NPS Round 4 (2024) Report

The fourth round of the Irish Cross-country National Point Series (NPS) took place at Glensheskin Wood, Kilworth, Co. Cork over the weekend of 15-16 June 2024. Fermoy Cycling Club was the host and this was the second year that the NPS had taken place at this location. Course builder Tom Cotter has been spending a lot of time developing new sections of the forest. The course was well taped and had amuzing signage at various sections naming that section of the forest. On Saturday the club was presenting the first ever short-course event. These are 20 minute high-intensity cross-country races limited to a maximum of 30 riders, where lapped riders get elimated from the race. Three of these were put on in the afternoon. The weather had not been kind as the riders and spectators had to deal with all varieties of rain with occasional breaks for sunshine, before the next downpour.

Race 1 was for the Under 14s and women. All riders started on the same whistle. Taking the overall win in this race was Caoimhe May (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club), second across the line was Under 14 rider Kieran Mulvaney (Sliabh Luachra Cycling Club), third across the line was Joanna Bula (Team WORC). The top 3 for each category was
1. Caoimhe May (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club)
2. Joanna Bula (Team WORC)
3. Faith Robinson (Bray Wheelers)

Under 14s
1. Kieran Mulvaney (Sliabh Luachra Cycling Club)
2. James Geary (Fermoy Cycling Club)
3. Dean Sheridan (Fermoy Cycling Club)

All riders on the podium received a branded mug and a packet of Barry’s tea bags. Those on the top step got a box of biscuits to go with their tea!

Race 2 was for the M40s and M50s. PJ Hynes (Bellurgan Wheelers) had lead for 6 out of the 7 laps but it was Geoffrey Robinson (Bray Wheelers) who took the win. PJ had to settle for second. David O’Neill (Inspired Cycling) was third. First unplaced M40 was Emil Tyszecki (MBCC). First unplaced M50 was Colin O’Connor (Drogheda Wheelers).

Race 3 was for the Under 16 boys, Junior men and Seniors. Sean Feeney (Team WORC) took the win with Mark McGlynn (Killarney Cycling Club) second and Fionn Desmond (MBCC) third. Under 16 riders Shane O’Brien (Fermoy Cycling Club) and Joshua Loos (Seven Springs CC Loughrea) were fourth and fifth respectively. The unplaced Juniors Ben O’Keeffe (Spellman-Dublin Port) and Donagh O’Connor (Sliabh Luachra Cycling Club) were given prizes along with the third placed Under 16 Tony Kenneally (Dungarvan CC).

Full results here.

With the short course racing completed the main course was opened for practice. Unfortunately
one of the new sections “Northern Slopes” had to be cut out as the riders were unable to cycle down or cycle up and out of this section due to the mud. A section that was used last year was put back in instead. At the other side of the course the sections “Sneaky Snake” and “The Ledges” were kept in despite riders also having issues on these sections. It was hoped that a dry night was allow these sections to be (mostly) rideable on race day.

It did stop raining and it remained dry overnight. Race day was Sunday morning and we were greeted with clear skies. After a while some light cloud appeared but this later cleared to give a warm sunny day. No further rain. The course dried up and was running well with only a short section still requiring some bike pushing. The race village was set up which included a pizza truck (P61). Parking had been provided in a field on the outskirts of the forest.

As usual the first race of the day was for the Under 6s. There were 9 young riders lined up to complete two laps through the trees at the back of the timing tent. Well done to all for getting through the muddy section.

The Under 8s started further back down the fire road. They had a longer course than the Under 6s and two laps to complete. Despite starting behind the boys, it was the girls who crossed the line first.
Ríonach Campbell (Square Wheels) won the girls’ race (her fourth win from four rounds) with Marian Mulvaney (Sliabh Luachra Cycling Club) just behind her taking second. Elisa Tyszecka (Un-Attached Munster) was the third girl and Seána Rose Kennedy (Cork BMX Club) was fourth. Evan McTavish (Western Lakes CC) won the boys’ race, his third win in a row. Bobby Campbell (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) recovered from a poor first lap to finish second. Fionn Murphy (O’Leary Stone Kanturk) was third with Cooper Ryan (Un-Attached Leinster) fourth.

The Under 10s course was longer than the Under 8s and they also had 2 laps to complete. Lewis Bell (Shelbourne/Orchard CC) continues his winning form taking his fourth win of the series. Logan McAreavey (Bellurgan Wheelers) was second with Finn McTavish (Western Lakes CC) third. Emilia Tyszecka (MBCC) was the only girl in the race and finished well up among the boys.

The Under 12s had 3 laps of their course to complete. There was a close battle at the front of the boys’ race with Rían Watkins (Galway MTB) crossing the line first, getting his second win of the series. Benjamin Cunningham (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) was just behind Rían and Billy Lord (Breffni Wheelers) just behind Benjamin to complete the podium. In the girls’ race Aoife Campbell (Square Wheels) took her fourth win of the series. Newcomers to the series, Grace Kennedy (Cork BMX Club) and Ellie Kennedy (Cork BMX Club) took second and third respectively with Erica Sheridan (Fermoy Cycling Club) finishing fourth.

After a break for podium presentations it was the turn of the Under 14s, Under 16s, Senior 1, 2 and 3 women and the Senior 4 open race. The Under 14s and Senior 3 women raced on the shorter track with the others racing on the full track.

Oscar Moran (EPIC MTB/Expert Cycles) won the three lap Under 14 boys’ race, making it his fourth win from four rounds. James Cunningham (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) was second with James Geary (Fermoy Cycling Club) third. There were just two riders in the Under 14 girls’ race with Ava Baker (Breffni Wheelers) taking her third win of the series when she finished ahead of Ciara O’Connor (Drogheda Wheelers).

The Under 16 boys’ race started with some drama when Curtis McKee (Spellman-Dublin Port) broke his chain at the start and crashed taking down two other riders. All got up with Curtis running with his bike to the tech zone to get it repaired. Ryan Daly (Scott Racing IRL) was unaffected by the crash and put in a storming first lap, the fastest of the day, and went on to take the win. Caleb McGreevy (VC Glendale) finished second with Curtis managing to get back into the race, over the four laps, to finish third. Shane O’Brien from the host club finished fourth. Mia Geary (Fermoy Cycling Club) was the only entry for the Under 16 girls’ race but had to pull out during lap one.

The three lap Senior 4 open race saw Jason Travers (Dungarvan CC) take the chequered flag. Jason managed to hold off the chasing Michael Coghlan (Killarney Cycling Club) who finished second. David Ryan (Un-Attached Leinster) was third with series leader Barry Toland (Sperrin Mountain Bike Club) finishing fourth.

The Senior 3 women’s race was won by Sinead Greenan (Galway MTB). This was Sinead’s third win of the series. Hazel Murphy (Yellow Furze Road Club) was second with Emma Convey (EPIC MTB/Expert Cycles) third.

Jean Wilson (EPIC MTB/Expert Cycles) repeated her performance from Round 3 with another win in the Senior 2 women’s race. This moves Jean to the top of the series table displacing Fiona Lally (EPIC MTB/Expert Cycles) who finished second at this race. Catriona Wheeler (Agivey Cycling Club) was third with Aine Maccarthy (Sorrento CC) fourth.

Junior rider Greta Lawless (Team WORC) put on an impressive show of strength in the Senior 1 women’s race to take the win. National Champion Caoimhe May (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) finished second keeping her at the top of the series table. Joanna Bula (Team WORC) was third with Junior rider Faith Robinson (Bray Wheelers) fourth and Leah McCarthy (K Capital Rocky Mountain) fifth.

After another break for podium presentations, course practice and pizza it was time for the Senior 1 open race, Senior 2 open race, Senior 3 open race and the Junior men.

Colm Bradley (EPIC MTB/Expert Cycles) lead the four lap Senior 3 open race from start to finish. Emil Tyszecki (MBCC) was second with Patrick Clifford (Killarney Cycling Club) third. Harry Rochford (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) was fourth with Fergal Power (MTB Assoc of Dublin) fifth.

The finish of the Senior 2 open race was the most exciting of the day. Leading from the start was PJ Hynes (Bellurgan Wheelers) who looked like he has a comfortable lead for the first four laps. Behind PJ was a chasing Sean Feeney (Team WORC) with Fionn Desmond (MBCC) always closing on Sean for the race for second. However, coming out of the trees on the final lap was Sean with Fionn appearing second. Both had managed to pass PJ. PJ appeared a few seconds after the pair. Sean was looking comfortable to take the win on the finish straight but Fionn had timed his final attack perfectly to just cross the line ahead of Sean. PJ crossed the line a few seconds later to take third.

A super photo by Eightynine Media

In the Junior men’s race Ben O’Keeffe (Spellman-Dublin Port) again got the better of Donagh O’Connor (Sliabh Luachra Cycling Club).

In the six lap Senior 1 open race, Robin Seymour (Team WORC) lead from start to finish. Robin had won at this venue last year. Putting in an impressive race was Daniel Brickenden (Team WORC) who was lying second until lap 5 when he had to retire due to a mechnical. Lee Harvey (Spellman-Dublin Port) had been holding onto third place but with Daniel retiring it was actually Gareth McKee (Cycleology Racing Team) who got ahead of Lee to take second. Lee managed to drop back to fourth when Graham Boyd (McConvey Cycles) passed him to take the last place on the podium. Geoffrey Robinson (Bray Wheelers) finished fifth with Brian Melia (Team WORC) sixth.

A massive thanks to Stephen McGrath, Tom Cotter and all the crew from Fermoy Cycling Club for putting on a great weekend of racing. Thanks to Coillte for the use of the forest, the farmer for allowing parking in his field and the local GAA club for allowing camping on their ground. Thanks to Scott Cycles for sponsoring the series and providing prizes for the winners. Thanks to P61 pizzas and to Paul Joyce for the race commentary. A big thanks to all the support crews and spectators for helping make the day.

Commissaire: Martin Grimley

Results – here

Series table after four rounds – here

Race report by Martin Grimley

Sean Magnier (Facebook) – here
Eightynine Media – here