PRESS RELEASE from the crew at First Tracks:
Wow, where did the time go since racing in Castlewellan? With all the positive feedback from Round 1 it was full steam ahead for the whole team.
The location this time threatened to give Castlewellan a good run for its money – Narrow Water Castle and Bigwood forest, a marriage made in heaven (that’s certainly what the lads from around Newry and Warrenpoint would say). Turn left just off the dual carriageway before the roundabout into Warrenpoint, follow the drive and you are greeted with the spectacular view of the private residence of the Hall family since 1670. The main castle is a Tudor-Revival mansion built around 1836. Who said mountain bikers knew nothing about history…
Just like Castlewellan, a lot of hard graft by many different hands had gone into repairing old and building new trails in preparation for the weekend of the 9th/10th of May. The hope was that the weather would be on our side and play a nice game.
And so Saturday morning arrived and the race village, in the privileged position on front of the main castle, was already alive with the buzz of the mountain biking community.
The First Tracks team worked hard and got all the riders registered and swiftly on their way. The forest was hiving and the craic was mighty. The trails were a little soggy in places but with the amount of rainfall during the week they were holding out pretty good.
The entertainment on Saturday night was a movie night in Narrow Water Castle Basement. The talent, skill and dedication to the art of mountain biking was evident from all the movies on display and impressed the many people who showed up to see some quality moves put down. Fair play to all who made the effort and Seamie Rafferty for all his hard work.
Sunday and we were onto race day. There had been some rain the night before, I know as I heard it patter off the top of the First Tracks wagon as I tried to sleep. The race village got very busy very quickly as all the keen racers turned up, those who had drove from far away and those hardy souls who had camped. There was a great turn out with top class riders like Greg Callaghan (Cube Action Team), Dan Wolfe (Vitus Factory Team), Colin Ross (Vitus Factory Team) and of course the Vitus First Tracks MTB Race Division, Glyn O’Brien, James Mac Ferran and Alistair Baron.
When all racers had their timing chips sorted and away the First Tracks crew headed out to see for ourselves what all the positive chat coming back from the riders all weekend was about. Bigwood never fails to put a smile on your face and this time was no different, even with 300+ riders through before us the trails had held out surprisingly well and once again my highly classified and very effective dance to the rain gods worked a treat and it remained dry for all 6 stages.
However, the rain eventually caught up with us for the podiums but there was still a good crew of motivated souls waiting to see who placed where, with Erdinger and Acti-snack on hand to replenish all. See you all in Rostrevor for round 3 on the 4th/5th of July. The final results as follows:
Big congrats to the Vitus First Tracks Race Division riders:
Glyn O’Brien 1st Masters B
Alistair Baron 2st Junior Men
James Mac Ferran 7th Pro Men
The winners were: Hard tail Men, William Houston (Boyce precision engineering) Junior Men, Killian Callahan (Team Biking.ie) Masters A Men, Colm Bradley. Masters B Men, Glyn O’Brien (Vitus First Tracks Race Division) Senior Men, Paul Caldwell (IMBRC) Veteran Men, Daragh Smith (Giant Club Dublin) Super Vet Men, Stephen Best. Women, Maeve Baxter (Zero Gravity Racing).
PRO Men, 1st Greg Callaghan (Cube Action Team), 2nd Colin Ross (Vitus Factory Team), 3rd Dan Wolfe (Vitus Factory Team).
Many Thanks to all our marshals, the riders for coming along, Marcus Hall and all our sponsors – Vitus Bikes, Acti-Snack, Erdinger, Advantage Control, Dennis Wilson of Glenavy, Point 1 Athletic Development, East Coast Adventure, Think Studio, My Life bathrooms, Grrana Energy, Biostore.ie, Rapid Racer Products and FirstTracksMTB.com!