Category: XC NPS 2017

XC Marathon Championships 2017 Ballyhoura

 

2017 Cross Country (XC) Marathon Championships took place in Ballyhoura this Sunday the 24th of September. There were 2 race loops to choose from, the full championship distance of 65km and the shorter support race distance of 35km (which was actually closer to 40km!). A lot of rainfall since the beginning of September this year and some torrential rain the day before the event made both loops quite soft and challenging with a lot of water, soft sand and loose rocks. However on Sunday, we were lucky with the weather, temperatures increased by the afternoon to scorching 16-17 degrees and even the sun came out!

Riders competing on the full course had an option of using one of the 3 technical / feed zones at 7km, 22km and 40km into the race. Only the first 2 feed zones were included in the short race.

The first race of the day was the 65km Championship race, with four categories competing on that distance: Senior Men, Senior Women, Masters M30, Masters 40 and Masters  M50+. All Men categories reached the minimum entry numbers required for the championship status which meant there was a lot to fight for (jerseys and medals), unfortunately there were only 4 entries in the Senior Women category so despite having to compete on the same distance as the men, the winner of women’s race could not be officially crowned the Marathon Champion.

In the Senior Men race, Gareth McKee (Banbridge CC Cycleology), the defending XCM Champion (2015) led from the very start and didn’t give his competitors any hope of catching him, finishing in a impressive total time of 3 hours and 13minutes. Raymond O’Shaughnessy (Cuchulainn CC) was not far behind in 2nd place with Chris Mollaghan (Team WORC) completing the Senior Men’s podium. In Masters M30 the battle for the 1st place was between club mates Paul Caldwell and Chris Campbell (both EpicMTB Expert Cycles) and it was Paul who took the win by over a minute in front of Chris, to secure his first national title. Brian Melia (Team WORC) finished in 3rd place.

Championship_Senior_MenChampionship_Masters_M30 Championship_Masters_M40

In the very competitive Masters M40 category (almost 40 riders), the race was dominated by Paul McCarther (Donegal Bay Cycling Club) who not only took the win by over 4 minutes ahead of Derrick Evans (South-East Road Club) but also finished 3rd overall across all categories. In 3rd place, delivering 3rd podium for the Wicklow based Team WORC club was Vinnie Fitzsimon.  In Masters M50 we had what was the closest finish of the day with only 30 seconds separating the top 2 riders. It was Michael Jordan (Team Cycle Superstore) who secured the Masters Jersey with Aiden McDonald (Cuchulainn CC) in 2nd and John Crowley (Killarney CC) in 3rd place. A few kilometers into the M50 race,  the ever-present Cuchulainn CC rider Declan McCabe had a nasty fall and had to pull out of the race. We would like to wish Declan a speedy recovery and hope to see him racing again soon!

Championship_Masters_M50 Non-Championship_Senior_Women

In Senior Women’s race it was Maeve Morrogh (Defence Forces) who completed the 65km loop in the fastest time of 4h and 23 minutes ahead of Emma Walsh (Waterford Racing Club) and Caroline McArdle (EpicMTB Expert Cycles).

The second race of the day was the shorter (support) course with 3 categories competing on this distance – a combined Junior / U16 race, men’s and women’s races. The Men’s race was dominated by Liam De Klerk, 19 year old rider who recently moved to Ireland from South Africa and is currently competing for Western Lakes Cycling Club. Emil Tyszecki (MBCC) was 2nd and Michael McDonagh (Galway Bay CC) finishing the 35km loop in 3rd. In the women’s category Ruth Aiken (Banbridge CC) took the win ahead of Caroline Martinez (Velo Club Balrothery). The Western Lakes Cycling Club manager definitely made a good choice signing the young South African riders because Liam’s clubmate Nathan Kurensky won the Juniors U16 race comfortably with  margin of 5 minutes over Shane O’Sullivan (Kilmallock Cycling Club) who finished 2nd with Adrian Ojeda completing the podium in 3rd.

Short_Course_Junior Short_Course_Men Short_Course_Women

Racing wrapped up around 4pm and the prize giving shortly followed, with the newly crowned National Champions receiving the jerseys, medals and bottles of champagne!

This years 2017 XCM Chamipionship wouldn’t have happened without the tremendous work put in by the hosting club Team Ballyhoura and the event sponsors: Castlepook Windfarm, Brookfield, SISK, ESB, Coillte and Cycling Ireland. Also, we would like to thank all the riders who competed and supported the event and we are hoping to see you again soon!

Link to the results is HERE (PDF)

Commissaire – Maciej ‘Max’ Staroniewicz
Report and photos – Maciej ‘Max’ Staroniewicz

 

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2017 Overall Trophy Winners!!!

Congratulations to all the 2017 Overall trophy winners, it was close in some categories until the very last race in Union Wood!
The prize giving for this year’s series will take place on Sunday the 23rd of July at the XC National Championships in Djouce Woods, don’t miss it!

Place Category Name Club
1 Senior 1 Men Gareth Hegarty Scott Eurocycles.com
2 Senior 1 Men Gareth McKee Cycleology
3 Senior 1 Men Tomasz Michalski McConvey Cycles
1 Senior 1 Women Erica Grant EPIC MTB / Expert Cycles
1 Junior Men Thomas Creighton McConvey Cycles
2 Junior Men Jack Murphy Killarney Cycling Club
3 Junior Men John Quinn Scott Eurocycles.com
1 Senior 2 Men Clive Caldwell VTT
2 Senior 2 Men Chris Mollaghan Team WORC
3 Senior 2 Men Brian Meila Team WORC
1 Senior 3 Men Emil Tyszecki MBCC
2 Senior 3 Men Paul Donnan Team WORC
3 Senior 3 Men David Meredith EPIC MTB / Expert Cycles
1 Senior 2 Women Niamh McGreen MAD  MTB
2 Senior 2 Women Caroline McArdle EPIC MTB / Expert Cycles
2 Senior 2 Women Emma Convey
1 U16 Boys Adam McGarr Biking.ie
2 U16 Boys Lee Harvey Kinning Cycles
3 U16 Boys Harry Byrne EPIC MTB / Expert Cycles
1 U16 Girls Niamh McKiverigan Powerhouse Sport
2 U16 Girls Darcey Harkness Carn Wheelers
3 U16 Girls Amanda Draper MBCC
1 U14 Boys Dean Harvey Kinning Cycles
2 U14 Boys Donnacha Desmond MBCC
3 U14 Boys Fionn Desmond MBCC
1 U14 Girls Caoimhe May Scott Orwell Wheelers CC
2 U14 Girls Erin Creighton XMTB
3 U14 Girls Annie Roche Scott Orwell Wheelers CC
1 U12 Boys Luke Murphy Killarney Cycling Club
2 U12 Boys Travis Harkness Carn Wheelers
3 U12 Boys Oisin Ferrity Island Wheelers
1 U12 Girls Aine Doherty VC Glendale
2 U12 Girls Hannah Mullin Trail Demons CC
1 U10 Boys Oisin May
2 U10 Boys Conor Murphy Rostrevor Mountain Bike Club
3 U10 Boys Harry Hobbs VC Glendale
1 U10 Girls Faith Robinson Bray Wheelers
2 U10 Girls Hannah O’Keefe EPIC MTB / Expert Cycles
3 U10 Girls Maria O’Shea IMBRC
1 U8 Boys Kevin Randall Orwell Wheelers
2 U8 Boys Darragh Murphy Rostrevor Mountain Bike Club
3 U8 Boys Killian McCoy Lucan BMX
1 U8 Girls Lucy McCarthy MBCC
2 U8 Girls Poppy Hamilton Shimna Wheelers Cycling Club


XC Nationals 2017 – Course Preview



A challenging XC course at Union Wood

The fifth and final round of the 2017 Irish Cross-country Mountain Bike National Point Series (NPS) took place on the west of Ireland at Union Wood, located between the towns of Collooney and Ballysadare in County Sligo. This was the second year that host club Northwest MTB had ran an NPS and they had made some great improvements to the course in that time.

As before, there was quite a hike from sign on to the start line which was located up a climb into the main body of the forest. The riders started on the fire road before setting off onto the various courses that had been designed for each age category. The track was dry on the morning of the race but during the day the grey clouds started to add some rain to the area with a full downpour during the 2 pm races which turned the fast dry course into a tricky, slippery one.

For the youth riders though, race day was dry. Starting off in the morning was a race for the Under 6s which saw 13 boys and 3 girls taking on the short course.

Next up were the Under 8s which had 8 boys and 4 girls taking part. Kevin Randall (Scott Orwell Wheelers) took the win in the boys’ race as he finished ahead of Darragh Murphy (Rostrevor MTB) with Evan Wynne (Foyle CC) third. In the girls’ race Anna Conne (IMBRC) was first with Poppy Hamilton (Shimna Wheelers) second and Lucy McCarthy (MBCC) third.

The Under 10s then lined up at the start line. This was the first round of the NPS that Aliyah Rafferty (Island Wheelers) was able to attend but her dominance of the Ulster XC series carried over as she finished first in the U10 girls’ race. Faith Robinson (Bray Wheelers), the current leader of the series, was second with Hannah O’Keefe (Epic MTB) third. In the boys’ race Oisin May (Unattached) got his third win of the series with Conor Murphy (Rostrevor MTB) second and Daragh Saunders (Orwell Wheelers) third.

Luke Murphy (Killarney CC) went into this round as leader of the Under 12 boys’ series and rounded off his great season with his 4th win out of 5 rounds. Adam Rafferty (Island Wheelers) finished second with Oisin Ferrity (Island Wheelers) third. Luke’s biggest rival Travis Harkness (Carn Wheelers) only managed 5th today. Hannah Mullin (Trail Demons CC) was the only entrant in the Under 12 girls’ race.

After the usual break once the Under 12s race finished, the next set of races took place around 12 noon. This was for the Under 14s, Under 16s, Senior 4 men and Senior 2 women. In the Under 14 boys race, current series leader Dean Harvey (Kinning Cycles) was not having a good day with two crashes which kept him off the podium. Instead it was a tight race between Donnacha Desmond, Fionn Desmond (both from MBCC) and Darren Rafferty (Island Wheelers). With only seconds between them Donnacha crossed the line first with Darren second and Fionn third. In the Under 14 girls’ race Caoimhe May (Scott Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) did her usual stunt of taking off like a hare from the start line and finishing well clear of her nearest rivals, in this case Erin Creighton (XMTB) who finished second with Annie Roche (Scott Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) finishing ahead of Aoife Finnerty (Ballina Cycling Club). For the overall league the Under 14 boys table finished with Dean Harvey first, Donnacha Desmond second and Fionn Desmond third. In the Under 14 girls’ overall league, the top 3 riders were Caoimhe May, Erin Creighton and Annie Roche.

In the Under 16 boys race there was a lot more than the race day trophies up for grabs as the overall series was very tight on points with Harry Byrne (EPIC MTB / Expert Cycles) leading the series with 88 points and Adam McGarr (Biking.ie) and Lee Harvey (Kinning Cycles) both on 85 points. On the day it was a battle between Lee and Adam with Adam pulling away from Lee to take the win by 7 seconds. Harry finished third. For the overall league it finished Adam, Lee and Harvey. In the Under 16 girls race Niamh McKiverigan (Powerhouse Sport) continued her run of form taking the win ahead of Darcey Harkness (Carn Wheelers) with Amanda Draper (MBCC) third ahead of Miriam Draper (MBCC). The overall league for the Under 16 girls finished in the same order, Niamh, Darcey, Amanda and Miriam.

There was a small turn out in the Senior 4 men’s race with just 6 riders taking to the start line. Maurice Moran (EPIC MTB / Expert Cycles) took the win ahead of Darren McGann (West Coast Wheelers) with Mark Graham (NWMTB) third. In the Senior 2 women’s race Niamh McGreen (MAD MTB), the current series leader, took her third win of the series as she finished ahead of Katrin Parsons (Galway MTB) with Emma Convey (Unattached Leinster) finishing third ahead of Sinead Hynes (Galway MTB).

After another break to allow riders to practice the course, the next set of competitors lined up at the bottom of the fire road. First away were the Senior 1 men followed by the single entry, Thomas Creighton (McConvey Cycles) in the Junior men. Next away were the Senior 2 men and Senior 3 men’s categories. In the Senior 3 men’s race Oisin Mooney (Eire Og C.C.) took the win ahead of Paul Donnan (Team WORC) with David Meredith (EPIC MTB / Expert Cycles) third. Emil Tyszecki (MBCC) finished fourth today but that was enough to secure the top place for him in the Senior 3 category in the overall league. Paul Donnan was second overall with David Meredith third.

In the 4 lap Senior 2 men’s race, Brian Melia (Team WORC) crossed the line first ahead of Clive Caldwell (VTT) with Feidhlim Dignan (Cunga CC) third. For the overall league table, Clive Caldwell finished first ahead of Chris Mollaghan (Team WORC) with Brian Meila (Team WORC) third.

Finally in the 5 lap Senior 1 men’s race Gareth McKee (Cycleology MTB) put on another fine disply of bike riding, given the worsening conditions to take the win. David Conroy (Scott – Eurocycles.com) enjoyed the slippery conditions to take a well deserved second place ahead of Lindsay Watson (Powerhouse Sport). Gareth Hegarty (Scott Eurocycles.com) continued to impress with his 4th place which was enough to secure this overall win of the series. The returning star, Brian Steele (Shimna Wheelers Cycling Club) finished 5th with cross-country co-ordinator Maciej Staroniewicz (EPIC MTB / Expert Cycles) 6th. Missing from the top 6 were Tomasz Michalski (McConvey Cycles) who broke his chain on the start line and Graham Boyd (McConvey Cycles) who punctured just after the pit area and would have had to run the whole course to get a new wheel. The series finished with Gareth Hegarty first, Gareth McKee second and Tomasz Michalski third.

Many thanks to the hard working crew at Northwest MTB club. It was a great shame that the attendance level was so low for such a great event at a great venue. Many thanks to the sponsors of the series, Kellys Bike Company, Spin 11 clothing and Elite Timing.

The Irish National Cross-country Championships will be held on Sunday 23 July at Djouce Woods, Co. Wicklow. Registration is open and will close on Monday 17 July at 8 pm. NO ENTRIES ON THE DAY OR AFTER THE CLOSING DATE FOR CHAMPIONSHIP CATEGORIES.

Report by Martin Grimley

Commissaire Maciej Staroniewicz

Results here

Overall league results table – to follow.

Photos by Bryan Conlon (Facebook) – here



Sunshine, ice-cream, dusty trails – a great day at Bellurgan Park XC

Sunday 25 June 2017 saw Round 4 of the Irish Cross-country Mountain Bike National Point Series being held at Bellurgan Park near Dundalk County Louth. Hosted by Cuchulainn Cycling Club, under the leadership of Liam Burns, this venue was last used as the 2016 National Championships and the club went out to make this event look even more impressive. This time were we based in the large field closer to the single track with plenty of room for vehicle parking. The start/finish area was well laid out, plenty of room for gazebos, podium set up, wooden benches and catering. The weather was fine all day with periods of sunshine and blue skies and, under the music and commentary of MC Paul Joyce, there was a great atmosphere around the site. Almost like icing on a cake, the host club had also arranged to provide free ice-creams for all competitors!!! What more could we ask for? Dry dusty trails perhaps? Yes, that’s what we got as well !!

Kicking off the day’s racing were the Under 6s with 16 young riders lined up to complete 2 laps of the short course. Lots of cheering from parents and spectators and a medal for each competitor at the finish line. Next up were the Under 8s who had 3 laps to complete of a track which took them along the fence line, over a rocky hump before charging back into the main field.
Kevin Randall (Orwell Wheelers) took the win in the boys race with Darragh Murphy (Rostrevor Mountain Bike Club) second and Zach Thompson (Maryland Wheelers) third. Aoife Kellett (Dromara Cycling Club) won the girl’s race with Lucy McCarthy (MBCC) second and Rachel Irvine (Unattached) completing the podium.

Next up were the Under 10s. Their course was an extension of the Under 8s course and took them into the forest, up a fire road climb before turning sharp left and shooting down the roller coaster trail then back onto the fire road for a return to the field. They had 4 laps to complete with Faith Robinson (Bray Wheelers) winning the girl’s race ahead of Hannah O’Keeffe (EPIC MTB / Expert Cycles) and Cara Suckling (Maryland Wheelers). In the boy’s race Oisin May (Unattached) managed to pull away from Conor Murphy (Rostrevor Mountain Bike Club) to take the win with Harry Hobbs (VC Glendale) getting a well deserved bronze medal.

The Under 12s headed out onto the main course for two laps which involved taking in the big climb before branching off and heading back to the start line. Luke Murphy (Killarney Cycling Club) and Travis Harkness (Carn Wheelers) had a great close race and their finish was eagerly awaited by the crowd. Luke held his early lead with Travis giving his all to bridge the gap. Oisin Ferrity (Island Wheelers) was out on his own in third keeping well clear of the chasers. Aine Doherty (VC Glendale) had another terrific race finishing 4th overall, first girl with second place going to Saoirse Duffy (Unattached) and third going to Bobbi Gillespie (Orwell Wheelers).

There was a short break to allow for the podium presentations for the youth, allow the next set of riders to get a practice lap in and allow the officials to get a snack. Just before noon the riders were called to the start line to get gridded. They lined up as Under 16 boys, Under 14 boys, Senior 4 men, Under 16 girls, Under 14 girls and Senior 2 women. There was a time gap between each group with the Under 14s doing a shorter version of the main course.

Current National U14 champion, Dean Harvey (Kinning Cycles), was expected to win his category today and he didn’t disappoint finishing almost a minute ahead of David McGarr (IMBRC) who, in turn, finished well clear of third place, Donnacha Desmond (MBCC). Caoimhe May (Scott Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) was also expected to dominate the Under 14 girls race and lived up to her expectation by finishing almost 7 minutes ahead of Erin Creighton (XMTB) with Annie Roche (Scott Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) completing the podium. In the Under 16 boys race the expected close battle between Lee Harvey (Kinning Cycles) and Adam McGarr (Biking.ie) did not materialise with Adam having mechanical troubles leaving the on-form Lee to charge across the line unchallenged. Harry Byrne (EPIC MTB / Expert Cycles) had another strong race to finish third. In the Under 16 girls’ race Niamh McKiverigan (Powerhouse Sport) felt at home in Bellurgan as she finished well clear of her close rival Darcey Harkness (Carn Wheelers).

The Senior 4 men had 2 laps to complete and the host club ended up with 2 of its members on the podium when PJ Hynes took the win ahead of club mate Jason Malone. Pearse O’Hagan (Inspired Cycling) completed the podium. The host club got another winner in the Women’s Senior 2 race when Anne Duffy took with win ahead of MAD MTB riders Niamh McGreen and Leah McCarthy.

After another break in the proceedings for podium presentations, practice laps and refreshments, the riders for the next races were gathered up just before 2 pm. The line up was a follows: Senior 1 men (5 laps), Junior men and Senior 1 women (4 laps), Senior 2 men (4 laps) and Senior 3 men (3 laps). The host club were again cheering when Brendan Foley took the win in the Senior 3 mens’ race as he finished ahead of Paul Donnan (Team WORC) and Vinny Colgan (Park Wheelers). Conor Campbell (Newry Wheelers CC) let out a big shout of joy as he crossed the line to take the win in the Senior 2 mens’ race. Brian Melia (Team WORC) and Derrick Evans (South-East Road Club) finished second and third respectively. Junior rider, Thomas Creighton (McConvey Cycles), was racing amongst his fellow team mates in the Senior 1 mens’ race which helped spur him on to a strong finish in the Junior race ahead of John Buller (Banbridge CC) with Jack Murphy (Killarney Cycling Club) finishing third. There were just 2 entries in the Senior 1 women’s race with veteran of the sport Ciara MacManus (Summit Mountain Biking) showing she can still race cross-country as she finished well clear of late arrival Trudy Brown (VC Glendale). In the Senior 1 mens’ race, Gareth McKee (Cycleology MTB), was expected to finish strongly, despite starting on the third row of the grid. Gareth didn’t disappoint the crowds as he continued to carry his superb form that he has shown at the British series into this race finishing well clear of Under 23 rider David Conroy (Scott Eurocycles.com). The big battle of the day was between Tomasz Michalski (McConvey Cycles), Graham Boyd (McConvey Cycles) and Gareth Hegarty (Scott Eurocycles.com) with Tomasz and Graham pulling away from Gareth on the last lap to have a sprint finish for third with Tomasz holding his line to take third place. Ray O’Shaughnessy from the host club finished 6th. A special mention to Peter Buggle (Rocky Mountain) who finished 7th today after his impressive third place finish in the Masters World Championships (55-59 category) in Andorra during the week. Vinnie Fitzsimon (Team WORC) was also racing at the Masters World Championships (45-49 category) and finished 25th there and finished 11th day.

A huge thanks to all the hard working volunteers at Cuchulainn CC for putting on this excellent event. Many thanks to all the riders for coming along and congratulations to all the winners. Many thanks also to the sponsors of the series, Kellys Bike Company, who were present at the event, Spin 11 clothing and Elite Timing, who were also present. The next round of the NPS takes place on Sunday 9 July 2017 at Union Wood, Sligo. See www.irishxcnps.ie for details. There is a cross-country MTB event on Sunday 2 July 2017 at Drumcairne Forest, Stewartstown, Co. Tyrone. All welcome. See www.ulsterxc.com for details.

Date for your diary – the Irish National Cross-country Championships will be held on Sunday 23 July at Djouce Woods, Co. Wicklow. More details to follow.

Results from today – here

League results after 4 rounds – to follow.

Commissaire Martin Grimley

Report by Martin Grimley

Photos by Fran Hollywood (Facebook) – here



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



2017 XC NPS Dates

Below are the dates for the 2017 Season:

  • 30th of April – hosted by MBCC in Tracton Woods
  • 21st of May
  • 4th of June
  • 25th of June
  • 9th of July

XCO Irish National Championships
23rd of July in Leinster

XCM Irish National Championships

Mid September, venue to be confirmed.