The second round of the British HSBC XC NPS Round 2 took place over the weekend of 22-23 April at Wasing, Berkshire. Cycling Ulster had entered a team of 3 riders: John Buller from Banbridge CC, Thomas Creighton and Craig McCarthy both from McConvey Cycles. Accompanying them was Gareth McKee who was acting as Coach, riding for Cycleology Racing in the Elite category, and Simon Curry as Team Manager.
The racing got underway at 3.15 with the Elite race being set off 1 minute ahead of the Junior race. John and Thomas both had good starts and were running within the top 10 for the opening lap. John was riding strong in the second group of juniors for the first two laps however John dropped off with the fast pace set on the third lap. John never gave up and finished the five lap race in 13th. Thomas had a great race and was sitting in 7th position after the first lap just behind the leading group of five riders. Thomas was unable to make contact with the group but continued to lap consistently to finish strongly in 7th position. Craig struggled with the grid position and pace on the first lap but fought his way past riders for the next two laps before setting his fastest lap on the last lap to finish in 21st position.
Gareth struggled with the fast pace of the front group which split on the 1st lap with four riders breaking clear. Gareth had moved into the second group with the leading riders only 40 seconds ahead on the last lap. Gareth went on a late charge on the last half lap and got within 11 seconds of the winner at the finish to secure 5th position for the second round in a row which should consolidate 3rd position in the overall series.
Everyone in the team gained valuable points towards the overall series with the next round of the British XC National Points Series in Aske Estate, Richmond on the 13th -14th May.
Report by Team Manager