Ireland’s Enduro crazy mountain bikers descended upon Ballinastoe Mountain Bike Trails in County Wicklow last weekend for the second round of the Vitus Gravity Enduro Ireland Series. Given the fairly tale weekend that was the Emerald Enduro, Enduro World Series Round 2 the previous months, it’s no great surprise that the event filled up months in advance. The lucky 400 riders were treated to dry, dusty trails all weekend long with only the odd passing shower to keep the dust down. The total route distance was 28km with 1000 meters of climbing and 5 timed downhill stages, giving a racing time of 20 minutes for the fastest riders, more like 25 for mere mortals!
Of course the beauty of Enduro is in the format, easy on the way up and fast on the way down. Riders are not timed on the uphill liaison sections between the stages, giving time to catch up with friends and relive their last run! Once riders reach the top and catch their breath it’s down to the business end of the racing. The timed stages can be anything between 2 to 10 minutes of all out speed, power and amazing technical control on the steepest and most challenging terrain available. Enduro really is the perfect balance between a social mountain bike ride and a serious competition.
Riders are divided into categories based on their ages, with a separate category for women. There’s also the Pro Men category which isn’t limited by age but rather ability. It’s often said that a podium position at an Irish Gravity Enduro event is a really high achievement, especially given the recent dominance of the Irish riders on the International scene. Greg Callaghan is currently lying second overall in the World Series after a win at Round 2 and a third place finish in Round 3. In fact last weekends Gravity Enduro Ireland event clashed with the UEC European Enduro Championships, where Team Biking.ie rider Killian Callaghan finished in second place in the Junior category, an incredible achievement given his recent switch to the discipline.
This weekend we saw the return to racing of Dan Wolfe following a nasty elbow injury just before the Emerald Enduro earlier in May. True to his reputation, Dan posted the fastest time of the day ahead of fellow Vitus Team rider Colin Ross. Third place went to another Vitus rider, Team Biking.ie’s Piaras Griffin.
A clean sweep for series sponsors Vitus Bikes, Brand Manager Simon Cordner said, “This is a massive day for everyone on the Vitus team and we’re delighted for all our riders and the crew behind this. Race results don’t lie and we are very proud to have the fastest bike on the weekend”.
Leah Maunsell did just about enough to win the womens category despite a disastrous stage 4. Second place went to Orla Mc Clean followed closely by Shona D’Arcy one minute back.
The 14 to 18 class was won convincingly by David Conroy, who’s time would place him 9th overall on the day. Rory O’Kelly and Peter Davison finished second and third respectively. The 19 to 29 class was a much closer battle with Biking.ie’s own Garreth Davis pipping Scott Wallace to first place by just over one second. Stephen McCormack rounded out the podium in third place. Local man Howie Miller posted the fastest time in the 30 to 34 class and 8th overall on the day. Surely a statement that he is looking to make the move to Pro Men next season. Some 26 seconds a drift was Colm Bradley followed by Damien Daly.
Jamie Whelan made it two wins from two races in the 35 to 39 class with a 10 second gap back to Sean Herlihy and Andy Yoong. Hugh Arthur took the win in the 40 to 49 class and like Whelan is unbeaten so far this season. Second place was taken by mister consistent Joules Dormer and third went to Ken Somerville. The 50 plus class was a clear cut affair with Gary Ennis some 30 seconds ahead of Richie Byrne and Aidan Barry.
The next round of the series heads to the mountain biking mecca that is Djouce Woods on the 25th and 26th of July. For more information in the series visit www.gravityenduro.ie.