Kellett is crowned Irish new champ

Kellett is crowned Irish new champ

25 July 2018

ON Sunday the very best of Irish MTB cross-country riders arrived at Castlewellan Forest Park to see who would take the national champions jerseys away for 2018.

As always there much debate about who would give Gareth McKee a run for his money in the Elite race.

Dromara CC would have great representation in several of the categories. The hosts for the day were Banbridge CC and normally in the report they would get the thanks at the end, but the Banbridge club had the course in perfect condition and Dromara CC would like to pass on our appreciation and thanks to the marshals and helpers who made the race as professional as ever.

The first race that would see the Dromara CC jersey in action was the U-16 boys with Ben Wilson putting his wheel on the start line.

Like all categories the talent is brimming and it was Darren Rafferty from Island Wheelers who made the break at the front to take the win. 

Behind him Ruairi Coghlan, Dean Harvey and Ben would battle it out for the podium places with the difference between all three never amounting to more than 20 seconds. With Ben closing in on the podium places the chequered flag would come down too soon as he would claim fourth place.

In the women’s race Wannita Broome put in a battling performance to claim fifth place in a very competitive field.

The M40 race would see Neil Armstrong, Paul Hamilton, Adi Booth and Richard Cowan take part in the most well represented category. The heat was certainly increasing and the race was very competittive with most of the riders racing for pride rather than the victory.

Adi Booth was the best of the Dromara contingent in 24th place with Richard Cowan just behind in 25th after a bit of extra running training on the last lap due to a mechanical. Neil Armstrong was 27th with Paul Hamilton, after a promising start, having to pull out with a mechanical.

The M50 race would see Robert Davison sneak back on to the MTB to put in a brave performance and claim seventh place.

The Elite category saw Graham Smyth taking to the start line in the most competitive field I have seen for some time. He produced a brilliant race in savage conditions to claim 14th place with Gareth McKee showing he is a class above claiming another National Championship.

The only race we have to talk about is the M30 category and our very own Barry Kellett, who lined up with his fancy new MTB shoes to see what he could do.

The temperature had really increased and the long climb at the start really hurt as the laps kept coming. In the early laps it was nip and tuck with the top 2 but when the elastic finally snapped Barry took the chequered flag to become the M30 Irish MTB XC national champion 2018. It has a nice ring to it.Next up is the real championship race with all the MTBers heding for one final race on Friday night to see who will be crowned Dromara CC MTB Club Champion. A few bikes will need patched up before then.