NPS Round 2 (2022) Report

Round 2 of the 2022 Cross-country (XC) Mountain Bike National Point Series (NPS) took place at Fossa, Killarney, County Kerry on Sunday 22 May 2022. The last time a major mountain bike race was held at the site was back in July 2014 for the National XC Championships. The volunteers from Killarney Cycling Club had spent a lot of time preparing the event field and the trails located behind the youth hostel. Race organiser Kevin Murphy, was able to arrange some practice time on the Saturday afternoon with the landowners. The weekend remained largely dry and trails were in great condition. The event field had parking as well as a long, wide start/finish straight. There was a camp site nearby which backed onto the site. With 180 riders registered from all across the island, the field soon filled with vehicles and racing got underway.

The first race of the day was for the Under 6s. With just two entries this was a short head-to-head race, up and down the start/finish straight. Their reward, a goodie bag at the end. Next up were the Under 8s. They had just one lap of a course which went into trees and then used some diversions off the main race course. Benjamin Cunningham (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) was back to his winning ways with a great win in the boys’ race. David Hajek (Un-Attached Leinster) finished second with Logan McAreavey (Cuchulainn CC) third. There were just two entries in the girls’ race with Ríonach Campbell (Square Wheels) beating Ciara McCool (Square Wheels) to the finish line.

Next up were the Under 10s. They had 2 laps to complete. As per all youth races, the boys start on the first whistle, the girls on the second whistle, usually 5-10 seconds later. However, at the end of lap 1 it was a girl, Aoife Campbell (Square Wheels), who appeared first out of the woods having passed all the boys. Aoife was followed by the first of the boys, Rían Watkins (Un-Attached Munster). At the overall finish both Aoife and Rían had retained their first position in their relative categories. Second boy was Jake McKee (VC Glendale) with third boy Colm Geary (Un-Attached Munster). Second girl was Julia Piorek (Limerick Mountain Biking Club) with third girl Emily Acheson (Strabane Lifford Cycling Club).

The Under 12s race was based on a longer course. At the end of lap 1 Eunan Campbell (Square Wheels) and Darragh Murphy (Rostrevor Mountain Bike Club) was wheel to wheel but Eunan pulled away to finish 8 seconds ahead of Darragh. James Cunningham (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) completed the boys’ podium. Aoife Craig (VC Glendale) was the first girl home, 4th overall among the boys. Abaigh Dennehy (Sliabh Luachra Cycling Club) finished second with Ava Baker (Breffni Wheelers) completing the girls’ podium.

After prize presentations and course practice the 12 noon races set off.

First away were the Under 16 boys, then the Under 14 boys, Senior 4 men, Under 16 girls, Under 14 girls, Senior 2 women and Senior 3 women. In the Under 14 boys’ race it was Curtis McKee (Scott Bright Motor Group), Ryan Daly (Scott Bright Motor Group) and Caleb McGreevy (Apollo Cycling Team) who finished first, second and third respectively in the 2 lap race. This was the same top 3 as per Round 1. For the Under 14 girls’ race it was Cara Suckling (VC Glendale) who had her second win of the series. Mia Geary (Un-Attached Munster) finished second with Lacey Aicken-Johnson (North Down CC) third. Conor Murphy (Rostrevor Mountain Bike Club) stormed around the 3 lap Under 16 boys’ race finishing around 4 minutes ahead of Willem O’Connor (O’Leary Stone Kanturk) with Ryan McCarthy (Verge Sport PI Cycles) taking third. Greta Lawless (Team WORC) and Faith Robinson (Bray Wheelers) finished 1st and 2nd as per Round 1 in the Under 16 girls’ race. The Senior 3 women’s race was held over 2 laps with Tara Brennan (Un-Attached Munster) crossing the line first ahead of Elmarie O’Brien (Un-Attached Munster). Kelly Robinson completed the podium. The Senior 4 men’s race was held over 3 laps and was won by Frank Doherty (Killarney Cycling Club). Thomas O’Reilly (Killarney Cycling Club) finished second with Jason Travers (Dungarvan CC) getting third. The Senior 2 women’s race was also held over 3 laps. Annie Roche (Scott Bright Motor Group) took the chequered flag with Round 1 winner, Caroline Martinez (Chain Reaction Cycles), finishing second and Caroline McArdle (EPIC MTB/Expert Cycles) finishing third.

After another session of prize giving and course practice the final races of the day took place starting at 2 pm. First away were the Senior 1 men, followed by the Senior 1 women, Junior men, Senior 2 men and Senior 3 men.

The Senior 3 men’s race was held over 4 laps with Emmet Brien (EPIC MTB/Expert Cycles) taking the win. Seán Prendiville finished second with David McKee (VC Glendale) third and Julian Kennedy Ripon (Northwest MTB) fourth. The Senior 2 men had to complete 5 laps. Mark McGlynn (Killarney Cycling Club) won this race with Robert McKenna (Bray Wheelers) second, Eric Downey (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) third, Alexander Simon Lennon fourth and Billy McSweeney (Killarney Cycling Club) fifth. The Junior men’s race was also held over 5 laps and was won by Adam Murphy (Killarney Cycling Club) with Scott Gallagher (Northwest MTB) taking second.

The 4 lap Senior 1 women’s race was won by Caoimhe May (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club), her second win of the series. Joanna Bula (Un-Attached Leinster) finished second with Niamh McKiverigan (Scott Bright Motor Group) third. Leah McCarthy (Team Giant Dublin) finished fourth with Stephanie Roche (Scott Bright Motor Group) fifth. The Senior 1 men’s race was held over 7 laps. Leading from start to finish was Christopher McGlinchey (Spectra Wiggle p/b Vitus). Gareth McKee (Cycleology Racing Team) finished second with Colm Mullen (Team WORC) taking third. Lee Clarke (Shelbourne/Orchard CC) was fourth with Paul McCarter (Spellman-Dublin Port) fifth and Chris Oakley (VC Glendale) sixth.

Well done to all competitors and congratulations to all winners. A huge thank you to all the volunteers from Killarney Cycling Club for hosting this event. It was a great day with even an appearance of some warm sunshine.
Thanks to the landowner for the use of the venue and to Scott cycles for some great prizes for the winners. The next round will be held at Union Wood, County Sligo on Sunday 5 June, hosted by Northwest MTB.

Commissaire: Martin Grimley

Race results: here

Overall league table: here

Race report by Martin Grimley

Photo links

Race report by Cycling Ireland here

Killarney CC (Facebook) here

Paul Hannigan (Facebook) herehere and here