Another sunny day in Ormeau Park to conclude the series

Ormeau Park in Belfast was ablaze in spring sunshine for the third and final round of the Xmtb Spring Series. The daffodils had lost their flowers but the trees were now in leaf which hid some of the action on the course from the spectators but provided a more intimate and closed in feeling along the sections of single track for the riders. The course was bone dry and very fast and was built, more or less, on the template from Round 2. A big thanks again to Belfast City Council for the use of the park. Early morning in the park was quite quiet while the team was setting up but by 9:30 there was more activity with the Junior Parkrun going through and then the riders starting to appear from the car park to get signed on.

As usual the first race of the day was for the Under 6s which, again, was on a separate course located behind the sign on tent. A big turn out of around 25 riders lined up for a quick blast around the track which provided a taster for the world of bicycle racing. At the finish line was a goodie bag for their efforts. Racing then switched over to the other side of the path with the Under 8s lining up at the bottom of the tarmac hill. With the dry, fast track they were given an additional lap meaning they had 3 to complete this round. There was a big group of riders eagerly waiting for the whistle with 21 boys and 13 girls lined up. In the boys race Jamie Rockett (Ards CC) took the win with Jamie Ervine (Apollo Cycling Team) second and Ben Shaw (XMTB) third. This matched the overall series league table. In the girls race Emer Heverin (Kinning Cycles) had another fine win ahead of (birthday girl) Aoife Craig (VC Glendale) with Catherine Sloan (Apollo Cycling Team) third. Emer took first in the overall league, Aoife Craig second with Aoife Kellett (Dromara Cycling Club) finishing third overall.

Next up were the Under 10s who had to complete 4 laps of their course. In the girls race Aisling Smyth (Apollo Cycling Team) crossed the line first ahead of Tori Moffitt (Phoenix CC) with Sarah Sloan (Apollo Cycling Team) third. In terms of the league table, Aisling and Tori took the top two positions overall, with Beth Campbell (XMTB) taking third overall. In the boys race Conor Murphy (Rostrevor Mountain Bike Club) made it a hat-trick of wins with Luke Webb (Trail Demons CC) second and Harry Hobbs (VC Glendale) third. With regards to the overall league it finished Conor, Harry then Luke (1st, 2nd, 3rd respectively).

Lining up next were the Under 12s who had 3 laps to complete. Travis Harkness (Carn Wheelers) completed his third win from three races with the Island Wheelers riders Oisin Ferrity and Shane Scullion battling for second with Oisin finishing ahead of Shane. In the girls race Hannah Mullin (Trail Demons CC) and Keela Smyth (Apollo Cycling Team) were together at the end of lap 1 but Hannah pulled away to take a comfortable win. Eimer Skelly (Carn Wheelers) took third. The overall league finished – Travis, Shane then Oisin (1st, 2nd, 3rd respectively), Hannah, Keela, Eimer (1st, 2nd, 3rd respectively).

A short break in the schedule allowed for some practice time on the course as the league results were compiled for the Under 8s, 10s and 12s. The Under 14s, 16s and women then gathered at the bottom of the tarmac climb for the race start. Setting off first were the Under 16 boys with the Under 14 boys next. The women then started followed by the Under 16 and Under 14 girls. The Under 14s had 3 laps to complete with the rest doing 6 laps. In the Under 16s race Callum Richardson (Trail Demons CC) finished well clear of Niall Skelly (Carn Wheelers) with Alan Hyndman (VC Glendale) third. Niamh McKiverigan (Powerhouse Sport) and Darcey Harkness (Carn Wheelers) had been battling it out over the series in the Under 16 girls race with Niamh taking the win this time. In the Under 14 boys race Ryan Skelly (Carn Wheelers) was over 2 minutes ahead of his nearest rival, James Campbell (Xmtb) with James Webb (Trail Demons CC) finishing third. Only one entry for the Under 14 girls race with Erin Creighton (XMTB) putting in consistent lap times. The women’s race attracted 7 riders with Erica Grant (EPIC MTB / Expert Cycles) making the journey up from Dublin worthwhile by taking the win. Angie Smyth (Apollo Cycling Team) finished second with Claire Oakley (XMTB) third. In terms of the league table the Under 14 boys finished as (1) Ryan Skelly, (2) James Campbell then (3) James Webb. The Under 16 girls league was won by Darcey. In the Under 16 boys league it finished (1) Callum Richardson with Alan Hyndman and Niall Skelly joint second. In the women’s league Claire Oakley topped the table with Lisa Millar (Dromara Cycling Club) second and Angie Smyth third.

The final races of the day were for the Junior men, Senior A’ race men and Senior B’ race men. They started in this order with the Juniors and A’ race men doing 7 laps and the B’ race men doing 6 laps. There was only one entry in the Junior men’s race with Ethan Creighton (Xmtb) putting in excellent consistent times. In the A’ race there was a good early battle between Barry Kellett (Dromara Cycling Club), John Scott (Island Wheelers) and Scott Maitland (Killinchy Cycling Club) but it was Scott who found the strength to pull away and take the win with John second and Barry third. In the B’ race there were 36 entries but there was no such battle at the front as Niall Brown (Ards CC) romped away from the chasing pack finishing ahead of Philip Legge (North Down CC) who was well ahead of third place James McCourt (Island Wheelers). In terms of the overall league, in the Junior table it was Thomas Creigthon (McConvey Cycles) who finished the league ahead of brother Ethan. In the A’ race table Scott Maitland took the overall win with Sean Scullion (Island Wheelers) second and Oleksii Kolbasko (XMTB) third. In the B’ race league table Niall Brown finished top with Neil Ervine (Apollo CT) second and Philip Legge third.

After the final podium presentations for the overall league a raffle was held with prizes sponsored by the series sponsor ChainReaction Cycles Store Belfast. Winning the voucher was Lisa Millar. Winning the bike was Gareth Osborne (Phoenix CC).

Many thanks to all the hardworking volunteers from Xmtb for putting on the series. A well run event and we look forward to returning next year. The next cross-country race dates are
30 April 2017 – Irish National Point Series – Round 1 – Tracton Woods, Co. Cork
7 May 2017 – Ulster XC Round 3 – Davagh Forest
14 May 2017 – Ulster XC Round 4 – Castlewellan Forest
21 May 2017 – Irish National Point Series – Round 2 – Slade Valley, Co. Wicklow

Report by Martin Grimley

Commissaires: Martin Grimley and Lisa Millar

Round 3 results here

Overall league results here