Last Sunday, Castlewellan Forest Park was the place to be for mountain bike enthusiasts with large crowds of spectators enjoying the spectacle of the Ulster Championships, hosted by Banbridge CC.
Bann were even amongst the medals as they completed a stunning double in the U16 category, Cameron McIntyre and Shannon Buller taking the top prizes.
Cameron followed up his Irish U16 title by adding the Ulster title with a commanding display. Club-mate Johnny Buller made it a one-two for Banbridge CC in this category.
Not to be outdone, Shannon Buller produced a strong and skilful performance to lift the Girls U16 title and confirm the club’s domination at this level.
At Junior Male level Joseph Baird fought hard to claim a good second place amidst stiff competition while in the Masters event Don Travers managed a third place after a long layoff from the discipline while at the same time edging Willie Mulligan out of the places.
Top three winners in each category were presented with special commemorative t-shirts by Banbridge CC with the Ulster Championship medals to be awarded at the Cycling Ulster dinner later in the year.
The event’s success was due to the efforts of the Banbridge members who combined effort and expertise to lay out a challenging course which drew universal praise from competitors and spectators alike. Both MTB and road members turned out in force to assist on the day.
The efforts of race organiser William Mulligan in recent months were crucial to its ultimate success and with assistance from Maurice Mayne and his committee, the end product was a professionally run event.
On a night when stormy gusts of wind faced riders on the return leg, Kevin McAlinden was the only one of 16 starters to break 25 minutes on Wednesday evening in the second of the two Weir Cup 10 mile handicap time trials - this one on the Dromore- Lurgan road course.
lthough Kevin (24.51) was fastest man on the night on actual time it was the ever improving Andie Beattie, runner up on actual time (25.29) who claimed first handicap position with an excellent ride on the night. Joe Penny (25.38) took third place while suffering like many others in the difficult conditions.
Over the two race series, however, it was Nathan Sturrock whose combined handicap times were good enough to clinch the Weir Cup for the first time - just reward for his consistent efforts all season.
K.McAlinden 24.51, A.Beattie 25.29 , J.Penny 25.38 , D.Purdy 25.53, P.Beattie 26.08 ,N.Sturrock 26.15 ,I.Cochrane 26.53, C.Burns 26.58, C.McIntyre 27.22, Freida Brown 27.36, D.Lavery 27.47, E.Anderson 28.12, B.Curran 28.31,P.McGuckin 29.05, J.Gillespie 30.22, P.Anderson 32.18.