What a day to be on the trails! The 2019 Irish national enduro champs stood up to its name with a race for the history books. Also a 2020 EWS qualifier and the 3rd race of the 2019 Vitus First Track Enduro Cup. With so much at stake, a hard battle for the top places was expected and indeed it was, both on women and men fields the riders squeezed themselves to try and claim the right to get the Irish flag on their sleeves for the 2020 season.
The weather forecast was not good and rain began to fall after 1 pm, so the elite riders departing at midday expected to race in usual Irish conditions. But after a sunny morning, the rain didn't show up, and the race continued under mint conditions. As the day progressed trails were getting better and better, still some puddles here and there, but nothing as bad as the first race of the Vitus First Track Cup 2 months ago in the same place, Ravensdale, where race organizer needed to cancel one stage. Precisely that stage was included today, SS4 and although it was not as long as SS3, it took almost same time to get to the bottom, due to the last hard physical pedaling section.
In the women field, it was not complete domination from Leah Maunsell (Team Maunsell / Kona) as the Irish legend Meave Baxter managed to get two stages under her belt, first and last one. But it was not enough to claim the first place, Leah managed to get a juicy 20s difference in between the Queen stage, SS3, the longest of the day and SS4. Leah ended up winning by 16s. On third came Hannah Harvey (Chainreaction Cycles Belfast) with a second place on SS2 after Leah.
As for the men, hats off to Kelan Grant (ChainreactionTeam Cycles) that managed to grab his first National title, sweeping all stages with authority and claiming a title long time wished for. Defending champ Greg Callaghan (Cube Action Team) was on his toes all the time, but on SS2, the shortest of the day, ended up on 19th place loosing some precious time, finished all other stages second. On third came the young gun Drew Armstrong (Vitus First Tracks Race Division) managing to grab a second place on the SS2.
Next stop of the Vitus First Track Enduro Cup 14 & 15 of September, last one of the season and where the overall 2019 Vitus First Track Cup champ will be finally crowned.
1st. Kelan Grant 14:54.04
2nd. Greg Callaghan 15:17.44 +0:23.40
3rd. Drew Armstrong 15:27.31 +0:33.27
4th.Killian Callaghan 16:02.63 +1:08.59
5th. Harry Byrne 16:08.17 +1:14.13
1st. Leah Maunsell 19:25.81
2nd. Meave Baxter 19:42.55 +0:16.74
3rd. Hannah Harvey 20:19.35 +0:53.54
4th. Hannah Mullin 22:21.36 +2:55.55
5th. Bernie Commins 23:56.31 +4:30.50