NPS Round 4 (2018) Report
On Sunday 24 June 2018 the 4th Round of the Irish Cross-country Mountain Bike National Point Series (NPS) took place at Tracton Woods in County Cork. The event was hosted by Mountain Bike Club Cork (MBCC) who had put in an enormous amount of work developing the track since last year especially with the recent tree harvesting. The weather in the last few weeks has been very good with lots of sunshine making the tracks dusty. Very uncommon for Ireland!
The event set-up was broadly similar to last year with the parking field on the opposite side of the road and the event headquarters up the fire road in a clearing. All races started on the fire road climb. The youth course turned 180 degrees around the back of the timing tent to come back down the hill on a man-made pump track before utilizing a rooty trail beside the river. The weather on race day was glorious with clear blue skies and temperatures in the mid 20s. The host club had laid on their usual level of warm hospitality with catering, music and race commentary. The ‘Elephant in the Room’ was the attendance level, lower than last year and the lowest attendance of the NPS this year. A shame that more did not make the journey as those who did had a great day.
Starting the day off was the Under 6s ‘fun’ race with 13 riders completing one loop.
The Under 8s started next and they had two laps to complete, although the stronger riders could easily have done 3 laps! Darragh Murphy (Rostrevor Mountain Bike Club) continued his winning steak this season with Darragh O’Shea (IMBRC) second and Sean O’Connor (Killarney CC) third. Aoife Kellett (Dromara Cycling Club) finished second overall, first girl with Grace Murphy (MBCC) second and Aisling Lynch third.
The Under 10s used the same course as the Under 8s but were given 6 laps to complete. There was a great battle between Curtis McKee (Maryland Wheelers) and Elliot Maitland (Killinchy Cycling Club) with Curtis pulling away on the last lap, much to the frustration of Elliot who had to settle for second. Ryan Daly (Scott Eurocycles.com) was third. Cara Suckling (Maryland Wheelers) made it four wins out of four with Maria O’Shea (IMBRC) second and Lucy McCarthy (MBCC) third.
The Under 12s course was longer and included the tough climb up past the timing tent and the feed zone. The riders had 4 laps to complete. Reuben Maitland (Killinchy Cycling Club) and Conor Murphy (Rostrevor Mountain Bike Club) were wheel to wheel for the first 3 laps until Reuben surged off creating a 7 second lead at the end and taking his fourth win out of four. Conor finished second with Ryan McCarthy (MBCC) taking the third slot. Faith Robinson (Bray Wheelers) was the only female entry and completed all 4 laps with her usual happy, smiley expression.
At noon the Under 16s, Under 14s, Senior 4 men and Senior 2 women started. These races used a reduced course with one section removed that the later racers would make use of. There was an absence of riders in the Under 14 girls’ and Senior 3 women’s races.
In the Under 14 boys’ race Luke Murphy (Killarney Cycling Club) continued his dominance of this age category taking his fourth win out of four with Travis Harkness (Carn Wheelers) taking his second, second place this season. Shane Scullion (Island Wheelers) finished third.
In the Under 16 boys’ race we had a visitor, Alec Gregory (Pedal Power), who is currently leading the HSBC British XC racing series. Alec took the win in the 3 lap race but had to work hard as Dean Harvey (Kinning Cycles) wasn’t far behind as he took second. Ben Wilson (Dromara Cycling Club) was third with Ruairi Coghlan (Killarney Cycling Club) fourth. Caoimhe May (Scott Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) took the win in the girls’ race with Darcey Harkness (Carn Wheelers) second and Miriam Draper (MBCC) third.
The Senior 4 men’s race was held over 2 laps and was won by Radek Blaha with Jason Griffin (IMBRC) getting his best result this season taking second, current category leader Denver Irvine taking third and Des Ryan from the host club getting fourth. In the Senior 2 women’s race Niamh McGreen (MAD MTB) was first with Amanda Draper (MBCC) second.
The next races started at 2 pm with the Senior 1 men, Junior men, Senior 1 women, Senior 2 men and Senior 3 men. In the Senior 3 men, Jonnie Boyle (Team Cavan Racing) had his first win last week at Round 3 and enjoyed that success so much he repeated it again at this round. Finishing second was Tomas Novak (Unattached) with David McKee (Maryland Wheelers) third. Series leader Paddy Daly (Scott Eurocycles.com) finished fourth.
Geoffrey Robinson (Bray Wheelers) led the Senior 2 men’s race from start to finish. Richard Lenehan (Lakeside Wheelers Mullingar CC) got his first podium taking second with David Lawless (Team WORC) third. In the Junior men’s race Lee Harvey (Kinning Cycles) was competing alongside the Senior 1 men in the early stages of the race and went on to take the win. Nathan Kurensky (Cunga CC) finished second. Brian Doherty (Killarney Cycling Club) took a hard crash and limped back to the finish before seeking medical assistance. Niamh McKiverigan (Powerhouse Sport) was the only entry in the Senior 1 women’s race and put in three good consistent laps.
In the 5 lap, Senior 1 men’s race, last year’s winner David Conroy (Scott Eurocycles.com) returned to put on another show of strength on a course that really suits him. Graham Boyd (McConvey Cycles) was his nearest rival and took second place with Barry Kellett (Dromara Cycling Club) third, Paul Caldwell (EPIC MTB / Expert Cycles) fourth and Colm Mullen (Team WORC) fifth.
After the races the riders could enjoy some drinks and food and either soak up more of the sun or seek shelter to cool off. Thanks to all the hard-working volunteers for putting on a great event. The final round of the series takes place on Sunday 8 July at Davagh Forest hosted by Carn Wheelers. Details to be found on www.irishxcnps ie.
Commissaire: Martin Grimley
Report by Martin Grimley