tarmac lane just after the starting whistle but this time one rider, Alex Donald, did not rejoin the race after suffering an ankle injury.  The race again held back the majority of the field including David Montgomery (ChainReaction Cycles) who has spent most of his season racing in England and was gridded at the back.  David, however, wasted no time in bearing down on the race leader, Glenn Kinning (Kinning Cycles) who has had a great season of racing in Ulster winning the series and the Ulster Championships.   David caught up and passed Glenn and continued to stretch away from the field.  Tim O'Regan, who had also spent much of the season racing in England, had been chasing hard after Glenn and, in front of the crowd with Richie Bryne commentating, passed Glenn on the run up the grassy hill.  Tim pulled away from Glenn which finished in that order David, Tim and Glenn.  Sean O'Tautail (Bray Wheelers) finished fourth with Graham Boyd (Xmtb McConvey Cycles) fifth and Evan Ryan (Team WORC) sixth.  Team WORC won the team prize when Stuart Galloway and Gavin O'Connell crossed the line.  

After the races the riders were able to enjoy a great spread of cakes, sandwiches, tea and coffee but the highlight was the chicken curry with rice which really hit the spot on a cold January day.  Many thanks to all the hard working volunteers for pulling together the event.  

Paul Watson, Gary McIlroy and Dave O'Connell

Report by Martin Grimley

Results here
(with lap times)

Report on Cycling Ulster - here
Reports on Stickybottle.com - here, here, here, here and here

Adrian Van der Lee (own website) - here
Karen M Edwards  (own website) - here
David McVeigh (FlickR) - here
Sean Rowe (Facebook) - here, here, here, here, here and here

Johnny McCabe (youtube) - here
Interviews with David Montgomery, James Curry and Jason Henry (TheBikeComesFirst) - here
Interviews with Fran Meehan, Tim O'Regan and Cian May (TheBikeComesFirst) - here
Last lap move (TheBikeComesFirst) - here