Round 1 of the 2021 Ulster Cyclo-cross Series took place at the new venue of Florida Manor in Killinchy, County Down. Florida Manor is a 17th Century mansion which has been restored with additional courtyards, further accommodation added along with formal gardens. It is a vast estate and it is thanks to the landlord that the host club, Killinchy CC, were able to use the site to host their race.
The race took place against the backdrop of the main house with the start/finish on tarmac. The main course swung around the ruins of the first heated greenhouse in Ireland, along the off-camber slope, before rising back up towards the top of the hill where the pits were located. The course made it’s way round the two enormous trees in the field, hugged the edge of the main property before heading up the hill. At the top of the hill the riders used the on-site BMX jumps before the final grass section. The main course then dropped down the stone path before coming up through the stone pillars and onto the final straight.
The host club was able to construct the course in the days leading up to the race. The weather in the lead up had been wet which left many muddy sections but race day remained dry, with sunny spells, right until the end of the last race of the day when there was a 10 minute heavy shower. Once that cleared the day returned to blue skies and sunshine.
The first race of the day was for the Under 6s. The six young riders had one lap of the grass area before heading to the finish line, and the prize of a goodie bag. The Under 8s took in the BMX jumps before also using the same grass section. The Under 8s had two laps to complete. In the boys’ race Benjamin Cunningham (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) had his third win of the season finishing ahead of Elijah McClintock (Lisburn BMX Club) with Jackson Coakley (Powerhouse Sport) third. In the girls’ race Ruby Millar (Square Wheels) took the win ahead of Sophia Campbell (Un-Attached Ulster) with Fiadh Craig (VC Glendale) taking third place.
The Under 10s used the same course as the Under 8s but had 4 laps to complete. The Under 10 boys’ podium was the same as it has been for the other two cyclo-cross events this year with Daragh Quigley (Foyle CC) taking gold, Jack McGahan (Square Wheels) silver and Ewan Ewart (Belfast City BMX Club) bronze. In the girls’ race Aoife Campbell (Square Wheels) took her third win of the season. Emily McClintock (Lisburn BMX Club) and Ruby Daly (Un-Attached Ulster) took second and third respectively, as per the Phoenix CC race last week.
The Under 12s again used the same course but had 8 laps to complete. Darragh Murphy (Rostrevor Mountain Bike Club) had a close race with Eunan Campbell (Square Wheels) with Darragh taking the chequered flag. James Cunningham (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) completed the podium for the boys’ race. Aoife Craig (VC Glendale) repeated her win from last week with Clodagh Quigley (Foyle CC), who won at the GP Brian Kinning’s race, taking second. Yvaine Parsons (Un-Attached Ulster) took third place as a repeat of her place last week.
After a break for podiums and practice time the next races lined up. In the first group were the Under 16 boys, followed by the Under 14 boys, Cyclo-cross Women, Under 16 girls then Under 14 girls. All riders used the full course with the Under 14 girls completing three laps, the Under 16 boys, Under 16 girls and Under 14 boys completing 4 laps and the CX Women completing 5 laps.
In the Under 14 boys’ race Curtis McKee (VC Glendale) achieved his third win of the cyclo-cross season so far with James Armstrong (Dromara Cycling Club) taking second and Adam Ward (VC Glendale) third. Emer Heverin (Kinning Cycles Cycling Club) got her third win out of three in the Under 14 girls’ race. Aisha Gannon (Breffni Wheelers) finished second with Ffion Dolan (Cuchulainn CC) third. The Under 16 boys’ podium was another clean sweep for Shelbourne/Orchard CC with Samuel Coleman taking the top step, Seth Dunwoody on the number 2 step and Daniel Scott on the number 3 step. In the Under 16 girls’ race Aine Doherty (VC Glendale) and Aliyah Rafferty (Island Wheelers) finished first and second with Mya Doocey (Navan Road Club) third. In the Women’s race Judith Russell (Phoenix CC) took the win with Stephanie Roche (Scott Quanta Racing) second and Niamh Stephens (Team Giant Dublin) third. Martina Hawkins (Dromara Cycling Club) took the unplaced Masters Women prize.
The Men’s Cyclo-cross A’ race took place next which was held over 8 laps. Junior rider Travis Harkness (VC Glendale) held the lead for the first four laps until Alan Bingham (Newry Wheelers CC) took over and went on to win the race. Travis had to settle for second with last week’s winner, David Montgomery (Dromara Cycling Club), having some mechanical difficulties but still managed to take the third slot. Glenn Kinning (Kinning Cycles Cycling Club) had briefly managed to get up into third position but had to settle for fourth. Graham Boyd (McConvey Cycles) got his best result this season with 5th place. Barry Kellett (Dromara Cycling Club) was 6th and also first unplaced M40. Curtis Neill (Carn Wheelers) finished 7th and was first unplaced Junior. Jason Henry (Inspired Cycling) won the first unplaced M50 prize. There was no team prize awarded as it requires a minimum of 3 teams of 3 riders.
The last race of the day was for the Men’s B’ race which was a 6 lap affair. Leading from lap two to the chequered flag was Richard Topping (The Bike House CC) with course designer and builder, Scott Maitland (Killinchy Cycling Club), finishing second. Colm O’Byrne (IVCA Cycling Club), who had won at the Phoenix CC race last week, had to settle for third. Colin Deane (Unattached) was fourth with Barry Russell (Carn Wheelers) fifth and Eoghan McGuigan (Un-Attached Ulster) sixth. The top 3 riders in this week’s B’ race are now obliged to race the A’ race for the remainder of the season.
Many thanks to all the volunteers from Killinchy Cycling Club for hosting the event. Thanks again to the landowner for giving us permission to run our race. There are no cyclo-cross races in Ulster next week but the Big Red Cloud cyclo-cross race will be taking place on Saturday 9 October 2021 at the McCrystal Track in County Louth. Registration for this event is given here.
The technical guide for that event is given here.
The following week is the UCI C2 race at Clonmel County Tipperary. There will be races for all youth + a support race on Saturday 16 October with the Masters race on Sunday 17 October along with the UCI races for Junior men, Junior women, Elite Men and Elite Women. There are international riders coming to complete so get registered for this (link here).
Commissaires: Jim Adams, Martin Grimley
Report by Martin Grimley