Report courtesy of Martin Grimley (Ulster & Ireland CX commission) with full results and final standing courtesy of Martin and his Square Wheels time team with thanks to them all…photos Jerome Mc Namara and Dany B (BP Media)
The 8th and final round of the 2022 Ulster Cyclo-cross series took place on Sunday 4 December at the beautiful Palace Demesne in Armagh. Host club Square Wheels had ran the National Cyclo-cross Championships at this venue back in January 2022. Back in January the course had suffered from lots of wet weather making the course difficult to ride. For this event, however, the course was in great condition with little mud meaning the pit crews were largely idle all day. The weather was kind to us with only a short, light shower in the middle of the day. There was lots of sunshine but little heat. When the wind did pick up it was bitterly cold.
As before, the youth races (Under 6s to Under 12s) took place within the garden area of the former bishop’s palace (built in 1770). The start and finish lines had been moved from previous years to nearer the gate to the main park. The first race of the day was for the Under 6s. The 8 young riders had 2 laps of a short circuit to complete. The club had provided festive themed goodie bags for youth categories up to Under 12s.
The Under 8s had their own course and had 2 laps to commplete. In the boys’ race it was Conor McGahan (Square Wheels) who took the win with Jaxon Jennings (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) second and Daithi Hughes (Square Wheels) third. The overall series was won by Conor McGahan with Daithi Hughes second and James Kavanagh (Lakeland), who finished fourth today, taking third overall. In the girls race Ríonach Campbell (Square Wheels) took the win with Eabha Connolly (Square Wheels) second and Sophia Campbell (Phoenix CC) third. These three also topped the series with Ríonach Campbell first, Sophia Campbell second and Eabha Connolly third.
Next up were the Under 10s and they had 3 laps to complete of their course. Jack McGahan (Square Wheels) won the boys’ race with Jake McKee (VC Glendale) second and Cahir Hughes (Square Wheels) third. Jack and Jake finished the series first and third respectively with Leo Gallagher (Shelbourne/Orchard CC) taking second in the overall series. Aoife Campbell (Square Wheels) was the first across the line of all the riders, finishing around 30 seconds ahead of Jack McGahan on a course that really suited her. Amelia Finnegan (Apollo Cycling Team) was second girl with Ruby Millar (Square Wheels) third. As expected, Aoife won the overall series with Faidh Craig (VC Glendale) taking second overall and Amelia taking third overall.
The Under 12s course was longer than the Under 10s and they had 5 laps to complete. Eunan Campbell (Square Wheels) finishing over 1 minute ahead of Rory McCool (Square Wheels) with Daragh Quigley (Foyle CC) getting third in the boys’ race. These three finished the overall series in the same order. Ava Baker (Breffni Wheelers) and Skye Spence (Shimna Wheelers Cycling Club) were the only two Under 12 girls in the race and this was their finish order. Ava and Skye took first and second respectively in the overall series with Carmen Buchowicz (Team Caldwell Cycles) taking third overall.
In the Under 14 boys race, Caleb McGreevy (VC Glendale) finished over two minutes ahead of second place Josh McClune (Team Madigan C.C.) with Jamie Ervine (Apollo Cycling Team) third. These three riders finished in the same order for the overall series. Emer Heverin (Kinning Cycles Cycling Club) won the Under 14 girls’ race today and the series overall. Aoife Craig (VC Glendale) and Clodagh Quigley (Foyle CC) finished second and third today and second and third respectively for the overall series.
The fastest riders were the Under 16 boys with Curtis McKee (Scott Bright Motor Group) taking the win ahead of James Armstrong (VC Glendale) and Adam Ward (VC Glendale). Curtis won the overall series with Cameron Henry (Inspired Cycling) taking second and Harry Hobbs (VC Glendale) finishing third overall.
For the Under 16 girls, Aliyah Rafferty (Island Wheelers) took the win when she crossed the line ahead of Rhiannon Dolan (Cuchulainn CC). Cara Suckling (VC Glendale) finished third but that was enough to win the overall series. Elisa Sunderland (Lisburn BMX Club) and Aisha Gannon (Breffni Wheelers) finished second and third in the series respectively.
The Women’s race was dominated by the Roche sisters with Stephanie taking the win ahead of Annie (both with Scott Bright Motor Group). Helen White (Stamullen RC) had just returned from the 2022 Masters Cyclo-cross World Championships in Ipswich after finishing 7th in the FV55+ category. Helen then added a third place at the Ulster Cyclo-cross Round 8 to her resumé of cycling achievements. Elena Wallace (Harps CC) finished fourth today and took the first unplaced Junior prize. Caroline Martinez (Chain Reaction Cycles) finished fifth today and took the first unplaced masters prize. Caroline also won the overall series. Stephanie Roche was second and Carly Connolly (Square Wheels) was third in the series.
The next race to line up was the Men’s Cyclo-cross A’ race. They had 7 laps to complete. Darnell Moore (Team Caldwell Cycles) lead the race from start to finish. Graham Boyd (McConvey Cycles) made his way up from 4th to second. Jamie Meehan (Spellman-Dublin Port) was third with David O’Neill (Inspired Cycling) finishing fourth and taking the first unplaced M40 prize. Seth Dunwoody (Shelbourne/Orchard CC) was fifth and took the first unplaced Junior prize. Colm McGarvey (EPIC MTB/Expert Cycles) made his debut to the series and finished sixth, taking the first unplaced M50 prize. Johnny McCabe (Cuchulainn CC) took the M60 prize but then went on to delight the spectators and riders by singing a song about Fred MacSorley while Fred was competing the next race!!
The next race was the Men’s Cyclo-cross B’ race and the mountain bike support race. Host club’s Colm McGahan (photo below) was leading the B’ race for the first 3 laps to great encouragement from the spectators, however he faded for the last two laps allowing Vinny Mort (Dunloy CC) to take the win. Colm finished second with Sean Scullion (Island Wheelers) taking third. Ian Lambden (Lakeside Wheelers Mullingar CC) was fourth with Peter Oliver (The Bike House CC) fifth and Gavin Thompson (Un-Attached Ulster) sixth. Fred MacSorley (Apollo CT) finished 25th under the encouragement from Johnny McCabe!
In the mountain bike support race Barry Kelly (DB Cycling Club) finished first with Gerard Curran (Tir Chonaill Gap CC) second and Andrew Gordon (Maryland Wheelers) third. For the overall MTB support race category in the series it was Gerard Curran who topped the table with Barry Kelly second and Paul Beattie third.
These events are only possible with a huge effort from the host club. Thanks to all those who gave their time to put on this event. The set up was great! Thanks also to the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon local council for allowing the venue to be used and to the Belgian Project for race commentary and photos today. Across the whole series we had over 360 people come along to take part. Thanks to all of them for supporting the series. The overall series prizes will be given out at the Ulster Championships which take place on Sunday 18 December 2022 at Mallusk Playing Fields, hosted by Kinning Cycles.
Commissaires: Jim Adams, Liz Roche and Martin Grimley