THE eyes of Ulster’s cycling fraternity were firmly focused on Fintona and the Ecclesville Demesne on Sunday as Omagh Wheelers hosted its first ever Cyclocross event, which was the last race before the National Championships this coming weekend.
The demesne didn’t disappoint and delivered high quality racing on what most described as a superb circuit, with the nearby Ecclesville Centre providing the perfect base for a great day’s cycling.
Racing commenced at 10am with some hotly contested youth racing. Local clubs, Omagh Wheelers, Termon Wheelers and Team Caldwell Cycles, all had members participating.
First away were the youth races with races from U6 to U12 level on specially designed courses. The U14s, U16s and ladies were next away with the B race and A races following.
The races took competitors through the park, up into the forest and then down around the equestrian bank where racers tackled a really tricky technical section which provided spills aplenty for interested spectators.
Local riders didn’t disappoint with a number of podium finishes.
First up on the podium was Omagh Wheelers young gun Joe Owens, who took a fantastic second in the U16 boys’ race behind one of the stars of the future Darren Rafferty from Island Wheelers.
Another local youngster, Rachel McBride was next to make her mark, recording a fine fifth in the ladies race and making the podium as best unplaced junior.
Joe and Rachel are products of the fantastic Omagh Wheelers CX coaching program being delivered by Olly Logan every Saturday at the Ecclesville Demesne.
In the mountainbike support race, the impressive Stephen Daly led home a Termon Wheelers 1-2 with club Mate Kieran Donnelly chasing him all the way.
In the big race of the day, national champion Darnell Moore, from Caldwell Cycles, didn’t disappoint the local fans with a super ride to finish just behind David Montgomery.
The pair provided the impressive crowd with a real spectacle, pulling away fromthe other main protagonists and going toe-to-toe until ‘Monty’ surged clear on the last lap.
Host club Omagh Wheelers were delighted with both venue and event.