Report courtesy of Martin Grimley (Chief Comm) with results from Martin and the VC Glendale Time team, photos BP Media Team (David Mc Veigh & Dany B & Jerome Mc Namara)
Round 6 of the 2022 Ulster Cyclo-cross series took place on Sunday 13 November and was aptly named – “Falling Leaves Grand Prix”. The venue, Falls Park in West Belfast, was resplendent in autumn colours. There were plenty of leaves to clear! Host club VC Glendale last ran a CX race in the park back in 2019. A big thanks to Belfast City Council for permission and to the park wardens for their support. The event attracted over 200 competitors who found the park transformed into a top quality cyclo-cross venue. The colour of the club’s kit is based on the Belgium team and the park was adorned with Belgium flags. The course benefits from the long, straight tarmac avenue which was used by all riders. The avenue was lined with banners, the music was playing, the racing was exciting. The temperature was very mild with no rain all day.
All courses used the small grass area to the left of the avenue. The Under 6s had a short loop in this area. The Under 8s, 10s and 12s had longer loops. The older categories used the left hand grass area to line themselves up to cross the avenue to head out to the main course. The main course had the iconic steps, built just for the race, as well as a great course in the upper part of the park. The return leg took the riders down the tree lined side of the park on the opposite side of the main parking area, over the boards and back onto the avenue for the finish line sprint.
The first race of the day was, as usual, the Under 6s fun race. There were 10 young riders on the start line who had 2 laps to complete. Their reward, a goodie bag at the finish line.
The next up were the Under 8s who had 4 laps to complete of their circuit. Conor McGahan (Square Wheels) won the boys’ race taking his 5th win of the series. Daithi Hughes (Square Wheels) was second with Thomas Crymble (Lisburn BMX Club) third. Eabha Connolly (Square Wheels) got her first win of the series when she crossed the line in the girls’ race. Sophia Campbell (Phoenix CC) was second with Ríonach Campbell (Square Wheels) taking third which kept her at the top of the league table.
The Under 10s had 8 laps to complete of their course. Jack McGahan (Square Wheels) had his fifth win of the series in the boys’ race. Jake McKee (VC Glendale) finished second with Cahir Hughes (Square Wheels) third. Aoife Campbell (Square Wheels) put on another excellent event to win the girls’ race, finishing behind Jack McGahan. Ruby Millar (Square Wheels)
was second with Fiadh Craig (VC Glendale) third.
The Under 12’s had to complete 11 laps of a short circuit. Eunan Campbell (Square Wheels) lead from start to finish in the boys’ race. Daragh Quigley (Foyle CC) was second with Rory McCool (Square Wheels) third. Eire McCrystal (Bellurgan Wheelers) made her first appearance to the league this year and was chasing Ava Baker (Breffni Wheelers) for 8 laps but managed to finally catch Ava on the final lap. Ava had to settle for second with Skye Spence (Shimna Wheelers Cycling Club) third and Carmen Buchowicz (Team Caldwell Cycles) fourth.
Next up were the Under 14s, Under 16s and Women. Rian McCrystal (Bellurgan Wheelers) didn’t have as hard a time as his sister in the earlier race when he lead from start to finish on his debut to this year’s series. Rian’s win broke the run of wins that Caleb McGreevy (VC Glendale) had this season, leaving Caleb in second place at this round. Josh McClune (Team Madigan C.C.) completed the podium with his third place. In the U14 girls’ race Emer Heverin (Kinning Cycles Cycling Club) dominated the race finishing well clear of Aoife Craig (VC Glendale). Clodagh Quigley (Foyle CC) took third place.
Conor Murphy (Rostrevor Mountain Bike Club) lead the Under 16 boys’ race from start to finish. The big battle was behind him for second place between Curtis McKee (Scott Bright Motor Group) and Cameron Henry (Inspired Cycling) who kept together for the whole race with Curtis beating Cameron on the sprint finish. Aliyah Rafferty (Island Wheelers) picked up her second win of the series in the Under 16 girls’ race. Aliyah beat current league leader Aisha Gannon (Breffni Wheelers) with Aoibhinn Sharkey (VC Glendale) picking up her first podium position on the third step.
There were 8 riders in the women’s race with a good battle at the front between Aine Doherty (VC Glendale) and Stephanie Roche (Scott Bright Motor Group). Aine did manage to hold off Stephanie to take the win, considered a home win on home soil. Stephanie finished second with sister Annie Roche (Scott Bright Motor Group) picking up third. Helen White (Stamullen RC) was fourth and picked up the first unplaced masters prize. Quite an achievement as Helen raced on Saturday at Corkagh Park cyclo-cross race and picked up the first unplaced masters prize there as well.
The next race on the cards was the Men’s A’ race. Dean Harvey, currently with Spellman-Dublin Port, but formerly with the host club, put on another incredible ride to take the win over the 7 laps much to the delight of the spectators. Darnell Moore (Team Caldwell Cycles) finised second with Darren Rafferty (Un-Attached Ulster) winning the battle for third place against Curtis Neill (Carn Wheelers).
Curtis finised fourth and picked up the first unplaced Junior men’s prize. Oisin Ferrity (Island Wheelers) was 5th with Darragh McCarter (Spellman-Dublin Port) 6th. Lee Harvey (VC Glendale) picked up first unplaced Under 23 (Espoir) prize. Jason Henry (Inspired Cycling) picked up first unplaced M50 with David O’Neill (Inspired Cycling) collecting first unplaced M40. Christopher McCann (Banbridge CC) picked up first unplaced M60. The team prize went to VC Glendale when Travis Harkness, Lee Harvey and David Neil Armstrong crossed the line.
The final race of the day was for the Men’s B race and the mountain bike men’s support race. Both were held over 5 laps. David McKee (VC Glendale) has a reputation of slipping into the Men’s B’ race seeking glory and he did just that when he took the win. William Boyd (McConvey Cycles) finished second with Enda McLoughlin (Bottecchia Racing Club) taking third place. All three are now obliged to race in the A’ race for the remainder of the season. Dariusz Buchowicz (Team Caldwell Cycles) finished fourth with Darren McCann (Dromara Cycling Club) fifth and Jon Hilditch (Ballymena Road Club) sixth.
The the mountain bike men’s race Ryan Mercer (VC Glendale) took the win with Barry Kelly (DB Cycling Club) second and Paul Beattie putting in a strong finish to take third.
A massive thanks to all the hardworking volunteers from VC Glendale for putting on a fabulous race. The next round will be in two weeks time at Ballymena. Next week is the first round of the inaugural National Cyclo-cross Series which will be held in Westport. Commissaires: Jim Adams, Liz Roche and Martin Grimley (author report)
Standings after 6 of the 8th rounds: https://ulstercyclocross.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/Ulster_Cyclo-cross_League_2022.htm