Huge interest as over 300 riders compete in Ulster Cyclo-cross Championships in St Columb’s Park

Over 300 riders participated in the 4th round of the Ulster Cyclo-cross Championships which were held in St Columb’s Park, Derry, on Sunday 30 October. The class of Asea Wheelworx rider Roger Aitken was there to be enjoyed, as he won the CX ‘A’ Race in a time of 53:31 against stiff competition from Barry Kellett of Dromara Cycling Club (Co. Down) and Graham Boyd of Xmtb McConvey Cycles (Belfast). Foyle Cycling Club’s Ronan McLaughlin came in 11th in the ‘A’ race in a time of 58:03.

Foyle Cycling Club, that coordinated the event, was delighted with how the day panned out. Simon Gill, club chairman, said: it was great to see so many children participating at under age while at senior level it was joy to compete with the likes of Roger Aitken, Barry Kellet, Glenn Kinning, Jason Henry, Trudy Brown and our own Ronan McLaughlin.’

This year’s event was brought forward to coincide with Derry’s 30th anniversary Halloween celebrations. Foyle Cycling PRO, Ronan Gallagher, said this had a major bearing on the number of people riding and watching the competition: ‘in 2015 the Derry round of the Ulster Championship was staged at the end of November in very difficult weather conditions. We were delighted that the organisers of Ulster Cyclo-cross, in particular Martin Grimley, facilitated the new date for 2016 as it certainly helped increase participation by almost 25%. This year we had over 300 riders across all age categories and approximately 1100 spectators cheering them on.’ He continued: ‘we hope that this fixture will become a permanent event at Halloween for Club and City, and we’re also confident that the 2018 Irish Cyclo-cross championships will be held in Derry too. We’re hopefully too that local companies will take the lead of Halfords Cycles on Crescent Link who sponsored the prizes for all the junior categories. With key sponsorship, this event has the potential to bring in hundreds of competitors and spectators thus helping our local economy to grow,’ he said.

The next round of the Championships, hosted by Island Wheelers, will be held at Windmill Wood in Dungannon, on 6 November.

Full race results available here.

Report submitted by Ronan Gallagher