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Kinning Knocknagoney 2018

Date: Sunday 7 January 2018
Event: Kinning Cross Knocknagoney
Location: Knocknagoney Park, Belfast
Host club: Kinning Cycles

The first cyclo-cross event of the new year took place on Sunday 7 January 2018 at Knocknagoney Linear Park in Belfast hosted by Kinning Cycles.  This was the first time this park was used for a cycling event and thanks have to go to Belfast City Council for their ongoing support.  The park is tucked away from the main Hollywood Road and is a long narrow strip of land with steep banks on either side.  The original park had a river flowing through the centre but this has been piped in.  Race day started with a chilly -3 degrees with clear blue skies and no wind.  The grass was frozen in the morning but, once the sun got up, the side of the park that was in the sunshine turned muddy while the other side remained frozen.  The course designers had made great use of the steep grassy slopes, steps and paths to provide a challenging circuit.  Riders had come from all parts of Ireland to 'test their legs' after the Christmas break with the National Championships looming next Sunday.

The first race of the day started at 10 am with the Women, Under 16s and Under 14s. Lisa Stapelbroek (Kenmare Cycling Club) took an early lead in the Women's race and was unchallenged throughout.  Breda Horan (Scott Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club) was lying second in the early laps but dropped back to fourth once Julie Rea (Phoenix CC) passed her and then Helen White (Stamullen RC) towards the end of the race.  The first three were then Lisa, Julie and Helen.  Junior rider Orla Conroy (Bray Wheelers) finished 5th with first time off-road racer, Louise Friel (XMTB), suffering a broken chain on her first lap.  In the Under 16 boys' race Ciaran Dixon (McConvey Cycles) has his first win of the year for his new club.  Somhairle Owens Fisher (Omagh Wheelers Cycling Club) finished second with Dean Harvey, from the host club, finishing third.  There were just two entries in the Under 16 girls' race with Maria McAllister (Island Wheelers) the only one to cross the line as Darcey Harkness (Carn Wheelers) retired after lap 2.  Just two riders in the Under 14 boys' race which seen Conal Scully (Carlow RCC) making the long journey up to the event worthwhile as he took the win ahead of Travis Harkness (Carn Wheelers).  Just two as well in the Under 14 girls' race with Hannah Mullin (Trail Demons CC) the only finisher as Rachel White (North Down CC) retired after lap 1.

Next up was the Men's B' race which seen 31 entries in the 7 lap race.  After some swapping of the leadership the race settled down with Ray Brownfield (North Down CC) taking the win.  This was a super result for Ray who had had serious medical issues in 2017.  Certainly a great contenter for a 'come-back' kid award!  Mark Gordon (Newry Wheelers CC) was leading for the first 3 laps before finished second. Michael McMullan (Unattached) completed the podium taking third.  Lee Somerville (Lakeland) was lying third for laps 1 and 2 but had to settle for 4th with John McGettigan (Lucan Cycling Road Club) finishing 5th.  M60 rider Ray Beers (East Antrim CC) showed that age means nothing in cycling as he finished 6th overall.

The final race of the day was for the Men's A' race.  The line up included the who's who of cyclo-cross in Ireland including the current M40 and M50 national champions, Robin Seymour (Team WORC) and Des Woods (Newry Wheelers) respectively.  Also among the 34 strong line up were the junior riders Thomas Creighton (McConvey Cycles), Lee Harvey (Kinning Cycles) and Danny Mac Donald (Burren Cycling Club) who were out to create their own history within the sport to join the who's who list.  The riders had 9 laps to complete.

Darnell Moore (Caldwell Cycles Omagh) lead the race at the end of lap 1 but by lap 2 race organiser Glenn Kinning (Kinning Cycles) had got to the front and stayed there until the end.  Robin Seymour moved up from 3rd to 2nd and was closing in on Glenn towards the end of the race but ran out of time.  Dramatically Glenn had a mechnical just metres from the finish line but Robin couldn't capitalise on this misfortune.  Darnell Moore finished 3rd with junior rider Thomas Creighton 4th in a close battle with club mate Graham Boyd.  Tim O'Regan (Killarney Cycling Club) finished 6th with first unplaced M40 rider Alan Bingham (Cuchulainn CC) finishing 7th.

After the races the riders could enjoy some hot drinks and sandwiches.  Many thanks to all the hardworking volunteers from Kinning Cycles along with cycling friends for putting on this event. Next week sees the National Cyclo-cross Championships.  Registration closes at midnight tonight (7 January 2018).  See details on www.offroadcyclingireland.ie

Commissaires: Martin Grimley, Lisa Millar

Report by Martin Grimley

Results here

Photos

The Belgium Project (Facebook) - here
Bronagh Kirk (own site) - here
Toby Watson (Facebook) - here