The Island Wheelers brought in the third round of the Ulster Cyclo-cross series in style with lots of wet and muddy racing around Windmill Wood in Dungannon.
The event was hosted by the Wheelers, sponsored by Nugent Trailers and supported by Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council.
The recent wet weather didn’t deter the racers with over 200 competitors of all ages turning up to take part in a full programme of races on the day.
The heavy rain throughout the week, combined with the rain on racce day helped to create a very challenging, slippery yet exciting course. The main attraction on the day was the Cyclo-Cross A Race, and was dominated from the start by one man - Roger Aiken of Banbridge CC.
Roger, sporting his national championship jersey, took the lead on the first lap, and was unstoppable. In second place was up and coming junior sensation, David Montgomery, whose position was never troubled through the race.
The final spot on the podium was a hard fought battle between Glenn Kinning and Jason Henry. However, after trailing Jason for most of the race, Glenn made his move and went clear on the penultimate lap to take third place. Rory Maguire finished first unplaced junior while Jason Henry, first unplaced veteran, and John Bogues (Phoenix CC), finished first uplaced super vets.
After his win last weekend in the B race, Thomas Hepburn flew the flag for Island Wheelers in the A race and did the club proud with his fantastic effort.
The ladies race was won by Gill Smith (Phoenix CC) ahead of Lisa Millar (Dromara CC). Sheena McKiverigan (Banbridge CC) came home in third to take the last place on the podium ahead of Mairead McGurk (Carn Wheelers) and Julie McCorry (Dromara CC).
The B race saw Gary Jeffers (East Tyrone) transfer his fantastic road season to the CX scene by taking a convincing win. William Boyd (Xmtb McConvey Cycles) and Joseph McCrory (Carn Wheelers) made up the remaining places on the podium. Wheelers Sean Scullion and Raymond Rocks battled hard to take fourth and fifth. Cathal McGuigan and Gary Rafferty also featured in the race.
In the mountain bike support race Paul Ferguson (North Down CC) took the win ahead of Apollo CT man Cathal Hendron and Steven Mulholland from Carn Wheelers. Island Wheeler Kieran Gilligan just missed out on the podium but can’t be too disappointed with an excellent fourth place.
Kathryn Aiken (Banbridge CC) won the ladies’ mountain bike race ahead of Dromara CC pair, Diane Wilson and Alwynne Shannon. The Island Wheelers had Janice Hepburn feature strongly in the race which was great to see. Hopefully she has inspired a few more ladies in the club to go out and give the racing a go.
Local lads Conor Boyle and James McCourt have been putting in great performances in the last few races and round three was no different with the pair coming in fourth and fifth respectively. The pair have put in some hard training over the last year and will be ones to watch in the future. Cameron McIntyre (Xmtb McConvey Cycles) won the race ahead of Dylan Russell (Caldwell Cycles Omagh) and George Graham (BRC).
The was a full programme of youth racing which proved extremely popular and good fun. It also proved extremely successful for the Island Wheelers. In the U10 race Darren Rafferty won once again to make it three out of three in the series. In the girls U10 race Sarah Wilson did really well and came home in the top 10.
In the U8 boys race, the Island Wheelers stormed to a fantastic first, second and third (Shane Scullion, Adam Rafferty and Oisin Ferrity) with Calum Helpburn not far behind in eighth. In the U8 girl’s race, Katie Kirkland came in a cool eighth place.
The U6 fun race was just that! The Wheelers were out in force and young Calum Hepburn came home first with Aliyah Rafferty in a brilliant third place. A big well done to all the youths who took part in this race.
The Island Wheelers would like to thank all the people that helped make the event the huge success that it was.