National CX Series 2023 Round 6 – report

The sixth and final round of the 2023 National Cyclo-cross Series took place on Sunday 7 January 2024 at a new venue in Kilgobbin, Stepaside in County Dublin. Team WORC were the host club with the duo of Robin Seymour and Evan Ryan back at the helm. This private venue was turned from simple grass fields into a challenging cyclo-cross course with lots of features to test all riders. Parking was also available in a separate field. Thanks to Paddy Daly for sorting out an accessible entrance way. The start for the Under 14s and over was out on the entrance road which allowed a fast start up the road, into the lane and then into the main event field.

Paul Joyce was back from his American trip to return to the commentator roll. His return was tinged with sadness as his brother Ray had just passed away the night before. Condolences to Paul and family.

The event attracted over 240 entries. The course benefitted from some dry weather in the lead up to the race and some low temperatures to firm up the ground. The low temperatures however made for some difficult driving conditions with icy fog in parts of the country. The weather on the day stayed dry with little wind and winter sunshine streaming through the trees. A joy for photographers. Thanks to all the photographers for their continued brilliant work.

The first race of the day was for the Under 6s who started in the main field. A fun race held around the loop from the finish line with 8 young riders taking on their course.

Next up were the Under 8s. They had a short course which lead to 6 laps. Repeating his win from Round 5 last week was Bobby Campbell (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club). Evan McTavish (Western Lakes CC) was second with Séan McGahan (Square Wheels) completing the podium for the boys. There were only two girls racing with Marian Mulvaney (Sliabh Luachra Cycling Club) crossing the line ahead of Noreen Cody (Un-Attached Leinster).

The Under 10s had a longer course and 7 laps to complete. Benjamin Cunningham (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) lead the boys’ race from start to finish. Lewis Bell (Lisburn BMX Club) was second with Tadhg Connolly (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) third just beating fellow club rider Jaxon Jennings (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club). Molly Turner (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) was the only girl to race and battled well among the boys.

The Under 12s used the same course but had 10 laps to complete. Jack McGahan (Square Wheels) took the win in the boys’ race, his fourth win of the series. Newcomer to the series, Fabian Drwal (Un-Attached Connacht), finished second with Max McGrath (Fermoy Cycling Club) third. In the girls’ race Lilly McDermott (TC Racing) lead from the whistle. Laoise Crinion (IMBRC) finished second with Amelia Finnegan (Square Wheels) third.

After a break for podium presentations and course practice it was the turn of the Under 14s, Under 16s and women to start. They were the first to use the entrance road to the site as the start line. Lining up first were the Under 16 boys, then the Under 14 boys, Women, Under 16 girls and finally the Under 14 girls.

In the Under 14 boys’ race Josh McClune (Team Madigan C.C.) and James Cunningham (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) were having a close battle in the first two laps before Josh pulled away from James to take the chequered flag. James passed the finish line just over 30 seconds back to take second place. Eoin Davis (Bohermeen CC) completed the podium. Kieran Mulvaney (Sliabh Luachra Cycling Club) finished fourth which was enough to give him the overall series trophy. As expected Katie Turner (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) took a comfortable win in the Under 14 girls’ race, her fourth win of the series and the overall series prize. Ciara O’Connor (Drogheda Wheelers) finished second with Ciara Flavin (Dungarvan CC) third and Ava Baker (Breffni Wheelers) fourth.

Overall series winners in the Under 14s:
1-Kieran Mulvaney (Sliabh Luachra Cycling Club)
2-James Cunningham (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club)
3-Eoin Davis (Bohermeen CC)
1-Katie Turner (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club)
2-Ciara Flavin (Dungarvan CC)
3-Ava Baker (Breffni Wheelers)

In the 4 lap Under 16 boys’ race Ryan Daly (Scott Racing IRL) came through from third place to take the win. Series leader James Armstrong (VC Glendale) was second with Caleb McGreevy (VC Glendale) third. Fionn Killeen (Kilcullen Cycling Club Murphy Geospacial) was fourth with Hugh Og Mulhearne (Verge Sport PI Cycles) fifth. In the Under 16 girls’ race Emer Heverin (Kinning Cycles Cycling Club) also came through from third place to take the win. Emer also won the overall series. Aoife O’Donovan (Dungarvan CC) was second in the race with Mia Geary (Fermoy Cycling Club) third, Aisha Gannon (Breffni Wheelers) fourth and Ami Flavin (Dungarvan CC) fifth.

Overall series winners in the Under 16s:
1-James Armstrong (VC Glendale)
2-Caleb McGreevy (VC Glendale)
3-Hugh Og Mulhearne (Verge Sport PI Cycles)
1-Emer Heverin (Kinning Cycles Cycling Club)
2-Ami Flavin (Dungarvan CC)
3-Mia Geary (Fermoy Cycling Club)

In the Women’s race there was a great close battle between Junior riders Greta Lawless (Team WORC) and Aliyah Rafferty (Tofauti Everyone Active). Greta managed to gap Aliyah by 20 seconds to take the win over the 5 laps on what can be considered her home soil. Junior rider Aine Doherty (VC Glendale) finished third. Caoimhe May (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) was the first Senior woman to cross the line finishing fourth overall. Doireann Killeen (Kilcullen Cycling Club Murphy Geospacial) was fifth overall, second senior with Elena Wallace (Harps CC) sixth overall and third senior. The masters prizes went to Jean Wilson (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club), Melissa Anderson (IMBRC) and Hazel Murphy (Yellow Furze Road Club), first, second and third respectively.

Overall series winners in the Women’s categories:
1-Aliyah Rafferty (Tofauti Everyone Active)
2-Greta Lawless (Team WORC)
3-Aine Doherty (VC Glendale)
1-Doireann Killeen (Kilcullen Cycling Club Murphy Geospacial)
2-Stephanie Roche (Scott Racing IRL)
3-Caoimhe May (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club)
1-Jean Wilson (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club)
2-Emma Convey (EPIC MTB/Expert Cycles)
3-Hazel Murphy (Yellow Furze Road Club)

After another break for podium presentations and course practice it was the time for the Junior men, M50s, M60s and support race to line up.

In the 6 lap Junior men’s race Conor Murphy (Team Caldwell Cycles) took an impressive win. This after a very strong 7th place at Exact Cross Loenhout – Azencross 2023 on 29 December 2023. Michael Collins (Newcastle West Cycling Club) was second with David Gaffney (Villeneuve Cycliste) third and Maximilian Fitzgerald (JEGG-DJR Academy) fourth. Connor Fennell (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) had a big crash in the race and had to be taken away by ambulance to hospital for a check up. Thankfully nothing broken.

Overall series winners in the Junior men:
1-David Gaffney (Villeneuve Cycliste)
2-Maximilian Fitzgerald (JEGG-DJR Academy)
3-Michael Collins (Newcastle West Cycling Club)

The final positions in the M50s race was decided by lap 2 of 6. Alan Bingham (Inspired Cycling) picked up his second win of the series. Colm McGarvey (EPIC MTB/Expert Cycles) improved on his placing from Round 5 taking second place in this round. Jason Henry (Inspired Cycling) finished third with Declan McEntee (Emyvale CC) fourth and Fearghal Regan (Kilcullen Cycling Club Murphy Geospacial) fifth securing him the overall series lead.

Overall series winners in the M50:
1-Fearghal Regan (Kilcullen Cycling Club Murphy Geospacial)
2-Jason Henry (Inspired Cycling)
3-Declan McEntee (Emyvale CC)

In the M60s race it was our World Champion Johnny McCabe (Cuchulainn CC) who took the win – a clean sweep of wins across all 6 rounds. Paul Birchall (Verge Sport PI Cycles) was second with Terence O’Neill (EPIC MTB/Expert Cycles) third and Anthony Talt (Kilcullen Cycling Club Murphy Geospacial) fourth.

Overall series winners in the M60:
1-Johnny McCabe (Cuchulainn CC)
2-Paul Birchall (Verge Sport PI Cycles)
3-Anthony Talt (Kilcullen Cycling Club Murphy Geospacial)

In the support race for non-cyclo-cross bikes, host club rider Jean Sergio Cambruzzi took the win. John Slater (Castleknock Cycling Club) was second with Robert Magee (Bray Wheelers) third. Keith Colville (Panduit Carrick Wheelers) was unable to repeat his win from Round 5 and had to settle for fourth place.

There was a delay to the start of the Senior and M40s race to allow the ambulance access to the site to attend to Connor Fennell. Setting off first were the Seniors with a one minute gap to the M40s. In the 8 lap Senior men’s race Dean Harvey (Trinity Racing) lead from start to finish. Tadhg Killeen (Kilcullen Cycling Club Murphy Geospacial) was holding second place for the first 3 laps but it was Travis Harkness (Spellman-Dublin Port) who took over the second place position and held this to the line. Course designer Robin Seymour (Team WORC) managed to get ahead of Tadhg Killeen to finish third. Tadhg had to settle for fourth but this did secure the overall league title.

Overall series winners in the Seniors:
1-Tadhg Killeen (Kilcullen Cycling Club Murphy Geospacial)
2-Travis Harkness (Spellman-Dublin Port)
3-Richard Barry (St. Finbarrs CC)

The M40s race was an exciting one with a great battle at the front between series leader Marcus Flavin (Dungarvan CC) and Glenn Kinning (Kinning Cycles Cycling Club). It all came down to the last of the 7 laps when Glenn managed to get the gap on Marcus to take the win. Marcus finished second. Behind these pair was another battle between Barry Kellett (Dromara Cycling Club) and Frank McDermott (Oldcastle CC). Barry managed to secure the final spot on the podium leaving Frank to settle for fourth. Ronan O’Flynn (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) was fifth with Evan Ryan (Team WORC) taking sixth.

Overall series winners in the M40s:
1-Marcus Flavin (Dungarvan CC)
2-Ronan O’Flynn (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club)
3-Barry Paul Dunne (Kildare Cycling Club)

A huge thanks to all those from Team WORC and friends for putting on this great event. A fitting end to the series. Thanks to all those who have supported the series either by attending, by helping run events or by promoting the sport. We now look forward to the National Cyclo-cross championships which take place next weekend at the Limerick Racecourse, hosted by Greenmount Cycling Academy.

Commissaires: David Maguire, Liz Roche, Martin Grimley

Results here

Series table after six rounds here

Report by Martin Grimley

Sean Rowe – Sportsphotos (Facebook) – here and here
Damien Faulkner (Facebook) – here
Matthew Lysaght (Facebook) – here and here
Gareth Gibbons – tbc