Round 4 of the National Cyclo-cross series took place at the Technological University of the Shannon in Thurles, County Tipperary. This was the second year for Upperchurch Drombane CC to host a round of the national series but this was a new venue for them. The event village, start and finish lines were set up in the car park of the college. The main racing was held in a large field behind the college. In the field were the pits and boards but at the far end of the field was a muddy, climbing wall. No one risked trying to ride up the sheer wall of mud. The challenge was then getting back on the bike and trying to cycle down the other side. A great, challenging feature. There had been lots of rain in the lead up to the event but the field had drained well. Race day had clear blue skies and warm winter sunshine with only a light breeze. Over 260 riders had registered to take part. The start/finish was on a wide section of tarmac which lead to some fast finishes.
The first race of the day was for the Under 6s. They had to complete 4 laps of the short course. They all got medals at the finish line.
The Under 8s used the same course. This wasn’t the course the organisers had originally planned as a section of grass behind one of the buildings had become waterlogged overnight. The Under 8s race was held over 10 hectic laps. Just taking the win in the boys’ race was James Kavanagh (Lakeland) with Evan McTavish (Western Lakes CC) right behind him. Fionn Murphy (O’Leary Stone Kanturk) was third. In the girls’ race Marian Mulvaney (Sliabh Luachra Cycling Club) had a clear lead over Emily O’Mahony (Sliabh Luachra Cycling Club) who finished second and Elisa Tyszecka (MBCC) who was third.
The Under 10s course took them out into the main field around the recently cut grass, over the boards then back into the finish area. Their race was just two laps. Taking the win in the boys’ race was Tadhg Connolly (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club). This was his first win of the series. Josh Turner (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) crossed the line in second place with Jaxon Jennings (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) taking third. Molly Turner (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) got her fourth win from four rounds. Caroline Collins (Sliabh Luachra Cycling Club) was second with Emilia Tyszecka (MBCC) third.
The Under 12s under the same course as the Under 10s but they had 3 laps to complete. Jack McGahan (Square Wheels) continued his winning streak in the series, taking his fourth win in the boys’ race. Cullen Murphy (O’Leary Stone Kanturk) was second with Diarmuid O’Sullivan (Greenmount CA) third. There were just two girls in the Under 12s race with Erica Sheridan (Fermoy Cycling Club) finishing ahead of Aoife O’Mahony (Sliabh Luachra Cycling Club).
After a break for podium presentations and course practice it was the turn of the Women, Under 16s and Under 14s. The Women set off first with a two minute gap to the Under 16 boys. The Under 14 boys, Under 16 girls and Under 14 boys set off at 30 second intervals. In the 4 lap Under 14 boys’ race Eoin Davis (Bohermeen CC) got his second win of the series. James Cunningham (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) was second with Kieran Mulvaney (Sliabh Luachra Cycling Club) finishing third and takes over the lead in the series. Katie Turner (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) got her third win of the series when she took the chequered flag ahead of Naoise Byrne (Carlow RCC) with Orla Mulhearne (Panduit Carrick Wheelers) picking up third place and the bronze medal.
In the 4 lap Under 16 boys’ race Jack Woods (Carlow RCC) got his first win of the series. Hugh Og Mulhearne (Verge Sport PI Cycles) finished second with Caleb McGreevy (VC Glendale) third, James Armstrong (VC Glendale) fourth and Ciaran O’Sullivan (Greenmount CA) fifth. Caleb remains at the top of the series. Mia Geary (Fermoy Cycling Club) got her second win of the series in the Under 16 girls’ race. Aoife O’Donovan (Dungarvan CC) was second with Holly McCaffrey (Cuchulainn CC) third. Ami Flavin (Dungarvan CC) was fourth and takes over the lead in the series.
In the 6 lap women’s race Junior rider Greta Lawless (Team WORC) lead from start to finish. Caoimhe May (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) was second with Doireann Killeen (Kilcullen Cycling Club Murphy Geospacial) picking up third and putting her at the top of the series. Niamh Stephens (Team Giant Dublin) was fourth with Junior rider Kate Murphy (Sliabh Luachra Cycling Club) fifth. The first of the Masters was Jean Wilson (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) who was sixth. Aoibhinn Sharkey (VC Glendale) finished seventh and picked up the third place Junior prize. Sally Drennan (Midleton CTC) and Elizabeth Kent (Spin the Bean Power by Coffee) were the second and third Masters.
After another break for podiums, course practice and refreshments, it was the turn of the Juniors, M50s, M60s and the non-cyclo-cross bike support race. In the 6 lap Junior men’s race Joseph Mullen (Navan Road Club) put on a powerful demonstration to take the win, well clear of nearest rival David Gaffney (Villeneuve Cycliste). David’s second place keeps him at the top of the series. Conor Murphy (Rostrevor Mountain Bike Club) was having an off day but still managed to finish third. Cal Tutty (JEGG-DJR Academy) was fourth with Michael Collins (Newcastle West Cycling Club) fifth.
In the M50s race there was a close battle at the front between Alan Bingham (Inspired Cycling) and Trevor Woods (All human/VeloRevolution Racing Team) but Alan managed to pull away from Trevor to take the win. Trevor finished second with Fearghal Regan (Kilcullen Cycling Club Murphy Geospacial) third, which placed Fearghal at the top of the series. Des Woods (Inspired Cycling) was fourth with Declan McEntee (Emyvale CC) fifth.
In the M60s race Johnny McCabe (Cuchulainn CC) was out again to catch as many M50s as he could. Johnny easily won the M60s race. Paul Birchall (Verge Sport PI Cycles) was second with Micheal Corkery (De Ronde Van Cork CC) third and Anthony Talt (Kilcullen Cycling Club Murphy Geospacial) fourth. In the support race Kieran Cahill (Dungarvan CC) took the win ahead of Stephen Hughes (Limerick Cycling Club) with Donal Cahill (Un-Attached Munster) third.
The final race of the day was for the Senior men and M40 men. The Senior men completed 8 laps with the M40s completing 7 laps. The top 3 in the Senior men’s race put on a great show. The battle was between Dean Harvey (Trinity Racing), Jamie Meehan (Spellman-Dublin Port) and Kevin McCambridge (Trinity Racing). The lead kept changing. The final lap was crucial. Coming around the final bend was Jamie Meehan who got his first win of the series. Dean Harvey was second with Kevin McCambridge third. Out on his own for most of the race was Travis Harkness (Scott Bright Motor Group) who finished fourth and stays at the top of the series table. Richard Barry (St. Finbarrs CC) was fifth with legend of racing, Robin Seymour (Team WORC), finishing sixth.
In the M40s race Ronan O’Flynn (Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) lead from start to finish. Marcus Flavin (Dungarvan CC) finished second which keeps him at the top of the series. Barry Convery (Newry Wheelers CC) finished third with Barry Paul Dunne (Kildare Cycling Club) fourth and Raymond O’Shaughnessy (Cuchulainn CC) fifth.
Many thanks to all those in Upperchurch Drombane who were involved in putting on this great event. Thanks to the sponsors and photographers, and to the University for the use of the site. The fifth round of the National Series takes place on Saturday 30 December 2023 at the McCrystal track in County Louth.
Commissaires: Roddy Keane, Tomas O Miadhachain, Liz Roche, Mike Twomey, Martin Grimley
Series table after four rounds here
Report by Martin Grimley
Cycling Ireland (Facebook) – here
Sean Rowe (Facebook) – tbc
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