2019 XC Championships
The 2019 Irish National Cross-country Mountain Bike Championships were held at Tracton Wood in County Cork on Sunday 21 July 2019. Hosted by Mountain Bike Club Cork (MBCC) the club has been working hard to create a challenging course for all ages. On the Saturday they had put on non-championship support races for the Under 6s, 8s and 10s. The weather in the lead up to the race had been good making the course run very well. Race day started warm but overcast with rain arriving later in the day.
The first race of the day was for the Under 12s. They had 5 laps to complete of their circuit which involved a long climb up the fire road. As per the National Point Series (NPS) there was a close battle between Conor Murphy (Rostrevor Mountain Bike Club) and Oisin May (Scott Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) at the front of the boys’ race. While Oisin lead after the first lap it was Conor who came through to take the win. Oisin finished second with Curtis McKee (Maryland Wheelers) third. In the girls’ race it was the ever-smiling Faith Robinson (Bray Wheelers) who took the win with visitor Ciara Bakovic (Sutton Cycling Club) taking second, Greta Lawless (Team WORC) third and Maria O’Shea (IMBRC) fourth.
After a break for podium presentations the next race got underway with 4 categories: Under 14s, Under 16s, Women and Junior men. The Under 14s had 2 laps of a reduced course to complete. The Under 16 boys and the Women had 3 laps of the full course and the Junior boys had 4 laps of the full course. There was only one entry in the Under 16 girls’ race with Annie Roche (Scott Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) successfully completing her 2 lap race.
The Under 14 boys’ race was an exciting affair with Shane Scullion (Island Wheelers) and Travis Harkness (Carn Wheelers) neck and neck at the end of the first lap. Travis then managed to put together a great lap 2 to take the win from Shane. Oscar McCarthy (Killarney Cycling Club) finished third. As expected Aine Doherty (VC Glendale) was unchallenged in the Under 14 girls’ race taking another comfortable win. Visitor Aoife Bakovic (WXC World Racing) finished second, her first race in Ireland, with Katie Reilly (Scott Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) third.
In the Under 16 boys’ race, the favourite, Dean Harvey (VC Glendale), had to work hard to ensure he stayed ahead of Ruairi Coghlan (Killarney Cycling Club) to take the win with Fionn Desmond (MBCC) only a short distance back.
Junior rider Niamh McKiverigan (Powerhouse Sport) put on a great performance to take the win in the Women’s race to finish ahead of another Junior rider, Darcey Harkness (Carn Wheelers). Leah McCarthy (Team Giant Dublin) finished third with yet another Junior rider, Stephanie Roche (Scott Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) finishing fourth. The 3 Junior women were presented with trophies from the Cycling Ireland Off-road Commission in recognition of their age category within the overall Women’s category.
In the Junior men’s race Lee Harvey (VC Glendale) lead after lap 1 before Adam McGarr (Biking.ie) took over race. Sean Nolan (Navan Road Club) came from third place to take second, leaving Lee with third and Nathan Kurensky (Cunga CC) fourth.
After another break for podiums, the next race took place for the Masters Men M40s and M50s. Both had 4 laps of the full course to complete. World Masters Champion Robin Seymour (Team WORC) was the favourite in the M40s category and he didn’t disappoint, leading by 30 seconds after lap 1 and stretching that lead to almost 5 minutes at the end. Paul McCarter (Donegal Bay Cycling Club) finished second with Evan Ryan (Team WORC) third, Pj Hynes (Cuchulainn CC) fourth, Ronan O’Sullivan (Team Giant Dublin) fifth and Rob Henry (MTB Assoc of Dublin) sixth.
In the M50s, last year’s winner Peter Buggle (Un-Attached Leinster) was expected to retain his title and he didn’t let the crowd down, storming around the course to finish 4th overall despite the 1 minute gap at the start line. Aiden McDonald (Cuchulainn CC) finished second with John Doris (EPIC MTB / Expert Cycles) third, Michael Jordan (CSS Tallaght Wheelers) fourth and Vinnie Fitzsimon (Team WORC) fifth.
The final race of the day was for the Masters M30 and the Senior men. At this stage the rain had arrived ranging from light drizzle to heavy downpours. Richard Maes (STRATA3/VeloRevolution Racing Team) carried forward his great form this year to take a comprehensive win in the 5 lap M30s race ahead of Raymond O’Shaughnessy (Cuchulainn CC). The race for third place was a hard fought battle between Richard Felle and Brian Melia, both from Team WORC, and Barry Kellett from Dromara Cycling Club. The position of these 3 riders changed throughout the race and all eyes were watching down the fire road to see who would be the one to appear to take third. In the end it was Brian Melia who took the bronze medal with Barry Kellett fourth and Richard Felle fifth.
The Senior men’s race was another exciting one with David Montgomery (Un-Attached Ulster) powering around the laps keeping well ahead of David Conroy (Scott Eurocycles.com) and last year’s winner Gareth McKee (Banbridge CC). Gareth dropped away from the main battle and by lap 4 David Conroy had started to reel in David Montgomery. MC Paul Joyce was helping to build up the tension in the air as to which of the Davids would appear on the final fire road climb to the finish. Through the rain and the darkness of the trees appeared the Scott Eurocycles rider, David Conroy, who had built up enough lead over David Montgomery to do some one-wheeled victory displays before crossing the line. Montgomery had given his all but had to settle for second. Gareth McKee finished third with Graham Boyd (McConvey Cycles) fourth and Lee Clarke (Shelbourne/Orchard CC) fifth. David Conroy also received a trophy from the Off-road Commission in recognition of the Espoir (Under 23) category.
After the races the riders could enjoy the hot food and drinks available onsite. As part of the award presentations the trophies for the NPS were handed out.
Many thanks to all the team at MBCC for hosting a great national championship.
Commissaire: Martin Grimley
Report by: Martin Grimley
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