Kicking off the day’s racing was the Under 6s ‘Fun’ race which was held over one lap of a dedicated circuit. With lots of enthuastic support from the spectators the 22 young riders (16 boys and 6 girls) on their bicycles or striders set off. It is still undecided if it is the racing or the packet of sweets at the end that motivates this age group!

The Under 8s then lined up next. Their course took in the Under 6s course but then extended further along through the forest before returning to the event field. The boys set off first with the girls starting a few seconds later. Darragh Murphy (Rostrevor Mountain Bike Club) took the win in the boys’ race when he finished ahead of Ryan McKeown (Trail Demons CC) with another Trail Demon, Brodie Hull, taking third. In the girls’ race the Aoifes were back on the podium again with Aoife Craig (VC Glendale) taking the win ahead of Aoife Kellett (Dromara Cycling Club). Anna Morris (Inishowen Wheelers) finished third.

The Under 10s start line was on the main course just below the run up to the finish line gantry. The Under 10s course was longer again than the Under 8s and the riders were given 2 laps to do, based on last year’s results. However, the dry course conditions made this course quite fast and they could easily have had another lap. Curtis McKee (Maryland Wheelers) chalked up another win as he finished a few seconds ahead of the chasing bunch. There was a close finish between the next rides with Elliot Maitland (Killinchy Cycling Club) second, James Armstrong (Dromara Cycling Club) third, Killian McCoy (Epic/Expert Cycles) fourth and Darragh Ryan (McNally Swords) fifth. The girls’ race was more spread out with Cara Suckling (Maryland Wheelers) riding strongly to take the chequered flag, Aisling Smyth (Apollo Cycling Team) second and Emer Heverin (Kinning Cycles) third

The Under 12s were started further back along the course. This time the riders were not told on the start line how many laps they were going to do. This was calculated when they had completed their first lap. The Under 12s course took in the full section of the forest beside the event field. With their speed the riders were given 5 laps to complete. Reuben Maitland (Killinchy Cycling Club) took an impressive win ahead of Oisin May (Scott Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) with Conor Murphy (Rostrevor Mountain Bike Club) third. As usual Aine Doherty (VC Glendale) was up among the leading boys to finish 3rd overall, first girl. Cara Moffitt (Phoenix CC) had a close race with Aliyah Rafferty (Island Wheelers) to finish second and third respectively

The Under 14s and Senior 3 women’s course was a shortened version of the main course cutting out some of the climbing section. This meant that these riders would be back to the event field before the others. The Under 14 rider Luke Murphy (Killarney Cycling Club) was back through the finish well ahead of expectations and went on to finish well over a minute ahead of his nearest rival Scott Roberts (McConvey Cycles) with Travis Harkness (Carn Wheelers) completing the podium. Erin Creighton (XMTB) won the girls’ Under 14s race as she finished ahead of Hannah Mullin (Trail Demons CC)
with Keela Smyth (Apollo Cycling Team) third. The Under 16 boys’ race was 3 laps of the main course. Darren Rafferty (Island Wheelers) had a superb race to take the win well clear of second place Dean Harvey (Kinning Cycles) with Ben Wilson (Dromara Cycling Club) third. Caoimhe May (Scott Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) took the flag in the Under 16 girls’ race with Darcey Harkness (Carn Wheelers) finishing an impressive second after a nasty fall at one of the tricky sections of the course. Stephanie Roche (Scott Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) finished third in this category.

Commissaires: Maurice Mayne, Gary Sheils and Maciej Staroniewicz

All photos courtesy of Richard Cowan (Dromara CC)

Results  and report courtesy of Martin Grimley (Dromara CC )