In dept report from Martin Grimley (Off-road commission Ulster&Ireland) Results from the Omagh Time team and Martin, podium photos Jerome BP Media, others Dany BP media…
“Round 2 of the 2022 Ulster Cyclo-cross series took place on Sunday 9 October at the Ecclesville Centre in Fintona. This is the fourth year that host club, Omagh Wheelers, has used this excellent equestrian centre. The centre boasts a range of terrain across open park land and forest trails. The main building allows for indoor sign on as well as changing and shower facilities. The big talking point of the day was the weather. It was forecast to be wet and windy and the forecasters got that right. Rain started around 9:30 am and didn’t let up all day. The wind picked up around midday and was very gusty at times putting a strain on course tape and gazebos. Despite this, there was a great turn out of riders”
Starting off the day was the Under 6s race. There was a separate mini circuit for Under 6s and Under 8s. There were 11 Under 6s and they had one lap to complete. The Under 8s lined up next. There were 5 boys and 6 girls and they had 4 laps of the mini circuit to complete. The top 3 in the boys’ race was the same as per Round 1. Conor McGahan (Square Wheels) took the win ahead of Daithi Hughes (Square Wheels) with James Kavanagh (Lakeland) third. Sophia Campbell (Phoenix CC) won the girls’ race when she finished ahead of Eabha Connolly (Square Wheels) with Ríonach Campbell (Square Wheels) finishing third.
The Under 10s started from the new start area, which was on the gravel pitch beside the play park. This area allowed more space for the riders and included the food vans to make for an event village. The Under 10s had 3 laps to complete. Taking his second win of the series in the boys’ race was Jack McGahan (Square Wheels). Leo Gallagher (Shelbourne/Orchard CC) finished second with Jake McKee (VC Glendale) rounding off the podium. Aoife Campbell (Square Wheels) finished second overall, first girl with Fiadh Craig (VC Glendale) second girl and Amelia Finnegan (Apollo Cycling Team) third.
The Under 12s used the same course as the Under 10s but they had 5 laps to complete. The podium for the boys’ race was the same as Round 1 with Eunan Campbell (Square Wheels), Rory McCool (Square Wheels) and Daragh Quigley (Foyle CC) finishing first, second and third respectively. The girls’ also had the same podium as Round 1 with Ava Baker (Breffni Wheelers), Skye Spence (Shimna Wheelers Cycling Club) and Carmen Buchowicz (Team Caldwell Cycles) finishing first, second and third respectively.
After a short break for podiums and race practice (and food for the timekeepers) the Under 14s, Under 16s and Women lined up for their race. In the Under 14 boys’ race Caleb McGreevy (VC Glendale) made this his second win of the series. Jamie Rockett (Ards CC) was second with Jamie Ervine (Apollo Cycling Team) third. Aoife Craig (VC Glendale) repeated her win from Round 1 in the Under 14 girls’ race when she finished ahead of Emer Heverin (Kinning Cycles Cycling Club) and Clodagh Quigley (Foyle CC). The Under 16 boys’ race looked like it was going to turn out to be a close race between Curtis McKee (Scott Bright Motor Group) and Cameron Henry (Inspired Cycling) as per Round 1 but Curtis pulled away from Cameron to finish with a comfortable lead. This despite Curtis having competed in Derby the day before at the first round of the British National Cyclo-cross series, finishing an impressive 16th out of 93 finishers in his age category. Harry Hobbs (VC Glendale) managed to secure a podium finish in Fintona improving on his 4th place from Round 1. There were only two starters in the Under 16 girls’ race with Cara Suckling (VC Glendale) getting the better of Edith Murphy (Cuchulainn CC).
In the 4 women’s race Eleana Wallace (Harps CC) was leading for the first 3 laps until a confusion at the finish line delayed her getting into her last lap. This allowed Caroline Martinez (Chain Reaction Cycles) to pass Eleana leaving Eleana to have to settle for second. It was great to see the return of Roisin Skeffington (Square Wheels) to cyclo-cross and she was rewarded with third place. Rachel McBride (Arcane Cycling Team) was fourth with Michelle Irvine fifth and picking up the first unplaced Masters women prize.
After another break for podiums and course practice the Cyclo-cross Men’s A’ race lined up with 29 taking to the start line. Barry McElduff, Council Chairman for Fermanagh and Omagh District was on hand having a look over the event. The riders had a moment’s silence at the start of their race in honour of those killed on Friday in Creeslough, County Donegal in an explosion at a petrol station.
Once gridding was made the riders set off on their 6 lap race. At the head of the race was a battle between Dean Harvey (Spellman-Dublin Port) who won Round 1 and Darnell Moore (Team Caldwell Cycles) who has vowed to win his local race in Fintona. The riders remained together until the final lap when Dean pulled away to finish around 15 seconds ahead of Darnell. Darragh McCarter (Spellman-Dublin Port) finished third, with Curtis Neill (Carn Wheelers) fourth – picking up the first unplaced Junior prize. Jamie Meehan (Spellman-Dublin Port) was fifth and picked up the first unplaced Espoir. Barry Convery (Newry Wheelers CC) picked up first unplaced M40, Des Woods (Newry Wheelers CC) first unplaced M50 and Christopher McCann (Banbridge CC) first unplaced M60. There were only two teams of three starting the race so the team prize was not awarded.
The final race of the day was for the Cyclo-cross Men’s B’ race and the mountain bike support race. Leading from start to finish across the four laps was Pierre Kinsella (Breffni Wheelers). There was a close battle between James Alexander (McConvey Cycles) and David Neil Armstrong (VC Glendale) with James getting ahead of David to claim second. These three riders are now upgraded to the Men’s A’ race. Ciaran Campbell (Square Wheels) finished fourth with Gerard Craig (VC Glendale) fifth and Stuart Suckling (VC Glendale) sixth. In the mountain bike men’s race it was Gerard Curran (Tir Chonaill Gap CC) who took the win ahead of Charlie Hetherington (Omagh Wheelers Cycling Club) with Calum McMonagle (Foyle CC) third.
A huge thanks to Oliver Logan and all at Omagh Wheelers for putting on this event. It improves year on year. A huge thank you to all the marshals for standing out in the awful weather. A thanks to all the riders for supporting this round and the series to date. Thanks to Fermanagh and Omagh District Council for the use of the park and to the sponsors McAleer Building Supplies and Caldwell Cycles Omagh. The next round takes place in two weeks time at Florida Manor in Killinchy, hosted by Killinchy Cycling Club. Details will be on www.ulstercyclocross.com Commissaires: Jim Adams and Martin Grimley