Ulster Cycling News

Cycling Ulster Youth Riders Experience Olympic Course

Seven Cycling Ulster young members headed off to the Olympic MTB Venue recently.  These were Shenna McKiverigan, Shannon Buller, Jill Curry , James Curry, Declan Mullholland, Darnell Moore and Ryan Orr. They had the fantastic opportunity  to compete at the Olympic MTB venue, Hadleigh Farm.

They were competing in the UK interregional MTB Championships.

The competition saw the top young riders from across the UK, all under the age of 16, come together to compete for their regions over three days. Young aspiring riders competed in a skills competition as well as a massed start hill climb, dirt crit eliminator and cross country events. The Olympic MTB venue Hadleigh Farm provided a fantastic, inspirational venue for the first standalone event of its kind, and helped further develop young talent pathways to elite mountain biking in the UK.

It is great to know that our young mountain bikers who have been watching Team GB’s cycling success at the London 2012 Games and the world’s best compete at Hadleigh Farm in Essex, will not only be inspired by the performances of the athletes they have seen, but also by knowing they were the first to compete at the London 2012 Olympic Mountain Bike venue after the London 2012 Games had gone.

The weekend began with the skills competition on Friday and everybody set out to practice the skills that were already in place. At three o’clock the girls lined u -  52 of them to compete and finished with positive results, Shannon 14th , Shenna 28th and Jill  33rd. All of the boys had equally successful results . 56 boys lined up with James finishing 5th overall,  Ryan 21st overall, Declan 42nd and Darnell 53rd overall.

Day two at Hadleigh Farm consisted of the dirt crit in the morning and hill climb in the afternoon. Arriving bright and early at eight  thirty, everybody rode the course for the dirt crit. The girls’ heats began mid-morning and were off to a successful start with Shenna making the B finals and ended up 22nd overall, Shannon the C finals and  ended up 32nd overall and Jill the D finals and ended up 44th overall.  The girls had all great results with in their heats.

Later on in the boys dirt crit, James, Ryan and Declan made the C finals  and Darnell the D finals Darnell was unlucky he came off and then his chain came off in the semi heats. The boys ended up James 32nd overall, Ryan 36th overall Declan 42nd overall and Darnell 44th overall again all boys had great results with in there heats.

In the afternoon, the hill climb, a quick wide fire road then onto some steep single track zig zags.  The girls were up first with  Shannon and Shenna both finishing 10th in there heats and Jill finishing 23rd in her heat. Shenna ended up 12th overall, Shannon 25th overall and was unfortunate to get caught up in a crash, and Jill 42nd overall.

The boys had equally good results, with Darnell 17th in his heats and 13th overall, James 19th in his heat and 36th overall,  Ryan 23rd in his heats and 41st overall and Declan 26th in his heats and 46th overall, unfortunately there was a crash in the finals and the field was split.  The third and final day of the Inter regionals was the XC race, the longest and most painful day of racing! The team had all familiarized themselves with the course, unfortunately James took a fall during practice and hurt his leg, but was determined to start the race.

At twelve o’clock, after the hundredth warm up of the weekend, the girls rolled on to the start line ready to race their five laps on the Olympic course. With the sun shining and the buzzing atmosphere, it was hard to feel tired. One rider from each team started on the front of the grid, Shannon took  row 2 , Shenna row 4 and Jill row 6.

As the race unfolded, the girls were all racing really hard in the warm heat and racing a distance which was much longer than they would ride at home. Shannon finished 16th overall and Shenna 17th overall, Jill 38th overall.

In the boys race in the afternoon the boys lined up for 6 laps. James took to the start line and started on the 2nd row of the grid, Ryan 4th row, Declan 6th row and Darnel 8th row. It became clear James was hurting but he was not going to give up, the rest of the boys where all riding strong in the very hot conditions, Ryan finished 28th overall, Darnell 40th overall James 41st overall and Declan 45th overall.

I’m sure you will all agree these young kids showed dedication and focus and bucket loads of maturity for their age.  A real joy and an honour to be involved with. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank William Mulligan who accompanied me on this trip, William not only trained the kids before the event he drove the van with all their bikes and provided great support while at the venue. Thanks also to Anthony Mitchell for his continued support of youth development and funding this trip through the Talent Budget awarded to Cycling Ulster by Sport NI.

Report -  Nicola Oldham Team Manager.

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