The 5th and final round of the XC Championships took place on Sunday at Craigavon Lakes. The Maryland had a strong contigent of 9 riders racing in various categories. Team support on the day was strong and the Maryland were looking real professional with the team base being David McKee's state of the art camper. Morale was high in the camp largely due to the enthusiasm instilled through team manager Colin McKee. Colin has worked hard this season to get more people racing. At the start of the year there was a mere 3 competitors compared to the strong 9 man team there on Sunday. 

First off was young Curtis McKee in the under 8 category. Curtis (aged 6) had been moved up to the under 8 category as his own was too easy. Curtis produced another cracking performance holding his own in second place for the first half of the race. Unfortunately, he then hit the wall but battled on to secure 6th place. 

Young Campbell (Chris Stewart) was making his debut for the team racing in the under 12 category. He got off to a flying start and was able to dig deep to pull a 9th place finish out of the bag which is a cracking result considering his competitors had been racing all season and this was only his first turn out. 

Team manager Colin McKee was hoping for a strong showing from his team and himself in the S4 category as Maryland had 4 competitors hoping to do well. Jonny McRoberts came storming out of the blocks leading the race until disaster struck and he got a puncture. Unfortunately it was on the opposite side of the lake from the team support so that was his race finished. Stuart Suckling was the highest placed Marylander in the category finishing in 10th place. Stuart had dug deep and was lying 7th until the final lap when he hit the wall. This was another great result as Stuart had not been doing a great amount of training in the lead up to the race. Colin and debutant Josh Murray battled it out further down the leaderboard and were pretty much neck and neck for the duration of the race until Josh attacked on the flat and put 30 seconds in to Colin. Colin was reeling Josh in but it was too little too late as Josh finished in 23rd and Colin in 25th. The wrong choice of tyres could have been an indicator as to why Colin didn't go as well as he would have hoped. 

The star of the team David McKee was out in the s3 category. David had already consolidated 3rd place in the championship so was looking to finish the season on a high. David came up against a strong Island Wheelers duo on the day and it was just too much for him on the day. David stuck with them for most of the race but because they were able to work together David was unable to beat them and finished 3rd on the podium. Campbell Stewart was also making his mountain biking debut. It must be admitted that it was a misjudgment by team manager Colin to put Campbell in to s3 as he was only able to last one lap because of the ferocious pace set by the rest of the competitors. 

All in all it was a good day for the Maryland and team manager Colin is said to be very pleased with the efforts of his team and is optimistic for the future. 

The team wishes to thank those who turned up on the day to support! 


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