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Round 4 Bellurgan Park

Round 3 Results

Ticknock, 4th of June 2017, MAD MTB

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A great course at Ticknock for Round 3 of the XC NPS

We headed to Ticknock Forest in the Dublin Mountains for Round 3 of the 2017 Irish Cross-country Mountain Bike National Point Series (NPS). Local club, MTB Association of Dublin (“MAD” for short), know the forest intimately and had developed on last year’s course which takes in part of the mountain bike trail centre. The organisation of the day was superb, improving on an already well oiled setup, to delivery a top class event. The weather was even kind to us, as per last year, although not as warm. The race village is on a forest clearing overlooking a valley where we could watch the forecasted heavy rain clouds in the distance. For us there was a couple of light showers during the day but they quickly disappeared leaving a mixture of overcast conditions and cloudless skies. A great day for riding bicycles.

The youth riders (up to Under 12s) had their races in a separate part of the forest to the older youth and senior riders. The start for their races was on an inclined forest path which then turned sharp left and climbed up above the spectators to join a single track path. The early morning starts had not given time for the sun to warm up this part of the forest which had the timekeepers shivering at the finish line.

The first race of the day was for the Under 6s. Fourteen riders lined up, some with pedal bicycles, some with balance bikes, some with parents running behind, some too fast for parents to keep up. They had one lap to complete and all riders received a medal from the club for their efforts.

Starting next were the Under 8s. They had four laps to complete. There were only 3 entries in the girls’ race with Aoife Craig (VC Glendale) taking the win ahead of Lucy McCarthy (MBCC) and Poppy Hamilton (Shimna Wheelers Cycling Club). In the boys’ race Kevin Randall (Scott Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) was the clear winner ahead of Killian McCoy (Epic MTB / Expert Cycles) with Darragh Murphy (Rostrevor Mountain Bike Club) and Charlie Byrne battling it out for third spot.

Next up were the Under 10s who started further down the slope. They had to tackle 5 laps of an extended course to the one the Under 8s had completed. Conor Murphy (Rostrevor Mountain Bike Club) got off to a slow start but worked his way to the front of the pack and pulled away from Oisin May to take the win. Harry Hobbs (VC Glendale) chased hard but had to settle for third place. In the girls’ race Faith Robinson (Bray Wheelers) had a huge smile as she crossed the line first ahead of Hannah O’Keeffe (Epic MTB / Expert Cycles) with Maria O’Shea (IMBRC) third.

The Under 12s was a very exciting affair with Travis Harkness (Carn Wheelers) and Luke Murphy (Killarney Cycling Club) racing hard for first place across the 6 laps. Luke managed to pull away from Travis on the final lap to take the win. Oisin Ferrity (Island Wheelers) rounded off the podium as he took third after his battle with fellow club mate Shane Scullion. Aine Doherty (VC Glendale) was the single entrant in the Under 12 girls’ race but she had a great race with the boys to take 5th overall.

Race management then moved up to the race village. After prize giving for the Under 8s, 10s and 12s, conducted by DJ Paul Joyce, the riders were then gathered up at the far end of the main forest path at 12 noon. Lined up first were the Under 16 boys followed by the Under 14 boys, Senior 4 men, Under 16 girls, Under 14 girls then Senior 2 women. All had 2 laps to complete, apart from the Under 16 boys who had 3 laps. The Under 14s had a shorter course for their race with a manned junction out in the forest to direct the riders.

Looking first at the Under 14 girls’ race, Caoimhe May (Scott Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) put on another outstanding race finishing well clear of Erin Creighton (XMTB) and Annie Roche (Scott Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) who took second and third respectively. In the Under 14 boys’ race, expected winner, Dean Harvey (Kinning Cycles), didn’t disappoint as he had another great race finishing ahead of David McGarr (IMBRC), who, in turn, finished well ahead of third place rider Aaron Finnerty (Ballina Cycling Club). The Under 16 girls’ race had the usual battle between Niamh McKiverigan (Powerhouse Sport) and Darcey Harkness (Carn Wheelers) but Niamh found the course more to her suiting and finished comfortably ahead of Darcey this time. Amanda Draper (MBCC) rounded off the podium in third.

The Under 16 boys race looked set to be a great contest between Lee Harvey (Kinning Cycles), Adam McGarr (Biking.ie) and Drew Armstrong (Team Mechmonkey Mixtape) but it didn’t turn out that way. Drew didn’t even get to complete one lap as he suffered a puncture on the opening lap, Adam then punctured on lap 2. Lee was able to race unchallenged to the finish line with Harry Byrne (EPIC MTB / Expert Cycles) then coming into the spotlight to show that he can race strongly, taking second place. This left a long gap before the remaining Under 16s came through with Evan Murphy (Killarney Cycling Club) taking the third step on the podium. In the Senior 4 men’s race Radek Blaha finished first ahead of Pearse O’Hagan (Inspired Cycling) who had his 3rd second place finish of the series. Philip Hayden finished third. In the Senior 2 women’s race Caroline McArdle (EPIC MTB / Expert Cycles) was well out in front, taking the chequered flag with Leah McCarthy (MAD MTB) second and Caroline Murphy (EPIC MTB / Expert Cycles) third out of the 7 entries in this category.

After the usual break for podium presentations, practice time and refreshments, the next set of races got underway at 2 pm. First off were the Senior 1 men, followed within seconds by the Junior men. The Senior 1s had 5 laps to complete, the Juniors had 4. A minute later the Senior 2 men started on their 4 lap race. Over 2 minutes later the Senior 3 men, the biggest field of riders on the day, started their 3 lap race. There was only one entry in the Senior 1 women’s race with Erica Grant (EPIC MTB / Expert Cycles) racing along with the Senior 3 men.

The Senior 3 men’s race turned up an unexpected result with Richard Maes (Killarney Cycling Club) setting lap times that would have had him in the top half of the Senior 1 men’s race. Kenneth O’Sullivan (Killarney Cycling Club) finished second with David Meredith (EPIC MTB / Expert Cycles) third. The Senior 2 men’s race looked to be in the bag for Ben Breach (EPIC MTB / Expert Cycles) giving him 3 wins out of 3 but a puncture had him retire from the race. Chris Mollaghan (Team WORC) then took over the lead and finished 39 seconds ahead of Feidhlim Dignan (Cunga CC) with Derrick Evans (South-East Road Club) completing the podium. The Junior men continue to impress especially Jack Murphy (Killarney Cycling Club) who was racing high up among the Senior 1 men. John Quinn (Scott Eurocycles.com) finished second with John Buller (Banbridge CC) third and Thomas Creighton (McConvey Cycles) fourth.

Last year’s World Masters MTB champion Robin Seymour (Team WORC) hasn’t done much cross-country racing this year and was not gridded for today’s race. Starting from 4 rows back it wasn’t long before his strength and experience, (he is the most decorated off-road rider in Ireland), was shown as he was first up the long climb. Robin continued to push on across the race finishing comfortably ahead of Lindsay Watson (Powerhouse Sport) who was taking a break from road racing (he finished 40th in the An Post Rás this year) and showing he can still ride off-road. Graham Boyd (McConvey Cycles) was in a tight race for third place with Gareth Hegarty (Scott Eurocycles.com) but had an incident with a back-marker and had to retire. Gareth went on to take third with Tomasz Michalski (McConvey Cycles) 4th, Paul Caldwell (EPIC MTB / Expert Cycles) 5th and Barry Kellett (Dromara CC) 6th.

After the races the riders were able to make use of the catering supplied by Last Lap Café. There was a light shower as the final podiums were being held but, thankfully, it passed to allow the organisers to take down the course and pack everything away in dry conditions. Many thanks to all the volunteers for giving up their time for this event. Thanks to the sponsors, Kelly’s Bike Company, Spin 11 Clothing and Elite Timing. The next round of the NPS series takes place on 25 June 2017 at Bellurgan Park, Dundalk, hosted by Cuchulainn CC. Keep an eye out on www.irishxcnps.ie for registration opening and please register early.

Commissaire: Martin Grimley

Report by Martin Grimley

Results here

Photos by Adrian van der Lee – here
Photos by Liam Phelan – here

 



Exciting racing at Slade Valley for NPS XC Round 2

Slade Valley in County Wicklow may be well known for its golf courses but it was Saggart Woods which was the attraction for mountain bikers from across Ireland who headed along the narrow roads to where Round 2 of the Irish Cross-country Mountain Bike National Point Series was taking place. Host club IMBRC are regular users of the venue and have been busy developing and testing the trails in the forest.
Car parking had been provided in a nearby field with the starting area for the races just inside the forest at the bottom of the fire road. The finish line for almost all the races was up the top of the first rise in the fire road at a wide open area with great vistas of the valley below.

Pre-registrations for the event were down from previous years with less than 150 listed, perhaps due to the Enduro event happening in County Down, or the mixed weather forecast. In the end the riders did come with over 200 competing in the end. The weather was indeed mixed starting off with grey, heavy overcast conditions in the morning with light winds, changing to sharp gusts of wind which were testing the fastenings on the gazebos, During the early afternoon races we seen steady rain which created some mud around the course. At the end of the day the sun was breaking through the clouds and bathing the hard working volunteers in warm sunshine as they tore down the course and packed up the vans.

Racing got underway at 10 am with the Under 6s. This fun, introductory race had 15 riders signed on to try out some cross-country racing around a short course. The riders, some on strider bikes with no pedals, all made it round and received a medal at the end along with lots of applause from the spectators.

Next up were the Under 8s. They took off up the climb towards the finish line and then veering left and back down along the single track to the foot of the fireroad to start the climb all over again. Three laps in total. Killian McCoy (Lucan BMX) took the win in the boys race with Brian Crinion and Jude Tobin, both from the host club IMBRC, taking second and third respectively. Aoife Craig (VC Glendale) won the girls’ race with Anna Cobbe (IMBRC) second and Lucy McCarthy (MBCC) third.

The Under 10s used the same course as the Under 8s but had 5 laps to complete. Ava McCarthy took the win in the girls’ race with Hannah O’Keefe (EPIC MTB / Expert Cycles) second ahead of Cara Suckling (Maryland Wheelers). Oisin May was the first boy to cross the line with Darragh Saunders (Scott Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) second and Harry Hobbs (VC Glendale) third.

A longer course greeted the Under 12s who headed up past the finish line to a gap in the trees to begin their loop back to the start line. They had 6 laps to complete. Travis Harkness (Carn Wheelers) and Luke Murphy (Killarney CC) provided what arguable was the battle of the day as they kept swapping places keeping within touching distance of each other for the 5 laps. On the final lap Travis just got ahead of Luke on the final exciting sprint finish, letting out a shout of joy as he crossed the line. Shane Scullion (Island Wheelers) wrapped up the podium for the boys. Aine Doherty (VC Glendale) and Hannah Mullin (Trail Demons CC) were the only two entries in the girls race but were happy to chase down the boys. Aine took the win ahead of Hannah.

A break in the proceedings allows for the prize giving ceremony for the Under 8s, 10s and 12s announced by seasoned commentator Paul Joyce. The next races were for the Under 14s, Under 16s, Senior 4 men and Senior 2 women. The Under 14s had a short loop of the main course to complete 3 laps of. The other racers took in the majority of the main course, just skipping out the bomb hole.

Caoimhe May (Scott Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) put on another impressive performance to take the win in the Under 14 girls race finishing ahead of Erin Creighton (XMTB) with Annie Roche (Scott Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) third. Dean Harvey (Kinning Cycles) had a comfortable win in the Under 14 boys race finishing well clear of Donnacha Desmond (MBCC) and David McGarr (IMBRC). The Under 16 boys race was an exciting affair between Lee Harvey (Kinning Cycles) and Adam McGarr (Biking.ie) who were wheel to wheel for the first 3 laps with Adam pulling away on the final lap to take the win. Harry Byrne (EPIC MTB / Expert Cycles) finished third. The Under 16 girls race formed the usual close battle between Niamh McKiverigan (Powerhouse Sport) and Darcey Harkness (Carn Wheelers) with Niamh finishing the stronger in this race. Amanda Draper (MBCC) completed the girls podium. The numbers in the Senior 4 men’s race were greatly reduced from normal entry levels but there was some great racing nonetheless. Mareks Andrejevs (IMBRC) came to the front on the three lap race and finished well clear of Pearse O’Hagan (Inspired Cycling) with Jason Griffin (IMBRC) third. In the women’s S2 race Niamh McGreen (MAD MTB) took her second win of the series as she finished ahead of Caroline McArdle and Caroline Murphy, both from EPIC MTB / Expert Cycles.

After another awards ceremony and a chance of a break for the marshals and timing team, the final races of the day took place at 2 pm. Lined up were the Senior 1 men, Senior 1 women, Juniors, Senior 2 men and Senior 3 men. On the front of the mass of riders were the Senior 1 men, a great turn out of 24 riders, waiting on the whistle to start their 5 lap race. Behind them were the three Junior men who had 4 laps to complete. Behind them were the Senior 2 men, a big group of 34 riders who also had 4 laps to complete. The Senior 3 men had the biggest turn out of the day with 37 riders competing across 3 laps. There were only 2 in the Senior 1 women’s race, missing Marlena Drozdziok who was competing in the World Cup in Nové Mesto, Czech Republic and injured Klaudia Bajolek, who was on site supporting her team mates.

Despite starting from the back of the field, Gareth McKee was soon at the front to take the expected win in the Senior 1 men’s race. Graham Boyd (McConvey Cycles) had to work hard to stay ahead of Gareth Hegarty (Scott Eurocycles.com) with Tomasz Michalski (McConvey Cycles) fourth, Paul Caldwell (EPIC MTB / Expert Cycles) fifth and Brian Steele (Shimna Wheelers Cycling Club), making his return to XC racing taking sixth place. Erica Grant (EPIC MTB / Expert Cycles) won the Senior 1 women’s race as she finished ahead of Joanna Bula (Lakeside Wheelers Mullingar CC). The Junior men’s race saw Thomas Creighton (McConvey Cycles) lead in the early laps before John Quinn (Scott Eurocycles.com) took the lead and the chequered flag leaving Thomas with second place and Jack Murphy (Killarney Cycling Club) with third. In the Senior 2 men’s race Ben Breach (EPIC MTB / Expert Cycles) had to keep on the power to stay ahead of chasing Brian Meila (Team WORC) with host club rider Anthony Quinn getting a big shout out from the crowd as he finished third. Emil Tyszecki (MBCC) took the win in the Senior 3 men’s race with Paul Donnan (Team WORC) second and Milos Hajek, also from the host club, getting onto the final step of the podium.

The host club ended up with riders on podiums in the Under 8 boys and girls race, Under 14 boys race, Senior 4 men’s race, Senior 3 men’s race and Senior 2 men’s race. Home advantage which hopefully can be repeated for ‘away’ races.

Many thanks to the hard working volunteers at IMBRC, under race director Davey Dunne. Many hours work was put into the course in the weeks and months leading up to the event and lots of organising on the weekend.

The next round (Round 3) will take place in Ticknock on Sunday 4 June 2017. See details on www.irishxcnps.ie. Please register early.

Commissaires: Colm Mullen and Martin Grimley

Report by Martin Grimley

Results here



Round 1 Tracton Woods – Race Report

Sunshine at Tracton Woods for Round 1 of the NPS XC series

by Martin Grimley

All headed south to the Irish Riviera for the first round of the 2017 Irish Cross-country National Point Series. MBCC hosted the event in Tracton Woods which is located around 25 km south of Cork City. The forecast for the weekend was for heavy rain and strong winds. Thankfully that weather front quickly passed through the site during the early hours of the morning and left us with a light breeze and warm sunny spells for the rest of the day. Despite the downpour, the track was in great condition and was running very fast. It was a challenging course as the wood is set along both sides of a steep river ravine. Lots of climbing and descending with some rooty sections and fast gravel. The start line was on the stony access road which lead up to the woods from the main road. Parking was provided in a field across the road. Refreshments were available all day beside the sign on tent and the music was playing which provided a bohemian, chilled out atmosphere around the finish line. This was in stark contrast to the exhersion being put out by the riders both young and old!!

The racing schedule kicked off with the Under 6s who had to complete a lap and a half of their course. All riders received a medal for participating in this fun, introductory race. The Under 8s lined up next. They used the same course as the Under 6s but had to complete 4 laps. Kevin Randall (Orwell Wheelers) took the win with Darragh Murphy (Rostrevor Mountain Bike Club) second and Ronan Gleeson (LMBC) third. The only female entrant was Lucy McCarthy from the host club.

The Under 10s had to race up to where the finish line gantry was located, make a sharp right hand run, come back down a rooty section beside the river, pop out at the bottom beside the stony lane and then race back up the hill again. They were given 3 laps to do, but could easily have done 4. Conor Murphy (Rostrevor Mountain Bike Club) was chased to the line by Harry Hobbs (VC Glendale) with
Darragh Saunders (Scott Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) taking third. In the girls’ race Ava McCarthy (MBCC) fended off Jess O’Keeffe (Cork BMX Club) to take first and second respectively.

The Under 12s started their race beside the finish line gantry. They had to race up the long hill, drop off a steep shute to the right, race along the river’s edge right down to the bottom of the stony lane and then face the long slog up the hill again. Four laps was just about perfect in terms of overall length of race for this age category. Travis Harkness (Carn Wheelers) was leading for the first 3 laps until diaster struck and his chain broke. Luke Murphy (Killarney Cycling Club) went on to take the win with Oisin Ferrity (Island Wheelers) second and Travis bravely running the remainder of the course to take third spot. In the girls’ race Aine Doherty (VC Glendale) was first over the line (5th overall) with Hannah Mullin (Trail Demons CC) second.

After a short break for the podium presentations, and allowing for some course practice time, the next races kicked off at noon. Lined up at the start line were, in this order, Under 16 boys, Under 14 boys, Senior 4 men, Senior 2 women, Under 16 girls and a single entry (Erin Creighton (XMTB)) in the Under 14 girls category. The Under 16 boys had 4 laps to complete of the “Reduced Course”, the Senior 4 men – 3 laps, the Under 14s and Women 2 laps. The “Reduced Course” took out some of the steeper sections of the main course. The Under 16 boys were showing off their strength especially at the top end of the race. Adam McGarr (Biking.ie) took the win ahead of Drew Armstrong (Team Mechmonkey Mixtape) with Harry Byrne (EPIC MTB / Expert Cycles) third. The Under 16 girls race was shorter than normal but allowed for some exciting racing with Amanda Draper from the host club taking the win ahead of Niamh McKiverigan (Powerhouse Sport) who was chasing hard to close the gap with Darcey Harkness (Carn Wheelers) third. The podium for the Under 14 boys race was filled with riders from the host club MBCC. Donnacha Desmond took the top step with Fionn Desmond to his right and David McCarthy to his left (1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively). In the women’s race Niamh McGreen (MAD MTB) conquered the tricky course to take the win ahead of junior rider Orla Conroy (Bray Wheelers) with Lisa Millar (Dromara Cycling Club) third.

After another break for refreshments, podiums and practice the final races of the day took place at 2 pm. Lined up at the bottom of the stony lane was a large group (20) of Senior 1 men, behind them the Junior men and Senior 1 women, then the Senior 2 men and finally the Senior 3 men. The number of laps corresponding to this starting line up were 5, 4, 4, 4 and 3. Well out in front of the Senior 1 men’s race, and thoroughly enjoying himself, was David Conroy (Scott Eurocycles.com) who was not put under pressure and comfortably took the win. Behind him was a different story with Gareth Hegarty (Scott Eurocycles.com) and Graham Boyd (McConvey Cycles) battling it out for second place. Gareth managed to pull away on the final lap to leave Graham with third spot. Tomasz Michalski (McConvey Cycles) had a good race to take fourth with series co-ordinator, Maciej Staroniewicz (EPIC MTB / Expert Cycles), delighted with his fifth place. Marlena Drozdziok (Scott Eurocycles.com) comfortably won the Senior 1 women’s race ahead of team mate, junior rider, Klaudia Bajolek (Scott Eurocycles.com) with Erica Grant (EPIC MTB / Expert Cycles) taking third. In the Junior men’s race Jack Murphy (Killarney Cycling Club) powered around to take the chequered flag ahead of Thomas Creighton (McConvey Cycles) who finished well clear of twin brother Ethan Creighton (XMTB). The only other Junior rider was David Culloty (Killarney Cycling Club) who took a nasty tumble on the “TNT” drop. In the Senior 2 men’s race Ben Breach (EPIC MTB / Expert Cycles) finished well ahead of Niall Somers (Team WORC) with Clive Caldwell (VTT) taking third spot. In the Senior 3 men’s race David Meredith (EPIC MTB / Expert Cycles) crossed the line ahead of Emil Tyszecki (MBCC) with Colin Leahy (Killarney Cycling Club) third.

After the races the riders could tuck in to a great spread of sandwiches and cakes laid on by the club. A huge thanks to all the hard working volunteers at MBCC for the hosting the event. Many thanks to the sponsors for this year’s series – Kelly’s Bike Company, Spin 11 and Elite Timing.

The day before we had heard that the representative from Elite Timing had been involved in an accident on his way down to the event. Chris sustained a broken wrist and collar bone. He was bringing down the race numbers for the event which were then not accessible to the race organisers. A quick phone call and a back up plan was put in place thanks to the Cycling Ulster Off-road Commission. Best wishes for a full recovery to Chris.

This was Round 1 of the 5 round series with the next round taking place on 21 May at Slade Valley, hosted by IMBRC. This was also the first of the NPS rounds since the passing of Richie Byrne who died in September last year. A legend among mountain bikers the sounds of his abuse/encouragement ringing around the forest was sorely missed today.

Commissaire: Martin Grimley

Full results here