NPS Round 1 (2023) Report

The new series for cross-country mountain bike racing kicked off on Sunday 7 May 2023 at the Leadmines in Dublin. This is the first time the venue has been used for a National Point Series (NPS) event but the venue is in regular use by host club Epic MTB for their club events. The race village sat at the top of a long fire road with great vistas of the hills around County Dublin and County Wicklow as well as the iconic Ballycorus Flue Chimney. The weather stayed dry all day with some outbreaks of warm sunshine. Laptops and paperwork were covered in fine pollen dust from the gorse bushes in the next field. Suncream was being applied. Entries for the event were over 250. Epic MTB had a large number of volunteers on site, there was a coffee van as well as Paul Joyce supplying the music and race commentary. All was set for a great day of racing.

The first race of the day was for the Under 6s with 18 young riders on the line to take on two laps of a short course. All received a medal at the finish line.

The Under 8s then lined up. They had two laps of their course to complete. Taking the win in the boys’ race was Conor McGahan (Square Wheels) with Bobby Campbell (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) second and Jaxon Jennings (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) third. Ríonach Campbell (Square Wheels) won the girls’ race when she finished ahead of Ciara McCool (Square Wheels) and Marian Mulvaney (Sliabh Luachra Cycling Club).

Next up were the Under 10s which saw 20 riders on the start line. Benjamin Cunningham (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) powered around the 3 lap course to take the win for the boys. Jack McGahan (Square Wheels) finished second with Fabian Drwal (Un-Attached Connacht) third. Coming in just behind Fabian was the first girl, Aoife Campbell (Square Wheels). Julia Piorek (Limerick Mountain Biking Club) was second with Amelia Finnegan (Square Wheels) third and Erica Sheridan (Fermoy Cycling Club) fourth.

The Under 12s course was longer than the Under 10s course and they had two laps to complete. We had the usual close battle at the front between James Cunningham (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) and Eunan Campbell (Square Wheels) with James crossing the line first. Eunan was second with Rory McCool (Square Wheels) third and Cian Walsh (IMBRC) fourth. Among the girls it was Laoise Crinion (IMBRC) who was triumphant with Ava Baker (Breffni Wheelers) second and Ciara O’Connor (Drogheda Wheelers) third.

After a break for podium presentations and course practice the next races started at noon with the Under 14s, Under 16s, Senior 3 women, Senior 2 women and Senior 4 men. The start line was all the way back at the entrance gate to the forest, at the bottom of the long fire road climb. The Under 14s and Senior 3 women used the reduced circuit while the other categories used the full course.

The Under 14 boys completed 3 laps of the reduced course. Leading from start to finish was Caleb McGreevy (VC Glendale) with Rian McCrystal (Bellurgan Wheelers) second and Fionn Crinion (IMBRC) third. The Under 14 girls completed 2 laps of the reduced course.  Aoife Craig (VC Glendale) took the win ahead of Maeve McCool (Square Wheels) with Lacey Aicken-Johnson (North Down CC) third and Orla Mulhearne (Panduit Carrick Wheelers) fourth.

The Senior 3 women also completed 3 laps of the reduced course. Jean Wilson (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) took the win ahead of Fiona Lally (Un-Attached Leinster.

In the 3 lap, Under 16 boys’ race Conor Murphy (Rostrevor Mountain Bike Club) lead after lap 1 but pulled out due to illness. Curtis McKee (Scott Bright Motor Group) went onto to win the race with Ryan Daly (Scott Bright Motor Group) second and Cameron Henry (Inspired Cycling) third. The Under 16 girls completed 2 laps of the full course and, as expected, Greta Lawless (Team WORC) took the chequered flag. Faith Robinson (Bray Wheelers) was second with Mia Geary (Fermoy Cycling Club) third.

In the Senior 2 women’s race Junior rider Tara Brennan (Un-Attached Munster) finished first ahead of the NPS co-ordinator, Caroline Martinez (Chain Reaction Cycles) with Niamh Stephens (Team Giant Dublin) taking third place.  Francis Yates (DU Cycling Club) won the Senior 4 men’s race which was held over 2 laps of the full course. Damien McCarthy (MBCC) was second with Fergal Power (MTB Assoc of Dublin) third, Karl Ryan (Bray Wheelers) fourth and Darragh Connolly (Bray Wheelers) fifth.

After another break for podium presentations and course practice, the final races of the day took place at 2 pm. This was for the Senior 1 women, Junior men, Senior 1 men, Senior 2 men and Senior 3 men.

The Senior 3 men’s race saw the biggest entry of the day with 54 riders gathered at the bottom of the fire road looking to start their 3 lap race. The race was won by Ryan Dunne (Lucan Cycling Road Club) with Jean Sergio Cambruzzi (Team WORC) second and Jonathan Boyle (Navan Road Club) third. Stephen Timmons (EPIC MTB/Expert Cycles) was fourth with Nick Lannoote (Team WORC) fifth and Colm O’Byrne (IVCA Cycling Club) sixth.

The Senior 2 men’s race was held over 4 laps. John Doris (EPIC MTB/Expert Cycles) took the win finishing ahead of club mate Colm McGarvey. Dominik Drwal (Un-Attached Connacht) was third with Chris Mollaghan (Team WORC) fourth, Eric Downey (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) fifth and Jason Henry (Inspired Cycling) sixth.

There was only one entry in the Junior men’s race with Donagh O’Connor (Sliabh Luachra Cycling Club) taking on 3 laps. In the Senior 1 women’s race, national champion Caoimhe May (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) took the win in the 3 lap race ahead of Leah McCarthy (K Capital Rocky Mountain) with Joanna Bula (Team WORC) third.

The Senior 1 men had 5 laps to complete. Current M50 national champion Robin Seymour (Team WORC) took the win but had to work hard to stay ahead of Nathan Kurensky (Spin11 – Chain Reaction Racing Team). Robert McKenna (Bray Wheelers) stepped up to Senior 1 this year after finishing second overall in the NPS last year. Robert finished third today with Geoffrey Robinson (Bray Wheelers) fourth, current M30 national champion Lee Clarke (Shelbourne/Orchard CC) fifth and Daniel Brickenden (Team WORC) sixth.

Many thanks to David Meredith and his team of the volunteers from Epic MTB for putting on a great event. A tough course but well marked and well marshalled. Thanks to Coillte for the use of the forest and to the local landowners for the car parking areas. Thanks to Scott Cycles for sponsoring the series and providing prizes for the winners. A big thanks to all the support crews and spectators for helping to make this a great event.

The next round of the NPS will take place on Sunday 21 May 2023 at Glensheskin Wood, Kilworth Co. Cork hosted by Fermoy Cycling Club. Details on Closing date for entries will be Friday 19 May at 8 pm.

Commissaire: Martin Grimley

Results here

Race report by Martin Grimley

Cycling Ireland – here
Terry McDonagh – here