||Last Updated: Apr 4, 2014 - 8:10:17 PM
Robin Seymour returned to the top of Irish cyclo cross racing on Sunday when he scooped his fourteenth national title in Corcagh Park, Clondalkin.
SEYMOUR TAKES RECORD FOURTEENTH CROSS TITLE
By Shane Stokes
Jan 9, 2006,
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Seymour added to his remarkable record when he turned the tables on last year’s victor, Roger Aiken (Banbridge CC), unleashing a last lap burst which finally broke the resolve of the Northern rider. Each had opened up small gaps over the other during the off-road race but had been unable to build a lasting lead; however, Seymour (Team WORC) dug deep during the last of seven laps, using his technical skill to draw ahead in the singletrack forest section and to secure that fourteenth gold.
A disappointed Aiken slowed once Seymour had opened an unassailable lead, finishing 26 seconds down, while Lewis Ferguson (Team BHB) outsprinted Niall Davis (IMBRC) for the bronze medal some four seconds later. Philip Roche and James McCluskey finished fifth and sixth, their results combining with that of Seymour to net Team WORC their second consecutive team title.
Besides taking fourteen cross titles, Seymour has won the cross country moutainbike championships for twelve consecutive years and also taken one downhill gold medal. In all, the 34 year old has won a superb 27 Irish championships and competed in two Olympic Games.
“We were pretty evenly matched during the race but I knew that if I could enter the final technical section ahead of Roger, I should be able to open a decent lead,” said Seymour. “I managed to do that, got a clean run in the forest and pulled ahead.”
“It is great to win this, especially after losing out last season. This victory probably means more to me than some of the others over the years. I’ve been thinking about this race for a long time and been under quite a bit of pressure.”
“The course was very good today,” said Aiken. “Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get to the line first. I tried to get ahead of Robin before the technical section but he was able to hold me off.”
Robert Lamont (XMTB) beat Peter McConville (Newry Wheelers) and Mick Jordan (IMBRC) for the veteran’s title, while Tarja Owens (Team WORC). Mark McKinley (Newry Wheelers) got the better of Sean Downey (MAD) and Diarmuid Cronin (South Dublin CC) in the battle for the junior championship.
How it happened:
There was a decent turnout for the championships in Corcagh Park, with a total of 49 riders lining out across the various categories for the event. This number was further boosted by those competing in the MTB support race, which took place an hour and a half before the 1.30 pm championship start. The weather was bright and cold, with a noticeable absence of mud on the mainly-flat course.
The MTB race got things underway at noon and after five laps of hard effort, Banbridge’s Paul Anderson (Banbridge CC) reached the line a good 49 seconds ahead of David Rawlins (South Dublin CC) and a further minute and two seconds up on Rawlins’ team-mate James Lattimore.
The under 16 race saw a good tussle between Banbridge CC team mates Sean Downey and Liam McGreevy, while riders from the same club were also victorious in the other underage divisions. Harriet Mayne beat William Sheridan (unattached) in the under 14 race, Michael Runciman got the better of Newbridge’s Darragh Reid in the under 12 event and Rachel Mayne got the under 8 prize.
The tension was noticeably higher before the start of the championship race, with many of the riders getting in repeated practice laps to familiarise themselves with the course. Although it was mainly flat, there was a testing forested singletrack section which would play a big part, making it necessary to get into the trees ahead of other riders and also to take a clean line around the twists and turns contained therein.
The fact that this section was followed by an open, hilly part of the course which would see the riders traverse a jump and run up at least one slope further increased the importance of getting things right.
Shortly after the start, Ferguson took a flyer and entered the forest in front. He was about two seconds ahead of a pack of riders, but coming towards the end of the lap Seymour and Aiken had caught and passed him. Davis, Roche and Shane Baker (Usher IRC) were next in line.
As a rider who is known mainly for his road racing form, Baker was finding the technical sections a bit tougher than the other front runners, but his speed meant that he was able to close the gap on the fast grass and tarmac sections towards the end of the lap. Indeed he led Seymour, Aiken, Davis, Roche, Ferguson and Ulster champion Andy Layhe (Apollo CT) across the line for the start of lap two, showing that he was motivated to do well.
Seymour put in a dig on this lap, drawing clear of the other riders in the forest and holding a two second lead after the run-up. However Aiken got back to him by the end of the lap, with daylight now opening between them and Davis and Ferguson. Baker was by this point 16 seconds back, but running in a good fifth place.
A group of riders formed midway through lap three and this time it was Davis’ turn to lead them over the line. He, Aiken, Ferguson, Seymour and Baker were nearly half a minute clear of Roche and James McCluskey (Team WORC) at this point. The same riders were to the fore one lap later, although Baker was by now losing time, lying some 27 seconds down. He was still looking good for a top six place, however, but disaster struck the next time through the forest, with a branch flicking up and snarling in his rear derailleur. The furious rider dismounted but, seeing the damage, realised that his race was over. Layhe had also been having problems and was similarly gone by this point.
A pattern was emerging at this stage, with Seymour and Aiken both clearly stronger than the rest. At times Aiken would lead Seymour up the run-up, appearing slightly fresher, but then the next lap would reverse this situation. Seymour looked to have bucked this trend though when he opened a three second gap on Aiken after the technical section on lap five, but the latter’s road speed saw him gradually drag the double MTB Olympian back
Ferguson and Davis were by now dropped and having their own personal battle for bronze, but to the surprise of many of the spectators, the duo drew back to the leading two riders by the start of the last lap. Seymour and Aiken had realised that the flatter sections were not decisive and were easing back on the gas after the technical sections of the course; both said afterwards that there were a lot of cat and mouse tactics being played out, rather than all-out racing. This meant that there appeared to be four riders in contention going into the final lap but, in reality, it was all about the current and the past champions.
Seymour and Aiken underlined this fact when they sped away once more on the last lap. Both realised that getting to the singletrack first was crucial; Aiken had good flat speed but Seymour had a trick up his sleeve, bunnyhopping the first set of planks (rather than dismounting) and opening a small gap. His surprised rival dug deep to get back in touch, but Seymour had the inside line on the bend before the forest and reached the trees first.
From then, it was all about bike handling. The Team WORC rider sped through the forest, opening up a gap over Aiken which he held on the run-up. The latter realised that his chance of gold was gone, easing back, but Seymour kept the pressure on all the way to the line to scoop an excellent fourteenth gold medal. A disappointed Aiken came in 26 seconds later, with Ferguson pipping Davis in the sprint for bronze and Roche finishing 13 seconds clear of his team-mate McCluskey. Their fifth and sixth places secured the team prize for WORC.
Peter McSorley (Apollo CT) and Niall Delahaye (IMBRC) were next quickest, placing seventh and eighth, and were followed home seconds later by the first veteran, Robert Lamont. He was ten seconds ahead of the runner-up in that competition, Peter McConville (Newry Wheelers), with bronze medallist Mick Jordan (IMBRC) 39 seconds down.
Aiden McDonald (Apollo CT) and Joe McCall (Team WORC) were ninth and tenth of the elite riders. Owens took the women’s prize, while Mark McKinley (Newry Wheelers) beat Sean Downey (MAD) and Diarmuid Cronin (South Dublin CC) for the junior title.
(More quotes and photos to follow later)
Irish National Cyclo Cross championships, Corcagh Park, Clondalkin (promoted by Team WORC/Usher IRC, sponsored by The Cycle Inn):
1, Robin Seymour (Team WORC) 7 laps in 56 mins 56 secs
2, Roger Aiken (Banbridge CC) at 26 secs
3, Lewis Ferguson (Team BHB) at 30 secs
4, Niall Davis (IMBRC) at 31 secs
5, Philip Roche (Team WORC) at 2 mins 24 secs
6, James McCluskey (Team WORC) at 2 mins 37 secs
7, Peter McSorley (Apollo CT) at 3 mins 8 secs
8, Niall Delahaye (IMBRC) at 3 mins 9 secs
9, Aiden McDonald (Apollo CT) at 3 mins 36 secs
10, Joe McCall (Team WORC) at 3 mins 39 secs
11, Padraig Marey (Western Lakes CC) at 3 mins 49 secs
12, Don Travers (Banbridge CC) at 4 mins 53 secs
13, Stuart Galloway (Team WORC ) at 5 mins 1 sec
14, Conor Campbell (Newry Wheelers) at 5 mins 54 secs
15, Myles McCorry (Apollo CT) at 6 mins 50 secs
16, Darragh Mac Cauley (All Systems Dublin Wheelers) at 6 mins 51 secs
17, Niall Quinlan (Cycleways) at 6 mins 53 secs
18, Drew McKinley (Newry Wheelers) at 6 mins 54 secs
19, Evan Ryan (Team WORC) at 6 mins 55 secs
20, Brian Conway (IMBRC) at 7 mins 45 secs
21, Mark Kenny (Team WORC) at 7 mins 56 secs
22, Robert Moore (Stamullen M. Donnelly) at 8 mins 9 secs
23, Colm Bracken (Murphy Surveyors Kilcullen) at 8 mins 12 secs
24, Robbie Tobin (IMBRC) at 1 lap
25, Luke Manning (IMBRC) at 1 lap
26, Cormac Keogh (Murphy Surveyors Kilcullen) at 1 lap
27, Mark Driver (Bray Wheelers) at 1 lap
28, Barry Keogh (IMBRC) at 1 lap
29, Martin O Hagan (Newry Wheelers) at 1 lap
30, Gareth Maguire (IMBRC) at 1 lap
31, John Walker ( Murphy Surveyors Kilcullen) at 1 lap
32, Gordon Byrne (Team WORC) at 1 lap
33, Shane Baker ( Usher IRC) at 2 laps
34, Dave O Brien (IMBRC) at 2 laps
35 Andy Lahye (Apollo CT) at 2 laps
1, Robert Lamont (XMTB) 7 laps in 1 hour 7 secs
2, Peter McConville (Newry Wheelers) at 10 secs
3, Mick Jordan (IMBRC) at 39 secs
4, Francis Blake Dillon (Cycleways) at 1 lap
5, William Mulligan (Banbridge CC) at 1 lap
6, Brian Hammond (Usher IRC) at 1 lap
7, Les Walpole (IMBRC) at 1 lap
8, Fred MacSorley (Apollo) at 1 lap
9, Jon Runciman (Banbridge) at 1 lap
10, Maurice Mayne (Banbridge) at 2 laps
1, Tarja Owens (Team WORC) 59 mins 42 secs
1, Mark McKinley (Newry Wheelers) 45 mins 59 secs
2, Sean Downey (MAD) at 1 min 34 secs
3, Diarmuid Cronin (South Dublin CC) at 1 min 44 secs
MTB Support race:
1, Paul Anderson (Banbridge CC) 5 laps in 47 mins 42 secs
2, David Rawlins (South Dublin CC) at 49 secs
3, James Lattimore (South Dublin CC) at 1 min 51 secs
4, Rory Walsh (unattached) at 2 mins 3 secs
5, Colm Farrel (Navan Avonmore) at 5 mins 5 secs
Veteran: Eamon Newton (Usher IRC) 53 mins 21 secs
1, Sean Downey (Banbridge CC) 36 mins 35 secs
2, Liam McGreevy (Banbridge CC) at 4 secs
3, Mark Heneghan (Usher IRC) at 25 secs
4, Damien Gavan (Covey Wheelers) at 37 mins 14 secs
5, Aaron Buggle (Usher IRC)
6, Francis Newton (Usher IRC)
1, Harriet Mayne (Banbridge CC)
2, William Sheridan (unattached)
1, Michael Runciman (Banbridge CC)
2, Darragh Reid (Newbridge)
1, Rachel Mayne (Banbridge CC)
NATIONAL CYCLO-CROSS CHAMPIONSHIPS THIS WEEKEND (Jan 4)
This Sunday the Irish cyclo-cross season reaches its climax with the running of the national championships in Corcagh Park, beside the Naas Road in Clondalkin.
A large turnout is expected for the race, which takes place on what has been described as a fast, flowing course. Current Irish champion Roger Aiken (Banbridge CC) will be aiming to make it two in a row, while thirteen-times victor Robin Seymour will be trying to avenge his defeat last year. Both riders have been training hard to ensure that they are in peak condition for the race. Seymour appears to have had a better run of things, racing in Belgium to hone his form, while Aiken has been battling a virus and a chest infection. However the FBD Insurance Rás stage winner and national hillclimb champion is hoping to come good in time for this Sunday’s race.
Amongst the others to watch out for are 2005 bronze medallist Owen Jefferies (Dave Kane), current Ulster champion Andy Layhe (Apollo CC), Niall Davis (IMBRC), fellow U23 Philip Roche (Team-WORC), talented junior Alistair McSorley (Apollo CC) and the evergreen veteran Robert Lamont (XMTB).
In terms of the team prize, Seymour, Roche and David Gill of Team WORC took gold last time round and will be in the hunt again. On Sunday, they will square up against squads such as Apollo CC, IMBRC, Banbridge and Newry Wheelers in their bid to retain the title.
The main race starts at 1.30 pm. There will also be a support MTB event, beginning at noon.
Meanwhile, in a boost for the event, it has been announced that RTE will be filming the championship. The race will be broadcast on the OB Sport programme on January 20th.
Team WORC/Usher IRC presents:
2006 National Cyclo-Cross Championships
Location: Corcagh Park, Naas Road, Clondalkin, Dublin 22.
Date: Sunday 8th January 2006
Race start: MTB: 12pm, National Cyclo-Cross Championships: 1:30pm
Cats: Senior, Vets, Junior, Team, U/A, MTB
Sign on: 10:30am - 12pm
Entry: CX-€15, MTB-€10, Underage-€5
Entrance beside Camac Valley Caravan Park; use the new ‘Kingswood’ exit on the Naas Road.
Promoted by Team WORC/Usher IRC and supported by The Cycle Inn, Tallaght.
NATIONAL CYCLO CROSS CHAMPIONSHIPS: IMPORTANT INFORMATION
License Eligibility Criteria
The following criteria has been agreed by the CI board and will apply to riders wishing to ride the 2006 Cyclo Cross Championships on Sunday Jan 8th, 2006:
The following conditions apply:
1) Current Members – production of 2005 license will be necessary.
2) New members – you will be required to show a letter confirming application has been submitted to Cycling Ireland
3) Member moving club in 2006 – Production of last year’s license and clearance letter from previous club are needed.
* One-day licences can be used for the MTB support event.