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Cycling Ulster at the British NPS

19/06/2018
Cycling Ulster at the British NPS
Phoenix Bike Park in Suffolk was the venue for Round 4 of the British National XC series and with Thomas Creighton sitting exams Cycling Ulster had a four rider team at this event.


With such a young team the emphasis is on developing our riders and a short technical lap was ideal for the riders to work together under the watchful eyes of Gareth McKee and Graham Boyd to figure out the best way round the lap.
Lots of A and B line choices and jumps meant plenty of opportunities for airtime at this venue!


Sunday’s races kicked of at 9am with the Under 16 boys first up.
Cycling Ulster rider Ben Wilson charged to a 26th place finish. Riding every A line perfectly meant Ben was able to take advantage of the time gains over some of his opposition.
Dean Harvey riding for Kinning Cycles had looked to be shaping up for a top ten finish when his race was interrupted by a blown tyre. Dean didn’t give up and limped to the pits for a wheel change before crossing the line in 30th.


Under 14 boys followed with Carn Wheelers rider Travis Harkness had a great race to 23rd position, producing some great lap times on the way.


Under 16 girls saw a steady start for Cycling Ulsters Darcey Harkness who looked more and more confident with every lap as she worked her way forward to 14th at the flag. A great reward for one of the hardest working riders on the team.


XMTB rider Erin Creighton had a great race to 10th position in Under 14 girls, again starting to look at home racing at this level.


In the 1pm race for Cycling Ulster we had Niamh McKiverigan. Only a first year junior this young lady is impressing everyone including her rivals with her progress.


Niamh rode a clever race, pacing herself with her competitors early on then powering clear in the second half to record a 7th position at the flag.


3.15pm is the feature race with our juniors and elites and first up were Gareth McKee for cycleology racing and Graham Boyd for McConvey Cycles.


Gareth was another to fall victim to a puncture while running in 2nd position and looking really strong in the huge bunch racing for the lead. 11th place was cruel reward for the effort Gareth had put in.


Graham had one of his best races as he battled all the way to 16th at the flag.


The junior race saw Cycling Ulster rider Lee Harvey produce one of the rides of the day as he went wheel to wheel with European Champion Charlie Aldridge for the lead. What started as a bunch of five was whittled down by the relentless pace to leave Lee as the only challenger. Starting the last lap Lee dropped back a few seconds to finish in second place but he should be proud of his efforts.


Indeed Lee and his teammate Thomas are the perfect example for our younger riders of what is possible with the correct attitude and exposure to British National level racing and the aim for them is to be racing at this level by the time they become juniors.


All our young riders are progressing up the leaderboards with each outing and have the potential to race competitively at this level once they gain experience.


Thank you to Nicola McKiverigan, Gareth McKee and Mark Harvey for giving up their time to travel to the event and help our riders.


We’d also like to thank the parents who helped in the pits during the race.


Report by Mark Harvey
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