A glorious spring day at Ormeau Park for Round 2 of the Xmtb Series. Such contrast to round 1. With daffodils in bloom and bright sunshine the park looked great. Many thanks to Belfast City Council for the use of the park not only for the mountain bikers but for two separate running events, the Junior Parkrun then later the Jog Belfast 5k. It was also Mother’s Day and the clocks had moved forward one hour, both of which may have had an impact on the number of entries for this round.
The mountain bike course was essentially the same as round 1 but the mud had dried and hardened to make the lap times quicker. As before the Under 6s got the day started with their one lap race on a separate section of the park. All finished with smiles and were rewarded with a small packet of sweets.
The Under 8s started at the bottom of the tarmac slope. They had to complete 2 laps of their course. Jamie Rockett (Ards CC) took the win finishing ahead of Jamie Ervine (Apollo Cycling Team) with Ben Shaw (XMTB) third. In the girls race Emer Heverin (Kinning Cycles) finished just a few seconds ahead of Aoife Craig (VC Glendale) with Aoife Kellett (Dromara Cycling Club) third.
The Under 10s had a slighly longer course and 4 laps to complete. Conor Murphy (Rostrevor Mountain Bike Club) had another storming race to take first with Harry Hobbs (VC Glendale) and Curtis McKee (Maryland Wheelers) battling for second place, finishing in this order. Aisling Smyth (Apollo Cycling Team) finished well clear of Tori Moffitt (Phoenix CC) with Beth Campbell (XMTB) finishing third.
The Under 12s had an extended course from the Under 10s and had to complete 3 laps. In the boys race Travis Harkness (Carn Wheelers) put in some good lap times to take the win with Shane Scullion (Island Wheelers) second and Oisin Ferrity (Island Wheelers) third. Aine Doherty (VC Glendale) powered through the boys to finish 4th overall, first girl. Hannah Mullin (Trail Demons CC) crossed the line second with Keela Smyth (Apollo Cycling Team) in third.
After a short break the next races started at noon. The line up was as follows: Under 16 boys, Under 14 boys, Senior Women, Under 16 girls the Under 14 girls. The Under 16 boys had 7 laps of the main course to complete, the Under 14s had 3 laps with the Senior women and Under 16 girls 6 laps. Coming through at the end of lap one was Lee Harvey (Kinning Cycles) leading the Under 16s then Dean Harvey (Kinning Cycles) leading the Under 14s. These two went on to win their respective categories with Dean pushing hard to try to catch his older brother. Callum Richardson (Trail Demons CC) and Niall Skelly (Carn Wheelers) rounded off the Under 16 boys race taking second and third respectively. Ryan Skelly (Carn Wheelers) and James Campbell (XMTB) finished second and third respectively in the Under 14 boys race. In the Under 16 girls race Darcey Harkness (Carn Wheelers) finished less than one minute ahead of Niamh McKiverigan (Powerhouse Sport). There was only one entry in the Under 14 girls race which seen Erin Creighton (XMTB) put in a strong performance. Claire Oakley (XMTB) took her second win of the series in the women’s race with Breda Horan (Scott Orwell Wheelers) being rewarded for her long drive up to the event taking second. Lisa Millar (Dromara Cycling Club) had her second podium finish this time in third spot.
The final races of the day took place at 1:30 with the Junior men, Senior men’s A race and Senior men’s B race. The Junior men set off first getting a short head start ahead of the A race men. After another short delay the B race set off followed shortly by the sounds of a crash. James McVeigh fell heavily on the tarmac road. He was helped up by spectators but refused first aid and instead, scraped and battered, he jumped back on his bike and rejoined the race. The adrenalin worked well as he finished lap 1 in 18th place and then laps 2 and 3 in 13th place before retiring and letting the first aiders check him over. Meanwhile, back at the front of the race, Thomas Creighton (McConvey Cycles) was putting in a great performance staying ahead of all the chasers to take the win in the Junior men’s race with brother Ethan Creighton (XMTB) taking second. In the A race Scott Maitland (Killinchy Cycling Club) was leading after lap 1 but dropped back to finish 4th overall. David Montgomery (Green Bikes) took over the lead and looked to be staying well clear of John Scott (Island Wheelers) however, making his way from 7th place up to first overall was Graham Boyd (McConvey Cycles) was put in another perfectly measured performance. The A’ race finished as Boyd, Montgomery, Scott. In the B’ race Niall Brown (Ards CC) finished almost a minute ahead of Neil Ervine (Apollo Cycling Team) with Philip Harkness (Carn Wheelers) taking third.
Many thanks to all the hard-working volunteers from Xmtb for hosting the event. The day remained dry and bright, long may that continue. The next cross-country race will take place on Sunday 9 April at Craigavon Watersports centre as Apollo CT host Round 2 of the Ulster XC series. The final round of the Xmtb Spring series then takes place on Sunday 23 April back at Ormeau Park.
Commissaires: Martin Grimley, Lisa Millar
Report by Martin Grimley
Overall league after two rounds here