NPS Round 3 (2018) Report
Round 3 of the Irish Cross-country Mountain Bike National Point Series (NPS) took place on Sunday 17 June 2018 at St. Thomas and Lady Dixon Park in south Belfast. This event, hosted by Xmtb, doubled up as Round 4 of the Ulster Cross-country series. The club wish to thank Belfast City Council for their ongoing support of cycling. The recent dry weather had left the park in great condition with the trails running very fast with the compacted soil. There was some short bursts of heavy rainfall on the Saturday but race day was mostly dry and overcast.
The first race of the day was the Under 6s fun race which had 21 young riders lined up (17 boys and 4 girls). The first of the competitive races was for the Under 8s which was held over 2 laps. Darragh Murphy (Rostrevor Mountain Bike Club) completed his hat-trick of wins in the boys’ race with Josh McClune (Team Madigan) second and James Ewart (XMTB) just narrowly finishing ahead of Ryan McKeown (Trail Demons CC) to take third. Among the girls it was Aoife Craig (VC Glendale) who, like Darragh, has completed her third win out of three in the NPS series. Anna Morris (Inishowen Wheelers) was second with Chloe Hepburn (Island Wheelers) taking third just ahead of Aoife Kellett (Dromara Cycling Club).
The Under 10s used the same course but for 3 laps. The top two riders in the boys’ race were again Curtis McKee (Maryland Wheelers) with Elliot Maitland (Killinchy Cycling Club) as they have been for all the NPS rounds this year. James Armstrong (Dromara Cycling Club) repeated the third placing he got at Round 1. Cara Suckling (Maryland Wheelers) is another rider who has had a clean sweep this season taking the win again in the girls’ race with Aisling Smyth (Apollo Cycling Team) getting her second, second place. Lexie Broome (Dromara Cycling Club) just narrowly finished ahead of Maria O’Shea (IMBRC) taking third and fourth respectively.
The Under 12s had their own course and they were given 4 laps to complete. The top two places in the boys’ race has repeated again with Reuben Maitland (Killinchy Cycling Club) first and
Oisin May (Scott Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) second. Daniel Scott (Island Wheelers) got himself onto the podium for the first time this season. Aine Doherty (VC Glendale) performed her party piece by passing all the boys and taking the chequered flag. Second girl was Aliyah Rafferty (Island Wheelers) with Faith Robinson (Bray Wheelers) third.
After the prize giving the next races took place at noon with the Under 16 boys, Under 14 boys, Senior 4 men, Senior 2 women, Under 16 girls, Senior 3 women and Under 14 girls. The Under 14s and Senior 3 women used a reduced length course.
Luke Murphy (Killarney Cycling Club) took his third win out of three in the Under 14 boys’ race. Scott Roberts (McConvey Cycles) repeated his second place from Round 1 with Travis Harkness (Carn Wheelers) repeating his third place from Round 1. In the Under 14 girls’ race Hannah Mullin (Trail Demons CC) took her first win of the series with Keela Smyth (Apollo Cycling Team) second. In the Under 16 boys’ race Darren Rafferty (Island Wheelers) finished well clear of the pack with Dean Harvey (Kinning Cycles) second and Ruairi Coghlan (Killarney Cycling Club) third. Caoimhe May (Scott Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) lead the Under 16 girls’ race after lap 1 but Darcey Harkness (Carn Wheelers) went on to take the win. Caoimhe finished second with Stephanie Roche (Scott Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) third. For the Senior 3 women’s race Ciara Nolan (Team Giant Dublin) took the win with Louise Friel and Norma Rea, both from the host club, taking second and third respectively. Competing for for the first time in an NPS race this year, Trudy Brown (VC Glendale) finished first in the Senior 2 women’s race with Niamh McGreen (MAD MTB) second and Ruth Aiken (Banbridge CC) third. Newcomer to the series, Kris Muldoon (Unattached), took the win in the Senior 4 men’s race with Chris McAlorum (Orchard CC) second and Neil Armstrong (Dromara Cycling Club) third.
After podiums the final races of the day took place with the Senior 1 men, Junior men, Senior 1 women, Senior 2 men and Senior 3 men.
In the Senior 3 men’s race it was another newcomer to the 2018 NPS, Jonnie Boyle (Team Cavan Racing) who took the win with Dean Burnside (Island Wheelers) second and the current league leader, Paddy Daly (Scott Eurocycles.com), taking another third place. In the Senior 2 men’s race Philip Roche (Team WORC) repeated his win in Round 1 with Brendan Doherty (VC Glendale) second and Johnny McRoberts (Banbridge CC) third. Among the Junior men it was Thomas Creighton (McConvey Cycles) and Lee Harvey (Kinning Cycles) who took first and second respectively with Nathan Kurensky (Cunga CC) third. Niamh McKiverigan (Powerhouse Sport) was the only entry in the Senior 1 women’s race and went onto produce good lap times. Gareth McKee (Cyclology MTB) took the expected win in the Senior 1 men’s race with Graham Boyd (McConvey Cycles) missing his usual battle with club mate Tomasz Michalski, whose chain snapped just after the whistle leading to him crashing heavily. Taking second place was Barry Kellett (Dromara Cycling Club) who has completed his come-back from his crash at Round 1 of the Ulster series to take third. Veteran rider Brian Steele (Shimna Wheelers Cycling Club) finished fourth with another veteran Aiden McDonald (Cuchulainn CC) fifth and cyclo-cross star Roger Aiken (Banbridge CC) sixth.
Many thanks to all the volunteers for coming together to host the race. The next round of the cross-country NPS takes place on Sunday 24 June 2018 at Tracton Woods, Co. Cork hosted by MBCC. The next round of the Ulster XC will be at Davagh Forest on 8 July hosted by Carn Wheelers. This round also doubles up as the final round of the NPS series. See www.irishxcnps.ie for details.
Commissaires: Lisa Millar and Gary Sheils
Report by Martin Grimley