Report and results from Martin Grimley (chief comm & off-road commission) and time team, photos David Mc Veigh (action) & Jerome Mc Namara (podiums) BP Media
The 2021 Ulster Cyclo-cross Championships took place on Sunday 12 December at CyclocrossNI, a private cyclo-cross track in Portadown owned by James Wilson. The host club for the event was first-timers Velocity Road Club. The venue had been used for Round 3 of the Ulster Cyclo-cross series in October this year. In October the race was subject to heavy rainfall which had flooded the lower field. James Wilson has been busy in the meantime putting in new drainage which then required a change of direction to the race lap. The drainage helped with the water but the site was still very muddy after more rain in the lead-up to the championships. Race day itself was mostly dry, mild (around 12 degrees) with strong winds arriving towards the end of the day. Turn out was lower than the series race but this was partly due to the other provinces hosting their championships on the same day so we had no visiting riders. At the podium presentations, there was an opportunity to hand out the trophies for the 2021 Ulster Cyclo-cross Series. Full results on https://ulstercyclocross.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Ulster_Cyclo_cross_Championships_2021_Results.htm
Racing started with the non-championship support races. The first of these was for the Under 6s with 5 young riders taking on one lap around the paddock, over the humps, and back towards the final run into the finish line. This final run-in was quite leg sapping for all riders throughout the day. Next up were the Under 8s. They had two laps to complete. Elijah McClintock (Lisburn BMX Club) won the boys’ race when he finished ahead of Conor McGahan (Square Wheels) and Noah Mitchell (Square Wheels). Ruby Millar (Square Wheels) won the girls’ race with Sophia Campbell (Phoenix CC) taking second and Eabha Connolly (Square Wheels) third.
The Under 10s race was an extended version of the Under 8s course and the riders had to complete 3 laps. In the boys’ race Daragh Quigley (Foyle CC) took the win with Jack McGahan (Square Wheels) second and Samuel Curran (Square Wheels) third. In the girls’ race, it was Aoife Campbell (Square Wheels) who took the chequered flag when she finished ahead of Cassie Rocks (Island Wheelers) with Abbie Kinning (Kinning Cycles Cycling Club) and Emily McClintock (Lisburn BMX Club) finishing third and fourth respectively.
The Under 12’s course was longer again than the Under 10’s course with the riders having to complete 3 laps. Josh McClune (Team Madigan C.C.) crossed the line first to win the boys’ race with Darragh Murphy (Rostrevor Mountain Bike Club) second and Eunan Campbell (Square Wheels) third. Aoife Craig (VC Glendale) finished well ahead of Clodagh Quigley (Foyle CC) with Aoife Kellett (Dromara Cycling Club) taking the third spot on the podium. (note Dany: photo below of the girls receiving their trophies of the Ulster CX League as well ad their championship medals)
The first of the championship races then started at 11:40 with the Under 14s, Under 16s, Women, and Junior men battling it out. The Under 14s and Under 16s had four laps with the Women and Junior men completing 5 laps. In the Under 14 boys’ race Curtis McKee (VC Glendale) took a comprehensive win ahead of Caleb McGreevy (Apollo Cycling Team) with James Armstrong (Dromara Cycling Club) third. In the U14 girls’ race Aisha Gannon (Breffni Wheelers) finished first with Emer Heverin (Kinning Cycles Cycling Club) second and Cara Suckling (VC Glendale) third. The Under 16 boys’ race was the usual fast and furious affair with Samuel Coleman (Shelbourne/Orchard CC) taking the win in the muddy conditions ahead of Conor Murphy (Rostrevor Mountain Bike Club) with Seth Dunwoody (Shelbourne/Orchard CC) having to settle for third. Aine Doherty (VC Glendale) had to keep her wits about her to take the win in the Under 16 girls’ race as Aliyah Rafferty (Island Wheelers) was always chasing her. Aliyah finished second with Aoibhinn Sharkey (VC Glendale) taking third.
The Women’s race only had 4 riders and they were evenly split into Senior women and Masters women. Darcey Harkness (VC Glendale) was the first of the women to cross the finish line so she won a gold medal for the Senior women’s category. Judith Russell (Phoenix CC) was second overall but won the gold medal for the Master’s women category. Helen McParland (Phoenix CC) was third overall with Caroline Martinez (Chain Reaction Cycles) fourth, silver medals for both women, Senior and Master’s respectively.
The Junior men’s race saw some particularly fast racing with Travis Harkness (VC Glendale) taking gold, Curtis Neill (Carn Wheelers) silver with Adam Rafferty (Island Wheelers) taking the bronze medal.
The Masters 50-60 championship race
After a short break for course practice, the next set of championship categories lined up, this time for the Master M50 and M60 categories. Des Woods (Newry Wheelers CC) was leading the 5 lap race until Jason Henry (Inspired Cycling) passed him on the last lap. A close contest was unfurling between the two M50s until Des crashed. This was enough to give Jason the win. Des finished second with John Bogues (Phoenix CC) taking the third spot on the M50 podium. IN the M60s race it was on-form Christopher McCann (Banbridge CC), who managed to get up to fifth overall, who took the win in the M60s category. Raymond Beers (East Antrim CC) finished second with Fred Macsorley (Apollo Cycling Team) third.
The Elite & U23 and Masters 40 championship race
The final championship race took place at 2:30 pm with the Senior Men and the Masters M40 men using the course at the same time albeit with a 30-second gap between the starting whistles. Darren Rafferty (Villeneuve Cycliste) lead the Senior men’s race from start to finish. Dean Harvey (VC Glendale) was holding second place until lap 3 of 7 when Christopher McGlinchey (Spectra Wiggle p/b Vitus) took over. Christopher held this position until the end. Dean managed to drop back to 5th place on the penultimate lap before clawing his way back to third. Lee Harvey (VC Glendale) finished fourth with Darnell Moore (Team Caldwell Cycles) taking fifth. In the M40 category Barry Kellett (Dromara Cycling Club) lead the 6 lap race from lap 2 to the finish line. David O’Neill (Inspired Cycling) and Barry Convery (Newry Wheelers CC) ended up sprinting for second place with David crossing the line ahead of Barry Convery. Aaron Parks (Banbridge CC) finished fourth with Jonathan Taylor (Carn Wheelers) getting fifth. The M40 team prize went to Newry Wheelers when Drew McKinley and Mark Gordon joined Barry Convery at the finish line.
This completes the 2021 cyclo-cross season in Ulster. The next event in the province will be the National Championships on the second week in January which is being hosted by Square Wheels at Armagh Demesne. Many thanks to all the volunteers today from Velocity Road Club and to James Wilson and his family for their support. Thanks go to The Belgian Project for commentating and officiating at the presentations and to all the photographers who give up their time to capture the action. Hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable Christmas. Commissaires: Jim Adams and Martin Grimley
Report by Martin Grimley