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2014 Irish Downhill National Championships Report

‘If Carlsberg did Irish Championships’ This was the quote of the weekend and that pretty much sums up the whole event. Even with the thrills, spills, knocks and bangs of racing there was not one person went home without a smile on their face.

When something needs done it must be done 100% is the philosophy taken by the organisers of the biggest event on the Irish downhill calendar. Chain Reaction Cycles club, the Newry & Mourne District Council and First tracks MTB teamed up to deliver what is arguably the best downhill race this country has seen to date. 200 riders and copious amounts of spectators took to the slopes of Slievebane in Rostrevor during the weekend of the 19/20th July and boy they did not disappoint. With all the talk in the pits about a challenging track, riders were keen to get practicing on Saturday morning. Steve Bell and Deejay O’Hare went into ‘rider down’ overdrive as riders tried to pick their way down the fresh loamy steep turns. By lunch time most people got to grips with things, lines got dialled in and the pace was getting faster.

On Sunday morning riders made the most of the 2hr practice window to put the finishing touches on their runs. At 11am sharp the race kicked things off with the seeding runs, this is always a good gauge for how much riders need to push for the final run. Tension was mounting in Rostrevor Forest as riders made their way to the top for a 2pm start. As the first riders dropped in the noise of the Nukeproof cowbells could be heard rattling through the valleys encouraging riders to push things right to the limit! Riders that purchased day licences and riders with full licences competed in the open race while riders with a full Irish licence had the opportunity for a placing in the Irish National Downhill Championships.

Open Irish Championships:

The young guns in the juvenile category were going at it with local ripper Ben Clerkin missing out on a podium spot by one position. All the practice before the event paid off for Joseph O’Boyle in 3rd place. While Liam Wolfe snapped at the heels of Ronan Gahan in first position.

Run times in the youth race would have placed the winner Jack Crowley in 6th place in elites. This shows us the depth of talent we have here on our island. Fresh back from his BDS campaign Conor Bate crashed his way into 2nd place with a big off on the last jump. Another impressive result was Alistair Baron in 3rd on a borrowed bike at his first downhill race, great skills so watch this space. In 4th place and certainly worth a mention was Jack Devlin. Tipped to be a star of the future Jack fell out with a tree during a massive crash on Saturday and was lucky even to be riding a bike.

With a  category full of rockstars the super vets blasted their way down the track with times that would put many a young fellow to shame. Joe Bergin set the early pace with Derek Cowan in 4th. The top 3 consisted of Tony Marshal, Brendan McEneaney and Brian McCluskey at the top of the box.

The men with all the experience in the veteran category have had many a battle over the years through different categories. Being super competitive nothing beats a mid life crisis more than the bragging rights of winning the biggest race of the year. Stephen Davidson got there early on Friday for a track walk and all his efforts got rewarded with a 3rd place. Chatty man and fastest qualifier Joe Ward ended up with 2nd while the ever slimming racing snake Ian McIntyre put a stormer together for the win.

One of the closest fought battles for a podium position was in the sport category with only 4.5secs separating the top 3 positions. It was anybodys race but Martin Mullan left with the bronze medal. Dublin man Sean Glynn knocked 15secs of his seeding run time for silver. The gold medal was awarded to a hard working Victor Bell. These boys have all earned the right to move up categories next year.

The senior category has always got a bunch of lads that spend more time building sand castles on Cranfield beach so next year the elite field should grow an inch or two!! The top 11 riders all sneaked under the 3 minute mark but with some crashing during final runs the top 3 looked like this. Back on form after a nasty knee injury Kyle Nelson scored a podium spot. Kevin Coughlan put 2 consistent runs together for a 2nd place. Top step went to the Newry’s newest recruit Laurence Farrington.

The ladies had some serious racing going on over the weekend with nerves getting the better of some riders. It was a steep learning curve on a steep track but there is nothing like a good race to gain some experience. Rosella Pellegrino crashed hard on the top section but soon got up and going again. Rostrevor local Chloe Cumming racked up some big crashes during practice and seeding but got it together for the final and put down a smooth run for 4th. Enduro specialist Orla McClean kept it tidy for 3rd. Sacha Bickerstaff had some big crashes over the weekend that would have stopped many a good rider. A steady run got her a silver medal. Tara O’Boyle had a great weekend, she looked fast and confident every step of the way and got rewarded with a well deserved gold medal. Something tells me there will be some close racing with this lot in the future. Keep having fun girls!!

The ‘getting on a bit’ but ‘still acting the young fella’ lads in the Masters category love putting on a show. These lads do not hang about and competing in the biggest category a sketchy run could quickly drop you down the ranks. A fully loaded field that would have made up a typical elite category not so long ago this is how the top 3 panned out. Relatively new to downhill with a background in moto x and enduro Ian Coates styled it up with a 3rd place. Dave Egan has a wealth of experience and always applies the pressure whether its enduro or downhill, this time a silver medal was hanging around his neck for all his efforts. Top of the box and a very tired Glyn O’Brien was as equally pumped with a gold medal as he was to see everyone leave after the event with a huge smile!

An unusually small junior field did not hold these lads back from embarrassing most of the elite riders. Made of rubber and coming out of the gate guns blazing is just how these lads roll!! Brian Mackin just pipped Dan Priestley into 3rd place. Matthew McGlinchey bounced his short travel machine down the hill into 2nd. The biggest winning margin of the weekend by 21.352 seconds!! was Jacob Dickson. In the thick of his World Cup campaign he was always going to be the man to beat especially with a goal to be fastest rider of the weekend. He didnt quite achieve this but there is plenty more to come from the “Ginga Rippa”!!

The fastest lads in the country always hang it out and are never happy unless they are winning. This always makes for exciting racing and great spectating. If you were standing anywhere on the track or at Hecklers Rock the tension in the air made the ground shake. Rider after rider stormed through with a glimmer of hope in their eyes but there is always just one winner. The rest of the guys just have to go back to the drawing board and dream up some excuse! In 5th place Jack Sparrow’s stunt double Seanan O’Riordan impressed all the ladies on his way to 5th. British mini bike champ, enduro extraordinaire and i-phone stopwatch silver medallist James McFerran won practice and landed himself with a 4th place overall. Slick pilot Stephen McCormack threatened the fastest time of the day after 2 consistent fast runs and rode away with a bronze medal. Fastest qualifier and all around nice guy Christopher McGlinchey pulled the fun bus in from a very busy season to stamp some authority on the biggest race of the year but came away with a silver medal. After a shaky start to his weekend Colin Ross put it all together when it counted. Under a lot of pressure he recorded the fastest time of the weekend and won the Irish Downhill National jersey.  You could tell from the relief and smile on his face he wanted this one and rode like it was ‘All or Nothing!’

A huge thanks to all our sponsors, without you we could not have done it. Chain Reaction Cycles, Nukeproof, FirstTracksMTB.com, Think Studio, Acti-snack, Muc off, East Coast Adventure, Amphibia, Erdinger, Fit Chef…Cheers guys!! Also hats off to everyone who helped with making an event that will go down in history for gravity racing in Ireland. Newry & Mourne District Council, Chain Reaction Cycles club, FirstTracksMTB.com, Mountainbike N.I., St John’s ambulance, Cycling Ireland, the trail grafters (way to many too mention but what a job!!), all the marshals (we keep going back to the same guys each time because they do a heck of a job!) Kev Ryan, Peter Hughes and a special mention to the one armed bandit Cato McCann for all her hard work in the lead up to/ during and after the event!!

To see the full Irish National Downhill Championships results visit http://crcidms.com/?p=732

Juvenile 1st Ronan Gahan – Gravity BC 2nd Liam Wolfe – Gravity BC 3rd Joseph O’Boyle – Team Moco
Youth 1st  Jack Crowley – 021 racing 2nd Conor Bate – Team Moco 3rd Jack Devlin – Team Moco
Veteran 1st Ian McIntyre – Chain Reaction Cycles 2nd Joe Ward – Potato Bred 3rd Stephen Davidson – Plush MTB
Junior Women 1st Sacha Bickerstaff – Vitus Factory Racing Senior Women 1st  Tara O’Boyle – Team Moco
Masters 1st Glyn O’Brien – FirstTracksMTB.com Nukeproof 2nd Dave Egan - 3rd Ian Coates – Cycle Inn
Junior Men 1st Jacob Dickson 2nd  Matthew McGlinchey 3rd Brian Macklin
Elite 1st Colin Ross – Vitus Factory Racing 2nd Christopher McGlinchey – Chain Reaction Cycles 3rd Stephen McCormack – Gravity BC

Check out Flexo Media’s Page Facebook.com/FlexoMedia.ie and Dermott Sweeney Photos on Facebook and keep your eyes on crcidms.com for all the info on the next round in Bree, Co. Wexford on Aug 16th & 17th.

DH champs 2013

Well after the Original date for the national champs in Clonmel got postponed in July no one thought the replacement date and venue of Fairymount in August would serve up such a treat, a track full of roots and rocks to catch even the best riders, proper DUSTY berms in Ireland in October!!! Most riders took most of Saturday to get the heads around that but once they did the grins from ear to ear from every rider crossing the finish were clear to see.

 

Steve Mac hitting the root drop in Style

Steve Mac hitting the root drop in Style

The track started off with a short sprint to get up to speed off a small drop then into a table top/gap into berm which gave 3 lines to hit, left tight against the tape, middle over the gap jump or right over the tabletop which made the loose berm after it interesting, get through that and into a set of rough switchbacks get through them and into a fast chute into a HUGE bike park berm back into a fast travers, cut off the old track which was very tight and into the new section of track built for the champs, go high or low or straight over the big root and up on the high line to setup for the steep DUSTY berm into a set of off camber rollers and roots, down a tricky right left section and down a  steep Rooty corner which brought you onto the old track we all know well with a few small tweaks to send you off a few jumps that would otherwise not be hit

Finish off on the usual fast straight into the Rooty drop into the finish field. Times were very tight with an average rider getting down in 1.40-50ish and 1.30 for the elites

Fairymount Followcam

Into the racing and we started off with the Juvenile class where Kyle O’Carroll took 3rd place behind Olly Cornforth but it was Connor Bate taking the win and the 12th fastest time of the day with a 1.34

 

In the youth’s it was Rory O’Kelly taking 3rd place with Luke Hanna taking 2nd place behind Jack Crowley taking the win by under a second.

Jack Crowley champs field jump

Jack Crowley champs field jump

In the women’s it was Kate Rudd taking yet ANOTHER National champs medal  taking 3rd place behind Michelle Muldoon and it was Silvia Gallagher taking the win to add to her BMX title!

Into the super vets and it was Tony Marshall taking 3rd place behind Joe Bergin but the win by 1.6seconds was Brian McClusky.

In the Vets it was Kevin Dalton taking 3rd place just behind Paul McCarthy but it was Ian McIntyre taking another win on his Prototype Vitus DH bike.

Ian Mac in the Dust bowl Berm

Ian Mac in the Dust bowl Berm

Into the master and this was a Very tight race at the top where

Barry Langrell came down with a 1.37.9, next rider down was Michael Cowan with a 1.37.7, Steve Jamison was next with a 1.35.9 quickly followed by Dale McMullen with a 1.35.5 who only had 30 seconds before Damien “princess” Daly came down in last year’s masters champ jersey with a 1.34.6 to take the title once again.

Damo Daly dropping into the finish field

Damo Daly dropping into the finish field

Next up was sports where Alex “sandbagger” Nowotynski took 3rd place just .3 behind 2nd place man Agris Kramins but it was Joseph Lysaght taking the win on the day, see ye in seniors next year lads.

Speaking of seniors it was Gary Crean taking 3rd place just behind Michael Lee both of them on 1.35’s but it was Jonathan Mansuell Taking the win with a 1.34.8 on his Kona enduro bike Power wheeling over the off camber bit in the middle !

John Maunsell railing the sleeper berm

John Maunsell railing the sleeper berm

Into the Juniors where the talk was of Jacob Dickson taking the jump up from youths and Steve mac dropping down from Elites to make things more interesting for the usual suspects. The catch was a few of the fast lads were on day licences so missed out on a medal…. Speaking of which the top 5 was Alan Connolly in fifth, just behind Jacob Dickson with Ben Irwin taking 3rd on the day BUT with no licence gets no medal. Thomas McCoy finished in 2nd but it was Steve McCormack taking the win.

Steve McCormack sleeper berm

Steve McCormack sleeper berm

Into the fast lads in Elites and we had the comeback of a bunch of riders we haven’t seen all year to spice things up with the top 5 separated by just 1 second! In 5th was Seanan O’Riordan, 4th went to Dan Wolfe and it was Dan Sheridan in 3rd and his team mate on the CRC Nukeproof Ireland team Christopher McGlinchy in 2nd place behind  Colin “Rosco” Ross on his Prototype Vitus sled by just .3 of a second!

elite Podium

elite Podium

As for the craic and Scandal, how good was it not having all the gear destroyed from mud after the weekend in Dust! What’s the record for practice runs on Sunday morning, heard Alan Alying got 5 in, such was the standard of the uplifts. How much of a slagging did Tynski get for still wearing lycra for the weekend and getting the special prize on the podium for sandbagging!

 

CRCiDMS ¦ Round Two ¦ Race Report

The second round of the Chain Reaction Cycles was held as Part of the First annual Mountain bike Festival on one of the new purpose built Downhill trails which form the part of the Million Pound Plus Trail Center up in Rostrevor. The trail called “on the Pulse” has a destinctly Man made and Rocky feel to it with a lot of tight technical corners a few drops and possible doubles here and there and was a proper test of fitness, Skill and Precision But took no Prisioners if you got it wrong.

one major bonus of this was it shouldn’t be affected by rain but as its still a new trail there was a Lot of greasy Mud dragged onto the rocks to make things interesting, especially when running high pressures on your tires to avoid punctures, come race time the track had dried out quite a lot and the times improve all across the board from the seeding times.

Ollie Styling his way to the Juvenile Win. Photo: Martin Crowley

Ollie Styling his way to the Juvenile Win. Photo: Martin Crowley

now for the racing and in the Juvenile class it was Round one winner Connor Bate taking 3rd Place, Kyle O’Carroll taking second but it was Ollie Cornforth taking the win by 11seconds with a time of 3.14.

Jacob Dickson was flying all weekend Photo: Martin Crowley

Jacob Dickson was flying all weekend Photo: Martin Crowley

next up was the Youth Class which was back to the usual trio of Jacob Dickson, Luke Cornforth and Ben Kennedy at the top this time it was Luke taking 3rd, Ben 2nd and Jacob Taking the win and the Third Fastest Time of the day of 2.53.

Silvia Gallagher on her way to 2nd place, Photo: Martin Crowley

Silvia Gallagher on her way to 2nd place, Photo: Martin Crowley

next up was the Women’s class which had its Biggest Turnout of the year, results wise it was Round one winner Tara O’Boyle taking 3rd place, Silvia Gallagher 2nd but it was Natalie Jedda taking the win.

Next up was the Super Vets where Chain reaction Cycles Derek Cowan taking 3rd, Team Ballyhoura’s Joe Bergin taking 2nd place but it was Victor McMinn taking the win.

Joe Ward on one of the Rock Garden. Photo: Martin Crowley

Joe Ward on one of the Rock Garden. Photo: Martin Crowley

in the Vets it was Steve Davidson Taking 3rd Place with Gary Williams taking 2nd behind the one and only Joe Ward

after them came the Masters Class where it was Last years IDMS overall winner Nathan Hogg taking 3rd Place, Steve Beattie came, saw and took a decent 2nd place but it was Andy (Honcho) Young taking the win with the 4th fastest time of the Day.

in the Sports Class it was Mark Morris of Bree racing taking 3rd Place, second went to Steve Kelly and the win went to Keelim Ryan.

Lawrence Farrington on the way to the Senior WinPhoto: Martin Crowley

Lawrence Farrington on the way to the Senior Win
Photo: Martin Crowley

in the Seniors it was Gary Crean taking 3rd Place with Bobby St Ledger taking 2nd place. in the end it was Lawrence Farrington taking the win by .85of a second with a time of 3.09.7.

Alan Connolly on his way to taking the Junior Win.Photo: Martin Crowley

Alan Connolly on his way to taking the Junior Win.
Photo: Martin Crowley

up next was the Junior class which had one hell of a finish to it when Stave McCormack came down with a 3.09.9. next up Green Bikes Tommy McCoy crossing the line with a  3.09.8 but it was round one winner Alan Connolly taking the win with a 3.09.3 to make it 2 wins from 2.

Kipper on his way to the fastest time of the day, Photo: Martin Crowley

Kipper on his way to the fastest time of the day, Photo: Martin Crowley

up last was the Elites class where Rob Davis took 3rd Place, 2nd place went to Colin “Roscolines” Ross with a 2.52.7 but it was Christopher McGlinchy taking the win with a time of 2.51.2

now for the craic, how great was it to see all types of Mountain Bikers Mingle in the pits with the DH race the Ulster cross country round and the Enduro crew all practicing and racing together over the weekend including Ronan Hopkins and Craig Rea who did all 3 races!!! yes a DH and XC race on the sunday and the Enduro on Monday, Fair Play to ye lads. how much fun did the other Jumpy track look and how many sneaky runs were done down it from the Downhill Uplift which ran like clockwork. how much noise did the spectators make at Hecklers/Tinkers rock. speaking of which here’s Ronan hitting the Rock Hoppo on Tinkers Rock!