Dromara CC’s Golden Girl becomes the Ulster Cyclocross Champion

From left to right Mairead McGurk (Carn Wheelers) - 2nd, Lisa Millar (DCC) - 1st, Claire Oakley (XMTB) - 3rd. Pic by R Cowan.
From left to right Mairead McGurk (Carn Wheelers) - 2nd, Lisa Millar (DCC) - 1st, Claire Oakley (XMTB) - 3rd. Pic by R Cowan.

The very best Cyclocross racers in Ulster came together for the Ulster Cyclocross Championship on Sunday December 14.

With the weather running up to the event being a tad rough it is great credit to Carn Wheelers for getting a course ready at Drum Manor Forest in Cookstown.

The first race of the day saw the Men’s Vet Race and the Ladies Open & Vet race get underway with Dromara CC having Lisa Millar in the Ladies Open Race and Martina Hawkins in the Ladies Vet Race.

The course was extremely tough given the extra mud due to the heavy rainfall the week before.

It takes great determination to complete of the most physically demanding courses.

The Ladies Race was a very close affair and Claire Oakley (Xmtb McConvey Cycles) held an early lead but Lisa Millar, who has only recently returned from injury, was not far behind.

In a close race like this every mistake or mechanical can be very costly as Claire found when picking up a puncture late on allowing Lisa to take a well deserved victory and become the Ladies Ulster Cyclocross Champion 2014.

In the Ladies Vet Race Martina Hawkins produced a very determined performance but was not able to get close to Gill Smith (Phoenix CC) who took the win.

This was Martina’s first Cyclocross race having changed disciplines from the Mountain Bike so to pick up a silver medal is an awesome result.

The Men’s Vet 40 Race saw Paul Mawhirt and Derek Graham from Dromara CC hold their own in a very competitive field.

It was bad luck that was to strike Derek Graham as he punctured with only two laps to go having been well placed in the top ten however Paul’s luck held out to take a very creditable 8th place with Colm McGarvey (EPIC) and Des Woods (Newry Wheelers) battling out a very close race to take first and second respectively.

In the Super Vets (Men over 50) Mike Barton finished in 8th place in his first Championship outing with Johnny Mccabe (Cuchulainn CC) taking the victory.

The final race of the day saw the Men’s Elite race & Men’s Juniors test themselves on this physically demanding course.

Barry Kellett (Dromara CC) showed his sprinting ability by shooting off at the start to take a decent lead from the main field. However Glenn Kinning (Kinning Cycles) who is in tremendous form having just returned from the World Championship round at Milton Keynes two weeks before hunted him down.

Glenn took the race win to become the Ulster Cyclocross Champion leaving Barry to fight on and take very impressive second place and silver medal.

Graham Smyth, Richard Cowan and Graham Beckett all produced super rides to take 13th, 15th and 17th with all hoping to improve next year.