NPS Round 5 (2024) Report

The fifth and final round of the 2024 Cross-country National Point Series (NPS) took place on Sunday 7 July at Bellurgan Park in County Louth. Bellurgan Wheelers was the host club with Bryan McCrystal the event director. Bellurgan Park was used the last two years to host the National Cross-country Championships. The venue has a large field for parking, event village and the wide start/finish area. The landowners even allowed overnight camping onsite. Paddy Daly had brought along the bling from the series sponsor Scott Racing. The banners, gazebo and flags looked the part. Last Lap café were providing the refreshments, Paul Joyce was on the microphone and Barry Rogers was providing the colour with his Big Bobble hats stall. With the schools now finished there was a drop off in the overall attendance numbers but with 150 coming along there was plenty of racing of watch. The course was in great condition with the recent dry weather. Some say it was in the best condition they have ever seen it. A big thanks to Robbie for his continued efforts to maintain and improve the course. The weather on race day was overcast with occasional sunshine. The weather forecast had said it would rain by 2 pm and, much to everyone’s amazement, at one minute to 2 pm it did rain. The rain didn’t last too long though. Just enough to get the riders’ legs dirty.

The first race of the day was, as always, the Under 6s. There were 5 young riders taking on one lap of their course. Their course exited the field and turned left and ran along a narrow strip at the back of the fence before returning to the field. Well done to all of these young riders. The climb up to the finish line was challenging!

The Under 8s lined up next. They used the same course as the Under 6s but had 2 laps to complete. First to cross the finish line was Ríonach Campbell (Square Wheels). This made it 5 wins out of 5 rounds for Ríonach. The second rider across the line was Bobby Campbell (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) who took the win in the boys’ race. Evan McTavish (Western Lakes CC) finishing second in the boys’ race which was enough for him to finish top of the overall series. Visiting rider Xander Thomson (Glasgow Riderz) finished third. The second girl to cross the finish was Marian Mulvaney (Sliabh Luachra Cycling Club). Elisa Tyszecka (Un-Attached Munster) completed the podium for the girls.

The Under 10s had a longer course which took them up the climb into the forest. They had 3 laps to complete. Lewis Bell (Shelbourne/Orchard CC) completed his clean sweep of wins in the series. Visiting rider Finlay Thomson (Glasgow Riderz) finished second in the boys’ race with Logan McAreavey (Bellurgan Wheelers) third. Emilia Tyszecka (MBCC) won the Under 10 girls’ race and the overall series. Ciara McCool (Square Wheels) finished second.

The Under 12s had to travel further up into the forest for their course. They had 4 laps to complete. Benjamin Cunningham (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) got his third win of the series. Billy Lord (Breffni Wheelers) finished second with Fabian Drwal (Un-Attached Connacht) third and William Sunderland (Un-Attached Ulster) fourth. Aoife Campbell (Square Wheels) was the first girl but was actually the second rider over the line. Laoise Crinion (IMBRC) was the second girl with Lucy Baxter (Lisburn BMX Club) finishing third.

After the usual break for podium prize giving, including the prizes for the overall series, it was the turn of the Under 14s, Under 16s, Senior 1 women, Senior 2 women, Senior 3 women and the Senior 4 open race. The riders lined up along the wide start line and were given separate whistles at the start. The Under 14s and Senior 3 women had a shorter course to complete. The rest had to take on the full course.

The Under 14 boys’ were the first to appear. James Cunningham (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) lead the 3 lap race from start to finish. Darragh Murphy (Rostrevor Mountain Bike Club) was second with Kieran Mulvaney (Sliabh Luachra Cycling Club). Missing from this round was the overall series winner Oscar Moran (EPIC MTB/Expert Cycles). In the Under 14 girls’ race Ava Baker (Breffni Wheelers) took the win and won the overall series. Ciara O’Connor (Drogheda Wheelers) was second with Sophie Baxter (Lisburn BMX Club) taking the final step on the podium.

In the 3 lap Under 16 boys’ race Ryan Daly (Scott Racing IRL) put on a impressive performance to take the win. This coming after his excellent third place at the British cross-country series Round 5 last weekend. Finishing second in Bellurgan was Caleb McGreevy (VC Glendale) who won the overall series title. Curtis McKee (Spellman-Dublin Port) finishing third. In the Under 16 girls’ race Mia Geary (Fermoy Cycling Club) took the chequered flag with Cara Suckling (VC Glendale) second and Lacey Aicken-Johnson (North Down CC) third. Lacey won the overall series.

The 3 lap Senior 4 open race was won by Padraig Ryan (Fermoy Cycling Club). William Rock (South-East Road Club) finished second with Barry Toland (Un-Attached Ulster) third. The overall table shows a joint tally between William Rock and Barry Toland with only Barry’s win in Round 3 being used to separate them to award the overall trophies. David Ryan (Un-attached Leinster) was third in the overall table.

The Senior 3 women’s race was won by Sinead Greenan (Galway MTB). This was her fourth win of the series which ensured she won the overall series. Hazel Murphy (Yellow Furze Road Club) was second with Joelene Browning (Dromore CC) third. In the Senior 2 women’s race Jean Wilson (EPIC MTB Expert Cycles) had a strong ride to finish well clear of second place Fiona Lally (EPIC MTB Expert Cycles) with Catriona Wheeler (Agivey Cycling Club) taking third. Jean won the overall series.

In the 4 lap Senior 1 women’s race it was Junior rider Greta Lawless (Team WORC) who got the win. Greta did have to stop in the tech zone at the end of lap 3 which allowed Caoimhe May (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club), the current national champion, to take over the lead. Greta managed to take off after Caoimhe and regain her lead. Caoimhe finished second on the day but took the overall win in the series. Third place went to Ciara Macmanus (Un-Attached Ulster). Behind Ciara there was a tight race for fourth place between Junior rider Faith Robinson (Bray Wheelers), Leah McCarthy (K Capital Rocky Mountain) and Joanna Bula (Team WORC). These three stuck together for the first two laps but then Joanna made her move and stretched out a big time gap to fifth. It was Faith who finished fifth with Leah settling for sixth.

The final race got lined up a 2 pm in the light rain. Setting off first were the Senior 1 open riders and the only entry in the Junior men’s race, Ben O’Keeffe (Spellman-Dublin Port). Behind them went the Senior 2 open race then the Senior 3 open race two minutes later.

Colm Bradley (EPIC MTB Expert Cycles) took a comfortable win in the 4 lap Senior 3 open race finishing well clear of Harry Rochford (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club). Fergal Power (MTB Assoc of Dublin) finished third but took the overall series title. Jason Malone (Cuchulainn CC) was fourth with Dariusz Buchowicz (Team Caldwell Cycles) fifth. In the 5 lap Senior 2 open race Sean Feeney (Team WORC) was not leaving it to chance this round (having been pipped at the finish line in Round 4). Sean ensured he finished over 2 minutes ahead of his nearest rival. His nearest rival was Michael Maher (Team WORC). Sean won the overall series. Conor Campbell (Cuchulainn CC) took third on the day with John Doris (EPIC MTB Expert Cycles) fourth. Pj Hynes (Bellurgan Wheelers) was leading at the end of lap 1 but dropped back to second for laps 2 and 3. He then broke a chain which cost him 10 minutes. He did manage to finish in 10th place.

As expected, Christopher Dawson (Dawson Racing) won the 6 lap Senior 1 open race. Christopher has been racing in Europe for most of the season and the higher levels of training and racing have paid off. Chasing hard though was David Montgomery (Spellman-Dublin Port) who was only 2 and a half minutes behind Christopher. Robert McKenna (Bray Wheelers) has also been racing in Europe this season. Robert finished third. Daniel Brickenden (Team WORC) finished fourth and won the overall series.

A massive thanks to Bryan McCrystal, Robbie and all at Bellurgan Wheelers and friends of the club for coming together to put on an excellent event. Thanks to the landowner of Bellurgan Park for the use of the site and the camping.. Thanks to Scott Cycles for sponsoring the series and providing prizes for the winners as well as a raffle of a new cycling helmet. Thanks to Last Lap Café 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 five rounds – here

Race report by Martin Grimley

Damien Faulkner (Facebook) – here
Fran Hollywood (Facebook) – here