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OFF-ROAD EVENTS Last Updated: 6 Apr 2018 - 12:06:24 PM

By Andy Potts
17 Dec 2005,

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The Ulster Cyclo Cross season ended in superb fashion on Saturday with Roger Aiken (Banbridge CC) clinching yet another victory. His next outing will be the defence of his Irish Championship in Dublin on 8th January. The entire event proved an outstanding success for the promoters, Dromara Cycling Club, who are new members of Cycling Ireland this year. After much haggling with various authorities, Dromara CC only got the go ahead for the race last week. This was the first ever Open race to be staged by the County Down Club, but an excellent course was set out, and as for marshals, let's just say they could have taught some of the more established clubs a lesson or two.

The course was based at the Island Centre in Lisburn, which sits in the middle of the River Lagan. The course features include fast tow paths, stepped climbs, and a draggy grassy field, just to slow things down! Thirty-two riders signed on for the Senior race, held over ten laps.

The opening lap saw the usual suspects move to the front, Roger Aiken leading a train of riders comprising Andy Layhe and Alistair McSorley (both Apollo), Peter McConville (Newry Wheelers), Owen Jeffries (Dave Kane) and Philip Roche (Team Worc).

The race became a dual at the end of lap two, with Irish Champion Aiken and newly crowned Ulster Champion Layhe moving clear of the pack. McSorley led the charge for third from Jeffries, McConville and Roche, while the remainder of the top ten placings were an all-Southern battle involving Stuart Galloway (Team Worc), Evan Ryan (?), and the IMBRC pairing of John Oram and Dave O'Brien.

Ending the third lap, Aiken crashed on a slippery, grass covered downhill section. He remounted to find himself relegated to second behind Layhe. Jeffries was now on his own in third, while Roche and McConville fought for fourth. McSorley had dropping to sixth, followed by the big Southern battle, which by now had been joined by yet another 'Mexican', Francis Blake-Dillon (Cycleways). McSorley retired at the end of lap five, the Lurgan Junior having injured a knee following a trip over the bars.

On lap six Aiken retook the lead but the Dromore rider was still faced a strong challenge from Layhe. Jeffries was a safe bet for third as Roche and McConville continued their epic struggle for fourth. Evan Ryan had broken clear of the all-Southern battle, holding a good sixth, the battle behind him not epic, but bloody fantastic. Oram was frantically holding seventh from O'Brien, Blake-Dillon and Galloway.

As the sun eventually came out on a cool winters day, Aiken completed the race to win by 30 seconds from Layhe. It was an exceptional ride by both riders considering they both had colds. Jeffries, a late starter to the cyclo cross season due to studies, was third, and is a certain medal contender at the Irish Champs. The large gallery of spectators saw a brilliant sprint for fourth as Roche ran the final few metres to just pip McConville.

Ryan was fortunate to take sixth, crossing the line a mere second ahead of Galloway. He and Blake-Dillon had broken clear of the Southern battle on the closing lap, the Cycleways rider finishing eighth, and as the first Vet over the line. The dual for the final two top ten places was an all IMBRC affair. Reaching the top of the final set of steps, only 100m from the finish, Oram was just ahead, but as the pair charged over the bridge to the finish O'Brien chose to run. It turned out to be the better option. In spite of Oram making himself very wide, O'Brien just got the verdict on the line. Paul Anderson (Banbridge CC) was the best MTB finisher in 14th, while Graham Boyd made his debut in the main event to win the Junior award.

The Underage races did not receive much support. In the U-14 class Dromara CC rider Mathew Patterson had a good win over William Boyd (XMTB) and Harriet Mayne (Banbridge CC). Michael Runciman (Banbridge CC) took the U-12 race from Dromara's Ben McKelvey with Banbridge rider Rachel main taking the honours in the U-10 race.

Dromara CC Cyclo-Cross 17/12/05
10 lap race, Island Centre Lisburn

1 R.Aiken 53:17
2 A.Layhe 53:48
3 O.Jeffries 54:15
4 P.Roche 55:48
5 P.McConville 55:51
6 E.Ryan 58:47
7 S.Galloway 58:48
8 F.Blake-Dillon 59:05
9 D.O'Brien 59:24
10 J.Oram 59:25
11 K.Millar Plus 1 Lap
12 R.Smyth Plus 1 Lap
13 C.McGreevy Plus 1 Lap
14 P.Anderson MTB
15 J.Runciman Plus 1 Lap
16 G.Boyd MTB
17 F.McSorley Plus 1 Lap
18 I.Millar Plus 1 Lap
19 B.Caffrey Plus 2 laps
20 G.Gibson MTB
21 M.Mayne Plus 2 laps
22 T.Annett MTB
23 A.Ruck Plus 2 laps
24 W.Forsythe Plus 2 laps
25 S.Curry Plus 2 laps
26 C.Adams Plus 2 laps
27 N.Swann Plus 3 laps
28 S.Prentice MTB

Retirements On Lap
A.McSorley 5
L.McGreevy 2
B.Patterson 8
T.Haire 8

Under 14

Under 12

Under 10

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