Ulster Cycling News

Great Weekend for Off Road

The Red Bull Foxhunt on Belfast’s Cave Hill took place at the weekend and attracted competitors and visitors from all over Ireland and beyond.

Irish off road riders have consistently shown their talents both at home and abroad and this is due in no small measure to the top class mountain bike trails in Ireland.

The event promoted by Red Bull, sees 100 riders set off on the course together. They are then chased by World Downhill Champion, Gee Atherton who is set off some seconds after them. His aim is to ride through the bunch and make his way to the head of the bunch to cross the line as the winner.

The whole weekend was promoted in a carnival atmosphere and many families came along to walk the Cave Hill and enjoy not only the chase but the fun filled atmosphere of the two days and the great views of Belfast from the top. Fortunately the weather, though cold, was reasonably kind to all.

Belfast City Council is to be congratulated for their support of the venture which can only continue to grow. The challenging course was designed in conjunction with Colin Finlay and Stephen Davidson of Plush Mountain Bike club. The course began at the park’s highest point, Napoleon’s Nose, before descending through moorland and forest to a sprint finish in the grounds of Belfast Castle.

In the end it was Dublin’s Greg Callaghan who took the honours finishing just ahead of Gee Atherton. Well known downhiller, Glyn O’Brien took the final podium place.





Report Marian Lamb
Pics Courtesy of Trailbadger Toby

Dromara CC Begin Annual Trail Quest Series

A foggy cold morning dawned for the first round of the Dromara Cycling Club's 2012 Winter Trailquest league which took place from  event headquarters on the shores on Lough Neagh, at the Gawleys Gate Inn, near Aghalee. The weather improved over the next hour providing the 54 people who took part, a perfect crisp, sunny winter’s day to enjoy the local countryside. This was a new venue, providing a challenge for organiser Trevor Annett as he set out the course of 30 orienteering markers and clues in an area stretching between Moira, Lower Ballinderry, Aghalee and Aghagallon.

Trail quests are cycling based orienteering events across a mixture of road and off-road terrains.  The object is to locate as many markers as you can and return to base within the time limit.  The markers are well spaced out so that a team would be unable to reach all markers within the time limit of 3½ hours for adult teams or 2 hours for those teams with a youth under sixteen on their team. Twenty nine teams were formed with all but 3 of the teams electing to try out the longer course.  Twenty five of the teams chose to pre enter through the Dromara Cycling Club website which guaranteed a starting time.  The first team set off at 10:30 with one minute gaps between each team.  At their alloted time the team was supplied with a laminated map of the area, along with a blank question/answer sheet and pen.  The team would then take a few minutes to look over the map to select the best route to locate as many checkpoints as possible and return to base on time.

This year's trail quest is once again raising funds for the Northern Ireland Cancer Fund For Children, based at Shimna Valley, Bryansford Road Newcastle. An impressive £2,700 was raised during last winter’s events and Dromara CC of course wish to improve on the total this year.

The relatively flat Aghalee area helped many of the teams to reach more of the points, further away locations had a greater points value, than would normally be the case in an area of hillier terrain.  The relative calm before 10:30 am seen teams casually chatting together, putting on layers to protect from the cold as well as preparing their bikes.  Chaos takes over as the first team went away at 10.30 with teams swinging into orienteering mode.  First team away was solo rider Antoine Rivoire “French Tony” from Newtownards, followed by the 3 man team "Mutts Nutts" from Banbridge, with father and son team "Bert and Fred" heading off next with another father and son team "Young Gun and Old Cannon", Paddy & Frazer Harrower from Dromara, taking on the 2 hour event.  The Harrower's were first back just before 1pm along with Cathy Booth who had also selected the 2 hour event as she was expecting a baby in the new year.  This gave a clue to her team name which had the word “bump” in it.  Team "Goodfellas", with Davy Robb and Michael McGlynn of Dromara CC,  were the first of the 3½ hour teams to return around 2 pm.   Within minutes the carpark was full of bikes, the sound of squealing tyres and answer sheets thrust at the organisier, all demanding to get the finish time recorded. [points are deducted if a team is over their time limit].

Solo rider Paul McArthur "Average Joes" finished with 450 out of a possible 550 points.  Only four other teams collected 400 points or more, "Notthesundayrun", "Jimmy the Kipper", "The Star Fangled Nutz" and team "Get No Sleep".

A great day was had by all, a couple of small mistakes on the map, a stolen checkpoint and an unhappy landowner, were all quickly forgotten as everyone was provided with soup and refreshments kindly supplied by the Gawleys Gate Inn.

Dromara Cycling Club would like to thank all those who took part, the staff and owners of the Gawleys Gate Inn and all those who kindly gave permission for the event to take place.

The next event will be held at the Dolly’s Brae Inn, Ballyward, Castlewellan, on Sunday 30th December.
See www.dromaracc.co.uk   for more pics and full results

Report Trevor Annett (Dromara CC)

Pics Martin Grimley



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