Apollo start strong in 2016 off road season Apollo got the 2016 off road season off to a great start yesterday at Ormeau Park, with round 1 of the XMTB spring series. First race off was the U6 fun race, with Jack Nelson well up the field in 3rd or 4th with Aidan Smyth & Harry McAlinden finishing well middle of the field. In the U8 girls Aisling Smyth got out early to take a comfortable win, with Caitlin Hanna back in form taking 3rd. In the U8 boys Max Boyd finished strongly middle field & first time racer Daniel Mousley also giving it a good go! It was a nail biting finish for the U10 boys with Thomas McAlinden just getting pipped at the end to finish 3rd, with Jamie Boyd also doing well in that race. Then in the U12 girls Keela Smyth came in 4th with Erin Hanna & Kate McAlinden also giving it their all to finish well. Lauren Hanna was next up in the U14 girls tackling the tricky full adult course, with Oran McIntyre giving it a good go in the U16 boys to round up the youth entries.

The mens B & women’s race set off together with a good list of entries from Apollo, with Nicola Nelson, Sean Bingham, Brian McAlinden, Neil Ervine, Colin Boyd, Rory McIntyre & Robbie Smyth¬†tackling a challenging but fun course. Then last off on the day was Tony McConvile riding for team CRC.

Great days racing from all & some very welcome sunshine giving a feeling of spring finally in the air. All sights now set on our host race at Craigavon Lakes on 13 March ūüėä




Colin Ross Training Night

Apollo Rockets, the youth section of Apollo CT, recently attended the first of six training sessions with Colin Ross.  Colin is one of Irelands top mountain bike riders.  It was identified that training at Lurgan Park and Craigavon Lakes was not just enough for the Rockets.  As we all know, young people today want to push the boundaries, and we could think of no better person for the job.  The first session was held at Barnetts Demense Trails at the Mary Peters Track.  This being the place Colin taught himself at a young age to ride the natural Trails.  So great was the demand we have had to split the Rockets up  into two groups according to their age and ability.

Colin Ross


Lots of disciplines were covered, from position on the bike all the way to learning to control bike speed on very steep descents and then moving on to bunny hops over obstacles.  Also cornering at speed and change of direction on descents.  The session lasted for two hours and everyone came away with big grins on their faces as well as a few midge bites.


The next session is scheduled for the 22nd April.  If you are interested in cycling or have a child who is interested and would like to learn more.  Why not join come along to one of our beginner nights or bring your child to a Rockets Session.  They are free, all we ask is your child wears a helmet.



Oran McIntyreAidian Hegarty


Apollo teams up with Irish Champion MTB

Apollo have teamed up with Colin Ross for six training sessions.  Starting in April the first two sessions will be at Mary Peters.  This is an exciting opportunity for Apollo as our sponsorship deal, with Chain Reaction Cycles, gives us access to the Team Vitus rider.

Colin Ross 1

Colin¬†Ross (Rosco) is a¬†7 time national downhill mountainbike champion in Ireland and has also represented¬†Ireland at the world championships 6 times. ¬†Through his career in cycling he also worked as a fitness instructor at a local gym in Belfast and after working there for over 7 years he decided in 2009 to go out on his own and started up ‚ÄúRosco Lines‚ÄĚ.¬† The idea behind this was to setup a company that specifies in both mountainbike coaching and fitness training. So whether it‚Äôs XC, DH or just for fun and fitness we will have something to suit your needs.

Colin Ross 2

We have 10 places per session. These sessions are free and our open to all club members.  Although preference will be given to youth riders who compete in XC.  If you are interested please get in touch with Dylan.  The first dates are Wednesday 8th April and Wednesday 22nd April.


Colin Ross 3



Rockets Rock Rostrevor

It was the Rockets show on Sunday 8th March at Kilbroney. On what can only be described as the most challenging course the Rockets had ever tried, they proved that all the hard work and effort put in at training had paid off.  First off was the under 6, where Max Boyd came home in a fantastic 1st and a stunning ride from Jack Nelson brought him home in fith place. This set the trend for the next race which was the under 8, Caitlin Hanna came home in third place and in the boys race we had Jamie Boyd, Thomas Macalinden and Cathal Dorrian all placing in the top ten.

Caitlin Hanna 3rd Place

Caitlin Hanna 3rd Place

In the under 10 girls we had great racing from the girls with Keela Smyth in 5th, Niamh Nelson 7th, Bronagh Dorrian 8th and Erin Hanna 10th.  Under 12 girl Lauren Hanna was pipped to the top spot by only 3 seconds to take second place. Such was the pace of the top two, they managed to lap the rest of the field. Under 12 boys had Joel Bingham 8th and Finlay Murdoch 1oth.  Under 16 boys raced on the main circuit which was incredibly technical from start to finish, both Ethan and Teo battled hard and finished 6th and 8th respectively.

Ethan & Teo

Ethan & Teo

Finally we had the mens race. With Robbie Smyth, Gavin Hanna, Neil Irvine and Michael Nelson taking part in the Senior 4 Category. Tony McConville was in his new Team Vitus strip in Senior 3.  Neil Irvine had a mechanical which left him only completing one lap and Michael Nelson in true sportsman tradition DQ himself after realising that he had missed a section of the course. Gavin finished 12th and Robbie 19th and in Senior 3 Tony McConville came home in 10th.

Overall it was a good day for Apollo and everyone agreed that it was probably the toughest course they had raced so far.

Rockets continue this Saturday at Lurgan Park 10am and soon we will be starting back to Craigavon Lakes for adults, youth and rockets.


Apollo wins at Ormeau Park Spring Series

Apollo Rockets and Apollo Seniors took home a total of four podium prizes in the three race mountain bike series held in Ormeau Park recently.¬† In what can only be described as a ‘mud fest’ all riders, from under 6 up to senior, experienced some very tough conditions under their wheels.¬†Tyre pressures were checked and double checked to gain as much traction as possible.

Conditions were muddy!!

Conditions were muddy!!

Apollo had no fewer than 31 riders taking part over the 3 week series, with Peter Graham and Dylan Lyness making their debut into mountain bike racing. The highlight for the seniors was Michael Nelson taking his first ever win in week three and claiming the overall senior ‘B’ title.¬† There was a large crowd of supporters to cheer him home to the finish. Neil Ervine was 7th and Gavin Hanna 9th.¬† Senior ‘A’ had Tony McConville in 12th place.

Thomas Macalinden claimed 3rd Overall

Thomas Macalinden claimed 3rd Overall in Under 10 Boys

In the junior categories it was close racing between them all, but overall the team spirit and taking part was the main aim of the event.  In the under 16 boys, Jack Murdoch secured third overall with Teo Davidson and Oran McIntyre finishing 5th and 6th respectively.  The Under 12 Boys had Joel Bingham in 8th. Under 12 Girls had a podium with Lauren Hanna finishing 2nd Overall.  Under 10 Girls was the tightest racing of the series and Keela Smyth finished 4th, Niamh Nelson 5th, Erin Hanna 6th and Bronagh Dorrian 8th.  In the Under 10 boys we had another podium with Thomas Macalinden 3rd, Jamie Boyd 4th and Cathal Dorrian 10th.  Under 8 girls had Caitlin Hanna 5th, Aisling Smyth 8th and Chole Mccartan 11th.  Last but not least we had Max Boyd and Jack Nelson in the Under 6.

After the prize giving on the last Sunday there was a raffle and our own Robbie Smyth won the top prize of a brand new mountain bike. Its fair to say everyone had a great event and the sales in washing powder in the local area definitely increased to get all the mud out.

Photos courtesy of Toby Watson.

Robbie wins the raffle.

Robbie wins the raffle.





Apollo Rockets racing. 1st Round Ulster Cyclocross League


Tomorrow we hope to have as many Rockets as possible racing in the 1st round of the Ulster Cyclocross League.

15 so far have PRE REGISTERED, you can still enter on the day. This is amazing for us. I don’t think any other club in Ulster will have this sort of representation at youth level. Also 5 of us Senior riders will racing the MTB¬†
support race, myself included.

If we could dedicate our race tomorrow to Coach¬†Gavin¬†who sadly lost his father this week and won’t able to join us but we know he’s with us in spirit.Apollo Rockets tee

If you’re not registered with Cycling Ireland you can get a day license for ¬£5 which will see you through to the end of the year. You’ll have to pay the entry also for the race , which is only a couple of quid for the kids.

We’d also love for Rockets that aren’t racing to come down and show your colours and support. Hopefully you’ll be inspired to race soon.

I’ll be bringing down racing tops for the kids to show the colours in . Can I ask the parents to ensure the kids have their Apollo Rockets T-shirts on for the day.

I’ll be on site from 9A.M. to set up a gazebo for the Rockets and the senior Apollo riders with mechanics stand and Pete Graham will be on hand to service any bikes that need a bit of tinkering, tyres pumping up, basic stuff.

Our stand will be close to the Bowling / Tennis courts.

I’v also asked Mayor Colin McCusker to come down and say hi to the Rockets and Sean Duncan is coming down again to do more filming for a our wee promo film project.

The race schedule is as follows.

09:30 Sign on opens
10:30 Under 6 fun race
10:40 Under 8
10:50 Under 10
11:10 Under 12
11:30 Prize giving
11:45 Cyclo-cross females race
11:46 Cyclo-cross B’ race (males only)
11:48 Under 16, MTB support race, Under 14
13:00 Cyclo-cross A’ race
14:15 Prize giving

For more details on the event go here.

The weather for tomorrow gives it to be dry and fresh.

Apollo for the Nationals

image descriptionThis Sunday 5 Apollo riders head for Kilbroney and the Irish National Marathon Mountain Bike Championships.  The riders will race for gruelling 74 KM over some of the best trails in the country.  the lads will be racing for somewhere between 4 and 5 hours.  You can see from the attached profile its going to be tough and hopefully our riders will come home in one piece and maybe with a medal.

Good luck to Derek King, Keith Abraham, Tony McConville, Andy McGibbon and Campbell Armastrong and  UP APOLLO.