Bann double at the Irish Cross Country Champs

James Curry and Gareth McKee were Banbridge brothers in arms at the recent Irish Championships.
James Curry and Gareth McKee were Banbridge brothers in arms at the recent Irish Championships.

There was a Bann double at the recent Irish National Cross Country Championships.

Gareth McKee defended his title as the Irish Elite Champion while James Curry made a very successful step up to Under 23 level. Not only did he claim the top under 23 title, he also finished second overall in the combined Elite / Under 23 race, always staying hot on the heels of his Banbridge CC mate.

The pair were buoyed by their recent trip to the World Championships in the Czech Republic.

Gareth, the reigning Irish Elite Champion, started the event as firm favourite and lived up to expectations by taking the lead from the start. Curry stayed close to teammate McKee’s wheel and the Banbridge duo quickly gained a healthy advantage over the rest of the field.

McKee turned up the pace on the final lap to cross the line solo and claim his second Irish Elite MTB XC title in as many years, followed home by Curry.

John Buller was also in great form in the Junior race, sprinting for the silver medal at the finish.

Unfortunately he had some misfortune with his foot coming loose in his pedal during the sprint and he had to be satisfied with a still impressive bronze in his first year in the category.