This year the Irish winter series has been moved south from its traditional home up north with new venues added but it still gives new riders a taste of Downhill racing without the pressure of the full iDMS experience and for the seasoned riders, it serves as a way to show who has been putting in the hours over the off season and who has been putting in the pies.
With the first race of the two race series held last Sunday, at a new venue on the race calender and one we will be returning to on a regular basis, Fairymount Farm just outside Roscrea, the track DH2 has been in action since last summer and has had a LOT of weather proofing over the winter in preparation which, given the wet weather, ended up with a hardpack base covered by a nice layer of greasy mud which on race day was drying and getting tackier by the minute, on any small hill there was always going to be a lot of pedaling to be done to get a good time, the Key was quite simply rail the berms, keep it smooth and sprint out of everything resulting in a lot of tired looking bodies crossing the Finish line.
To the racing! It was the Juveniles off first. Gerard Walshe taking 3rd behind the youngest of the Cornforth clan, Ollie Cornforth, bagging himself a good 2nd place, but the race win went to a flying Conor Bate.
Next up was the Youth class, which had a strange look to it with Jacob Dickson a no show and Luke Cornforth off form only getting himself a 4th place, 3rd went to Luc Hannnah, 2nd to Daniel Priestly and the win by a good margin to the tank that is Ben Kennedy on his Nukeproof Mega, which was notably the only class to have an Enduro bike win despite the speculation they might be faster.
In the Super Vets it was Tony marshal taking 2nd with Ballyhoura MTB’s Joe Bergin taking his First win.The Vets saw Cregor himself, Craig Elliot taking 3rd, the track builder and Organiser in Cheif Gerry Grimes took time out to get a race run in and bagged himself a 2nd place with the flying Welshman Gary Williams taking the win.
Onto the new lads in Sports it was Michael Ryan in 3rd, Barry Travers 2nd and Rob Quinn taking the win and promoting himself to the Senior Class in the Process.
Speaking of seniors it was Shane Doolin taking 3rd, Bree MTB’s Bobby St Ledger 2nd and Colin O’Leary taking the spoils
The Masters was to be a case of rebel domination with the Big Man, Richard Thornhill taking 3rd place, his 021racing teammate Wesley O’Connor in 2nd and Rory O’Keefe taking the win, showing last year’s efforts in running the series hasn’t slowed him down, to make it a 021racing podium.
In the juniors it was Green Bikes, Tommy McCoy taking 3rd, last year revelation Stephen McCormack taking 2nd on is small bike and Ben Irwin taking the win on his V10 in style
As for the big boys in Elites. It was tight at the top with 3 riders on the same second, Dan Sheridan was the loser in that battle, being pushed into 4th place and only losing out by .5 of a second from Gavin Kelly in 3rd and Rob Davis in 2nd and the win goingt to Christopher Kipper McGlinchy on his Nueproof Scalp but just .6 of a second ahead. So the top 4 riders were within 1.2 seconds, a sign of some good racing to come we hope.
The quotes and craic winner, for me had to be “There Still Coming” from the staff in the fast food restaurant in Roscrea with a room full of Downhillers and more still arriving, the chant of “Ricardo, Ricardo” had me puzzled as well, how scary are the beeps at the start line, always gets you no matter how long your racing, how annoying was it for the 2 Youth riders who got no seeding run because they didn’t have the full body armor on. Who said the Enduro Bikes were faster up there? It’s not the biggest of hills but as the results showed you’re still faster on a Proper Downhill bike, even more so on the rougher more gravity fed tracks to come.
Finally, a huge thanks to the lads at fairymount for the amount of effort and work that went into the track and the setup in Fairymount, well done to Gerry Grimes and John Kennny for all their effort there. Stay tuned for news on Round Two in Bree on March 10th. and dont forget to get your entries in. HERE