NPS Round 2 (2024) Report

Round 2 of the Cross-country National Point Series (NPS) took place at Carrickgollogan Forest (Leadmines) in County Dublin. Hosted by EPIC MTB this site is well used by the club for their club league. It is a stunning location with the race village having spectacular views of Wicklow and Dublin, and the iconic ruin of the flue chimney at Ballycorus. As per last year we were treated to a glorious day of weather with blue skies all day and only a slight breeze. Gary Coyne and his team had further developed the course from last year and it was all running very well given the recent dry spell. The catering trucks were in place, Paul Joyce on was on the microphone and building the atmosphere for another great day of mountain bike racing.

First up was the race for the Under 6s. Seven young riders took on two short laps and received a medal and some sweets at the finish. Next up were the Under 8s. They started from the same location as the Under 6s but went up the fire road, past the timing tent and then took a sharp left into the trees. They had 4 laps to complete. The winner from Round 1, Bobby Campbell (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club), lead the first two laps in the boys’ race but Evan McTavish (Western Lakes CC) took over the lead and held it to the line. Bobby had to settle for second but still remains at the top of the series leaderboard. Scottie Lockhart (Un-Attached Leinster) completed the podium with third place. In the girls’ race Ríonach Campbell (Square Wheels) lead from start to finish. Marian Mulvaney (Sliabh Luachra Cycling Club) was second with Elisa Tyszecka (Un-Attached Munster) third.

The Under 10s had a longer course and had 4 laps to complete. Lewis Bell (Shelbourne/Orchard CC) made it back-to-back wins for the series so far in the boys’ race. Logan McAreavey (Bellurgan Wheelers) was second. George Cleverley (Sliabh Luachra Cycling Club) was lying third for the first half of the race but dropped back due to mechanical issues. David Hajek (Un-Attached Leinster) took the third position. In the girls’ race Emilia Tyszecka (MBCC) finished ahead of Sadhbh Moran (Un-Attached Leinster).

The Under 12s course was longer than the Under 10s and they had 5 laps to complete. Benjamin Cunningham (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) repeated his win from Round 1 and Rían Watkins (Galway MTB) also got himself another silver medal. Third place went to Darragh Jackson (IMBRC) when he managed to pass Fabian Drwal (Un-Attached Connacht) who had to settle for fourth. In the girls’ race Aoife Campbell (Square Wheels) got ahead of Laoise Crinion (IMBRC) on lap 2 and kept that lead to the finish. Laoise finished second with Aoife Killeen (Kilcullen Cycling Club Murphy Geospacial) third and Georgie Wallace (EPIC MTB/Expert Cycles) fourth.

After a break for podium presentations and course practice, the riders lined up for the 12 noon race. In this race were the Under 14s, Under 16s, Senior 2 women, Senior 3 women, Senior 4 open and, for the first time, the Senior 1 women.

First to appear at the timing tent completing the shorter course were the Under 14 boys. Taking his second win of the series was Oscar Moran (EPIC MTB/Expert Cycles). Darragh Murphy (Rostrevor Mountain Bike Club) and James Geary (Fermoy Cycling Club) finished second and third respectively after the 3 laps. Among the Under 14 girls Ava Baker (Breffni Wheelers) finished ahead of Ciara O’Connor (Drogheda Wheelers), a repeat of the Round 1 result.

In the Under 16 boys’ race Ryan Daly (Scott Racing IRL) was hoping to repeat his win from round 1 and was leading after lap 1 but a puncture ended his race. Curtis McKee (Spellman-Dublin Port) had made his way up to the front of the bunch at the end of lap 2 and held on to take the win after the three laps of the full course. Caleb McGreevy (VC Glendale) was second with James Armstrong (VC Glendale) third. Lacey Aicken-Johnson (North Down CC) was the only Under 16 girl to race.

For the 2 lap Senior 3 women’s race, Hazel Murphy (Yellow Furze Road Club) improved on her second place from Round 1 to take the win. Sinead Greenan (Galway MTB) finished second with Emma Convey (EPIC MTB/Expert Cycles) third. The Senior 4 open race was held over 3 laps and was won by Alan Dunne (Team WORC). John Moran (EPIC MTB/Expert Cycles) finished second with William Rock (South-East Road Club) completing the podium.

The Senior 2 women’s race was held over 3 laps and attracted 10 riders. It was great to see Erica Grant (EPIC MTB/Expert Cycles) back racing. Erica claims it has been 8 years since she raced and what a way to make a comeback leading from start to finish. Round 1 winner Fiona Lally (EPIC MTB/Expert Cycles) finished second with Jean Wilson (EPIC MTB/Expert Cycles) third and Catriona Wheeler (Agivey Cycling Club) fourth. In the 4 lap Senior 1 women’s race Caoimhe May (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club), the current national champion, took the win. Ciara Macmanus (Un-Attached Ulster) was second with junior rider Faith Robinson (Bray Wheelers) third. Joanna Bula (Team WORC) was fourth with Leah McCarthy (K Capital Rocky Mountain) fifth.

After another break for podium presentations, course practice and refreshments it was time for the Senior 1 open, Senior 2 open, Senior 3 open and Junior men to race. The temperature continued to rise. A warm day for the climbs. The riders started from the bottom of the fire road at the entrance gate to the forest.

In the 4 lap Senior 3 open race Francis Yates (DU Cycling Club) lead from start to finish. The riders who crossed the line in second and third had owned up to taking short cuts and were disqualified. Colm O’Byrne (IVCA Cycling Club) then took the step on the podium along with Fergal Power (MTB Assoc of Dublin). Michael Dardis (EPIC MTB/Expert Cycles) was fourth with William McAdam (Un-Attached Ulster) fifth.

In the 5 lap Senior 2 open race Pj Hynes (Bellurgan Wheelers) had to work hard to keep the ever chasing Richard Felle (Team WORC) behind him. PJ finished first with Richard second. Ronan O’Flynn (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) and Sean Feeney (Team WORC) battled it out for third with Ronan making it onto the podium with Sean having to settle for fourth. In the Junior men’s race it was a replication of the result from Round 1 with Ben O’Keeffe (Spellman-Dublin Port) finishing ahead of Donagh O’Connor (Sliabh Luachra Cycling Club).

The Senior 1 open race was held over 6 laps and saw 18 riders on the start line. Daniel Brickenden (Team WORC) was leading for 5 of those laps but always had his team mate Robin Seymour close behind him. Robin made his move on the final lap and took the win. Daniel finished second. David Montgomery (Spellman-Dublin Port) finished third with Gareth McKee (Cycleology Racing Team) fourth and Lee Harvey (Spellman-Dublin Port) fifth.

A huge thanks to all at EPIC MTB for hosting this event. A slick operation with great weather to boot. 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. The next round of the NPS will take place on Sunday 2 June 2024 at Dunmore Mountain, County Down hosted by Banbridge Cycling Club. This venue played host to the 2009 National XC Championships.

Details on Closing date for entries will be Friday 31 May at 8 pm.

Commissaire: Martin Grimley

Results – here

Series table after two rounds – here

Race report by Martin Grimley

Ronan Ryan (FlickR) – here and here – here