Cyclo-cross was back with a bang over the weekend as Round One of the Cyclo-cross National Series saw some of the best riders in Ireland do battle at Falls Park, Belfast on Sunday, September 17th.
VC Glendale hosted a fantastic opening round, with an exciting track and muddy conditions providing some great racing across all categories – setting the tone for what’s sure to be yet another thrilling Cyclo-cross season.
The Falls Park course’s design was among the highlights of the round, with the annual club event in the heart of the city attracting huge interest from the local community. With Belfast City Council’s support in the course design, a professionally built bridge, steps and sand sections, and a technical course design saw riders tested to the limit in a course standard that sets the benchmark for the Cyclo-cross season. Organisers worked tirelessly from early on Sunday morning to construct the purpose built course ahead of racing.
Darnell Moore and Aliyah Rafferty were the stars of the show at Falls Park, taking big victories in the senior and women’s races respectively, after some fine battles in a high quality field.
Spectators were treated to a brilliant battle between Moore and Travis Harkness in the senior race, Moore ultimately pulled out a gap in the latter laps to take the win.
In an impressive women’s field, Stephanie Roche, Darcey Harkness and Caoimhe May all impressed, but it was junior rider Aliyah Rafferty who proved strongest to take the win, impressing many in the process.
Conor Murphy picked up where he left off last season with a dominant win in the junior men’s race while the ever-competitive masters fields saw victories for Marcus Flavin in the M40 category, PJ Hynes edged out a close M50 race while the M60 category saw Johnny McCabe take a resounding win.
James Armstrong and Emer Heverin took wins in the U16 boys and girls categories respectively, while Josh McClune and Aoife Craig were the strongest out of the U14 boys and girls.
VC Glendale also hosted races across a host of other categories, including a beginners’ B race and U6 all the way to U12 races in an enjoyable day for all the family.
Full results from round one of the 2023/24 Cyclo-cross National Series are available here.