The third round of the National Cyclo-cross Series took place on Sunday 22 October 2023 in Westport. Hosted by Westport Covey Wheelers this was the second time the club had used the venue. The venue was the footgolf site in front of the Westport Country House Hotel. The hotel had registration and refreshments in their main sunroom. The weather was much improved from last year with warm sunshine all weekend and clear blue skies. We had a half moon guiding us to and from Westport. There were great views of Croagh Patrick. County Mayo was the place to me and this event had attracted over 180 riders.
The club had further developed the course from last year. The start as still on the gravel road but this year the finish line was located on the road as well. The course was more compact, using the fields available. A double pit had been introduced as well as new youth courses.
The Under 6s started off the day’s racing. The 5 young riders had one lap of the grass circuit to complete. A tough race for ones so young. The goodie bags at the end helped though.
The Under 8s used the same course as the Under 6s but they had to do 3 laps. James Kavanagh (Lakeland) took the win with Séan McGahan (Square Wheels) second and Evan McTavish (Western Lakes CC) third. There was only one entry for the girls’ race with Marian Mulvaney (Sliabh Luachra Cycling Club) enjoying her race.
The Under 10s course was longer than the Under 8s and included the field with the switch backs. They had 4 laps to complete. Benjamin Cunningham (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) was back to his winning ways taking the flag in the boys’ race. Tadhg Connolly (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) was second with Josh Turner (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) completing the podium. There were only 2 girls in the race with Molly Turner (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) finishing ahead of Ciara McCool (Square Wheels).
The Under 12s course had some additional sections to the Under 10s course including a tricky uphill grassy climb. They had 3 laps to complete. Jack McGahan (Square Wheels) lead from start finish. Cullen Murphy (O’Leary Stone Kanturk) was lying second for the first two laps but it was Diarmuid O’Sullivan (Greenmount CA) who eventually crossed the line in second place, leaving Cullen to settle for third. Amelia Finnegan (Square Wheels) was the only girl in the race.
The podium ceremony took place inside the hotel then it was back out for the next race which was for the Women, Under 16s and Under 14s. The women set off first, getting a two minute head start on the Under 16 boys. The Under 14 boys followed 30 seconds behind the Under 16 boys. The Under 16 and Under 14 girls started after the Under 14 boys.
In the 3 lap Under 14 boys’ race James Cunningham (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) took the win ahead of Rory McCool (Square Wheels) with Kieran Mulvaney (Sliabh Luachra Cycling Club) taking third place. In the Under 14 girls’ race Katie Turner (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) reached the finish ahead of Ava Baker (Breffni Wheelers) and Aoife Craig (VC Glendale) who finished second and third respectively.
In the 4 lap Under 16 boys’ race, Curtis McKee (Scott Bright Motor Group) and Caleb McGreevy (VC Glendale) had a sprint finish with Curtis getting the win. Hugh Og Mulhearne (Verge Sport PI Cycles) finished third with James Armstrong (VC Glendale) fourth and still leading the overall series. In the Under 14 girls’ race Mia Geary (Fermoy Cycling Club) took the win ahead of Emer Heverin (Kinning Cycles Cycling Club) with Ami Flavin (Dungarvan CC) picking up the bronze medal.
In her first race back from training and racing over in Switzerland, Junior rider Greta Lawless (Team WORC) took the win in the 5 laps Women’s race. Caoimhe May (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) was second with Junior rider Aliyah Rafferty (Island Wheelers) picking up third place and keeping her at the top of the series leaderboard. Doireann Killeen (Kilcullen Cycling Club Murphy Geospacial) was fourth with Junior rider Aine Doherty (VC Glendale) fifth and Darcey Harkness (VC Glendale) sixth.
After another round of presentations and course practice it was the turn of the Juniors, M50s, M60s and the non-cyclo-cross bike support race.
Conor Murphy (Rostrevor Mountain Bike Club) has also just returned from training and racing in Switzerland – he actually won the race he entered over there! Conor was enjoying this winning business as he took the win the Junior race, his second win of the series. David Gaffney (Dungarvan CC) finished second which kept him at the top of the series table. Cameron Henry (Inspired Cycling) finished third with Cal Tutty (JEGG-DJR Academy) fourth.
In the 5 lap M50s race Jason Henry (Inspired Cycling) took the win. Alan Bingham (Inspired Cycling) had his first race of the season after recovering from his accident. Alan was even leading at the end of the first lap but had to settle for second place. Pj Hynes (Cuchulainn CC) was third keeping him at the top of the leaderboard. Fearghal Regan (Kilcullen Cycling Club Murphy Geospacial) was fourth with Des Woods (Inspired Cycling) fifth.
In the M60s race Johnny McCabe (Cuchulainn CC) was out again to catch as many M50s as he could. He caught most of the them, apart from the 5 mentioned above. Another powerful win from Johnny. Paul Birchall (Verge Sport PI Cycles) finished second with Anthony Talt (Kilcullen Cycling Club Murphy Geospacial) third.
In the support race it was Noel Kelly (Westport Covey Wheelers Cycling Club) who took the win after early leader Charlie Kelly dropped out. Michael Flynn (Westport Covey Wheelers Cycling Club) was second with Ronan Lally (Ballinasloe Cycling Club) third.
It was back into the hotel again for more podium presentations and some snacks.
The final race of the day was for the Senior men and M40 men. Current national champion, Dean Harvey (Trinity Racing), put on a great performance, leading from start to finish. A masterclass. Behind him was the real racing. In contention was Travis Harkness (Scott Bright Motor Group), Tadhg Killeen (Kilcullen Cycling Club Murphy Geospacial) and Jamie Meehan (Spellman-Dublin Port). Travis and Tadhg were riding wheel to wheel for the first 4 of the 7 laps. Jamie then caught up to these two and then passed them to finish second. Tadhg was third with Travis finishing fourth leaving him still at the top of the series table. Kevin McCambridge (TRINITY RACING) had his first race of the season and finished fifth. European Masters champion Robin Seymour (Team WORC) had a great battle with Richard Barry (St. Finbarrs CC) for the whole race with Robin taking sixth leaving Richard having to settle for 7th.
In the M40 race Ronan O’Flynn (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) lead from the whistle. Ronan Killeen (Lucan Cycling Road Club) held onto second place for the whole race. Trevor Costello (Islandeady Cycling Club) was in third for the first 3 laps but it was Barry Paul Dunne (Kildare Cycling Club) who went on to that third at the finish. Trevor had to settle for fourth. Series leader Marcus Flavin (Dungarvan CC) was fifth.
A big thanks to Anthony Murray, his team from Westport Covey Wheelers, and to all the others who helped to make this a great event. Thanks to the site owners and the sponsors. The next round of the National Cyclo-cross Series will take place on Sunday 12 November 2023 hosted by Upperchurch Drombane CC in Drombane, Thurles, Co Tipperary.
Commissaires: Ray Staunton, Martin Grimley
Series table after three rounds here
Report by Martin Grimley