And just like that, the season is about to finish, with the last race of the Vitus First Track Enduro Cup in Castlewellan Forestal Park, home of Nathan "Lizard" McComb who even came all the way from Malaga just to race his home trails and of course, for the craic. He and many more riders will battle this weekend for a place on the podium and the overall. Kelan Grant is recovered from a small sickness that made him not race the Gravity Series in Carrick, Greg Callaghan will race too, Jack Devlin, Peter Davison, Glyn O'Brien, Mark Okane, James McFerran and more. In total around 230 riders for a good weekend of racing.
Castlewellan has a well-earned reputation of been a rainy race, last year it has been a hell for all riders. Hopefully, the weather forecast improves and Sunday the trails stay on the same mint conditions as today. As for the race route, 21km with +600m climb and same descending, split into five stages with a bit of everything. Although Castlewellan is a known trail center and it has several green and blue trails, race organizers recovered some old natural trails and cleared some others, so riders will face too some techy, rocky and gnarly sections. Stage one has some fast step section just right on the start where all riders took their time to search for the best line. As there has been no rain for several days the terrain is on perfect conditions, no puddles at all and loamy everywhere inside the forest. Stage two is the longest one but expect to be one of the fastest as it is a mix in between the trail center trails and natural bits, fast and fun, not too physical. Stage three I would call it the Tree Hugger, no need to explain it, fast, natural singletrack with several tight spaces in between the trees.
To get to stage four, some hike a bike is required but the reward is a short but steep technical trail that left everyone with a big smile on their faces. Once that's done, a long liason to stage 5 on a green trail will allow all riders to relax and get ready for a leg burner stage. Fear not, but stage 5 with 20km on their legs will certainly be a test to everyone fitness, Is a blue trail, manicured to perfection but where each meter without pedaling will mean some clock ticks lost. Look for the fittest of all and he will certainly will win this stage.
As per usual, first riders will start at 9:30, followed by seeded riders and lastly the elite ones at 12. Expectations are high and everyone stoked for a sick race in Castlewellan Forestal park.
Glyn O'Brien and James McFerran fast on the start of SS4