A report by Martin Grimley commissaire, and one of the instigators behind the growth of off-road racing in Ireland. Features photo’s taken from https://www.facebook.com/xmtbmbc/>>>Ormeau Park in Belfast was the venue for Xmtb’s Spring Trophy cross-country mountain bike race. As opposed to the regular Spring series of 3 races the host club put all their efforts into hosting one race this year. The format remained the same with the course designed through the trees using both natural trails and the established gravel trails. The Under 6s had their own separate race area with all other racers starting on the tarmac climb before heading into the single track. The weather forecast had predicted rain but for most of the day it was overcast but dry with only a light drizzle towards the end of the senior race. There was a cold breeze in the afternoon which tested the resilience of the spectators. The first race of the day was for the Under 6s which started a short time after the local Junior Parkrun had passed through the race village. The Under 6s had to complete two short laps with all riders getting a goodie bag at the finish. Transferring over to the main course the Under 8s got lined up with the boys starting off on the first whistle and the girls on the second whistle. Gridding for all riders today was based on how quickly the riders had registered online for the race.
Ryan McKeown (Trail Demons CC) took the win in the Under 8 boys’ race with Rory McCool (Square Wheels) second and Sean Heverin (Kinning Cycles) third. Leah Hepburn (Island Wheelers) won the girls’ race with Aoife Campbell (Square Wheels) second and Skye Spence (Shimna Wheelers Cycling Club) taking the bronze medal.The Under 10s had a longer course than the Under 8s and had 4 laps to do. Caleb McGreevy (Apollo Cycling Team) had a comfortable win in the boys’ race with Darragh Murphy (Rostrevor Mountain Bike Club) second and Jamie Ervine (Apollo Cycling Team) third. Aoife Craig (VC Glendale) had a close battle with Emer Heverin (Kinning Cycles) during this race but it was Aoife who took the chequered flag with Emer second and Maeve McCool (Square Wheels) third. The Under 12s course was longer again than the Under 10s and they had 3 laps to complete. Conor Murphy (Rostrevor Mountain Bike Club) took the gold medal with Curtis McKee (Maryland Wheelers) silver and Harry Hobbs (Killinchy Cycling Club) bronze. Aliyah Rafferty (Island Wheelers) dominated the Under 12 girls’ race with the battle for second very close between club mates Aisling Smyth and Elisa Sunderland both from Apollo Cycling Team, with the finish in this order. Beth Campbell (XMTB) was fourth. After the prize giving for the Under 8s, 10s and 12s the next set of races started this time for the Under 14s, Under 16s and Women. The Under 14s had 3 laps to complete, the Women had 5 and the Under 16 boys’ had 7 laps. Shane Scullion (Island Wheelers) lead from start to finish in the Under 14 boys’ race with Travis Harkness (Carn Wheelers) second and Oisin Ferrity (Island Wheelers) third. Aine Doherty (VC Glendale) had to work hard to keep ahead of Hannah Mullan (Trail Demons CC) as they finished first and second respectively in the Under 14 girls’ race. Cara Moffitt (Phoenix CC) completed the podium in this category. There were no Under 16 girls racing today but a strong turn out of Under 16 boys with Darren Rafferty (Island Wheelers) putting on a fine display of powerful racing. Dean Harvey (VC Glendale) was second with Ryan Skelly (Carn Wheelers) third. In the Women’s race Niamh McKiverigan (Powerhouse Sport) and Darcey Harkness (Carn Wheelers) were together for the first 4 laps with Niamh breaking away to take the win. Darcey finished second with Ruth McKee (Banbridge CC) third, Judith Russell (Phoenix CC) fourth and Angie Smyth (Apollo Cycling Team) fifth. After another prize giving ceremony, this time for the Under 14s, 16s and Women, it was back to the bottom of the tarmac climb for the start of the final races of the day. Lined up at the front was the Junior men, with the Senior A’ men starting 10 seconds later and the Senior B’ men starting 1 minute after the Juniors. Lee Harvey (VC Glendale) put in a strong performance to take the win in the Junior race finishing second overall on the day. Drew Armstrong was second with a very close race for third place with Ben Wilson (Dromara Cycling Club) finally getting ahead of Andrew Gordon (Ballymoney CC) – both riders having been locked together the whole race. In the Senior Men’s B’ race David Morwood took the win ahead of Colin Deane (Unattached) with Gerard Ferrity (Island Wheelers) third, Mark Faloon (XMTB) fourth, Sean McKeown (Trail Demons CC) fifth and Andrew Gordon (Maryland Wheelers) sixth.In the Senior Men’s A’ race National Champion Gareth McKee (Banbridge CC) took the win with Scott Maitland (Killinchy Cycling Club) second, Chris Oakley (XMTB) third, William Boyd (McConvey Cycles) fourth, Dean Burnside (Island Wheelers) fifth and Raymond Rocks (Island Wheelers) sixth. After the races the riders could enjoy the food laid on by the club or get a hot drink from the mobile coffee dock. Many thanks to all the volunteers from Xmtb for hosting the race and to Belfast City Council for supporting it<<<< Report by: Martin Grimley