This years NPS season kicked off in style last weekend with round 2 (round 1 was cancelled) on the brilliant Bellurgan Park course just outside Dundalk. The hosting club Cuchulainn CC have done a great job improving this venue over the last 2 years and it has now become one of the highlights of the race calendar.
There was a very large turnout for this event which was helped by the dry if a little chilly conditions and the course reputation. There was also a large IMBRC turnout with about 25 riders making the short trip up the M1.
There was some great racing early on with the youth categories fighting it out for the medals. We had some brilliant performances from our junior team yet again..!David McGarr finished in 2nd in the U10’s cat with his brother Adam placing 3rd in U12’s just behind Ryan Dunne in 2nd place (photo below).
In u14’s we had Johnny Quinn (photo below) come home in 4th place in a really close category with less that a minute separating the top 9 riders.
In u16’s we had Antony Quinn finish in a good 5th place having let 3rd place slip away in the finishing straight to Scott Wallace 3rd & Conor Levelle 4th (both MAD MTB). We also had an improving Aaron Lynch 11th in his first race this year after returning from a series of injuries.
The senior categories were fast and furious with large numbers in each group which made passing difficult on the tight fast track, so it was all important to get a good start and get into the single track as far up as possible. In S1 men James McCluskey placed a respectable 8th in a strong field which was won by Peter Buggle (Rocky Mountain), followed by Ray O’Shaughnessy (Cuchulainn CC) & Roger Aiken (Banbridge CC).
Our best placed rider in S2 was Joe Jones 17th, with Colm Keane in 31st and David Askin (photo below) in 38th. Jim Haide was a DNF after suffering mechanical problems while running in the top 10. S2 was won by Stuart Galloway (WORC) followed by Simon Curry (Banbridge CC) & Paddy Makey (WORC).
The S3 category is huge this year with 78 riders lining up on the start line. Again the start is crucial with such a big field.! There was a bit of an incident on the start loop which a number of riders got caught up in. Anyone who missed it was away and clear.! This very competitive cat was won by Brian Hutchinson (EPIC) followed by Marcin Drozdziok (U/A) & Mark Farrell (U/A). We had Glen Guilda finish in a superb 5th place, less than 2 mins behind the winner. Greg Cahill was 11th, Davey Dunne 13th, Ladislav Faska 18th (photo below), Paul Barry 25th, Michale Cummins 46th, & Aidan Duffy who is listed incorrectly in the results as a DNS.
Another big field in S4, which was won by Barry McCabe (Killarny CC) followed by Peter Boaden (EPIC DH) & Joe O’Leary (Killarney CC). We had Leo McGarr coming back from injury in 15th place and Arek Wjotunik 42nd.
It was a great days racing and we are looking forward to the next round in Cork.
Photos supplied by Conor Byrne Photography, Keith Wallace & Derek Hayes