A great start to the 2024 National CX Championships
Day 1 of the National Cyclo-cross Championships took place on Saturday 13 January 2024 at Limerick Racecourse with races for youth and Masters M50s and M60s. Host club Greenmount Cycling Academy had created a fabulous course with varying terrain, a challenging off camber section, freshly built steps and two sand pits. With recent good conditions the course was in great shape, very little mud and running very fast. The weather was cold but dry with little wind. Over 330 competitors registered for the weekend.
The start/finish was located in the first field as you enter the Racecourse. The Under 6s, 8s and 10s courses were self-contained within this field. The Under 12s headed into the next field where the pits were located. They they turned at the pits and completed a half lap of the full course. All other competitors raced on the full course.
The Under 6s to Under 12s were non-championship events. The first of these was the Under 6s with 11 young riders on the start line to complete 3 laps of the small circuit around the old tree. The Under 8s had a longer course and ended up with 5 laps. Taking his third win from the last 3 races was Bobby Campbell (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club). James Kavanagh (Lakeland) just held onto second place in the sprint to the line with Daithi Hughes (Square Wheels). Ríonach Campbell (Square Wheels) won the girls’ race. Marian Mulvaney (Sliabh Luachra Cycling Club) was second with Emily O’Mahony (Sliabh Luachra Cycling Club) third.
The Under 10s course was longer than the Under 8s and they had 8 laps to complete. With 18 boys and 7 girls in this race it was a challenge for the timekeepers. With no surprise it was the ever strong Benjamin Cunningham (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) who took the win in the boys’ race. Lewis Bell (Lisburn BMX Club) was second with Jaxon Jennings (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) third. Caroline Collins (Sliabh Luachra Cycling Club) and Molly Turner (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) were locked in battle for the whole race with Caroline managing to keep ahead of Molly to take the chequered flag. Ciara McCool (Square Wheels) completed the podium in third place.
The Under 12s course was the perfect length for their race. Three laps and leading from the start to the finish was Daragh Quigley (Foyle CC). Fabian Drwal (Un-Attached Connacht) was the second boy with a sprint finish for third between Jack McGahan (Square Wheels) and Cullen Murphy (O’Leary Stone Kanturk) with Jack getting the last step on the podium. Aoife Campbell (Square Wheels) won the girls’ race with Lilly McDermott (TC Racing) not too far behind. Cara O’Sullivan (Sliabh Luachra Cycling Club) picked up the bronze medal.
Next up were the championship races with the Under 16 girls starting one minute ahead of the Under 14 girls. In the 3 lap Under 16 girls’ race Emer Heverin (Kinning Cycles Cycling Club) took the win ahead of Mia Geary (Fermoy Cycling Club) with Cara Suckling (VC Glendale) third. Ysabella Huele (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) got the prize for the first unplaced U15. In the Under 14 girls’ race Katie Turner (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) took the expected win. Aoife Craig (VC Glendale) was second with Naoise Byrne (Carlow RCC) third and Abaigh Dennehy (Sliabh Luachra Cycling Club) fourth. Ava Baker (Breffni Wheelers) was fifth and picked up the prize for first unplaced U13.
The Under 16s boys and Under 14 boys lined up next with the same one minute gap between them. Curtis McKee (Spellman-Dublin Port) was the favourite for the win in the Under 16 boys’ race and didn’t disappoint. Caleb McGreevy (VC Glendale) won the ongoing friendly rivalry with club mate James Armstrong to take second and third respectively. Shane O’Brien (Fermoy Cycling Club) picked up the first unplaced U15 prize. James Cunningham (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) took the win in the Under 14 boys’ race. He managed to hold off Josh McClune (Team Madigan C.C.) who had won at the last round of the National CX series last Sunday. Eoin Davis (Bohermeen CC) was third with Kieran Mulvaney (Sliabh Luachra Cycling Club) fourth. Rory McCool (Square Wheels) was fifth and picked up the first unplaced U13 prize.
In a change from previous years the M50s and M60s race was moved to the Saturday. The M50s saw 45 riders take to the start line for 5 laps of the course. Starting two minutes behind them were ten M60 riders who had 4 laps to complete. Coming from third position on lap 1, last year’s champion Robin Seymour (Team WORC) got to the front at the end of lap three in the M50s race and powered on to the finish. Alan Bingham (Inspired Cycling) picked up second with Trevor Woods (All human/VeloRevolution Racing Team) coming out from the wheel of Colm McGarvey (EPIC MTB/Expert Cycles) to finish third and fourth respectively. Declan McEntee (Emyvale CC) was fifth. Inspired Cycling took the team prize when Jason Henry and Des Woods joined Alan Bingham at the finish.
In the M60s race it looked like the current World Masters Cyclo-cross Champion (65-69) Johnny McCabe (Cuchulainn CC) was set to take the win but at the end of lap 3 it was David Lawless (Team WORC) who was at the front of the race. David held the front until the finish line. Johnny had to settle for second. Paul Birchall (Verge Sport PI Cycles) was third with Micheal Corkery (De Ronde Van Cork CC) fourth.
A huge thanks to Vincent and Liam and all the team from Greenmount Cycling Academy for today’s race. We look forward to the action on Day 2 with the M40s, Junior men, Women and Senior men.
Commissaires: Roddy Keane, Mick Twomey, Anthony Keneally, Loch Miwa and Martin Grimley
Report by Martin Grimley