What a great weekend of racing in Djouce Woods, Wicklow, Ireland, for the first stop of the Vitus Gravity Enduro Series that doubled as the 2021 Irish Enduro Championships. Impossible to have better weather for the race day, with some rain the day before trails were running on mint conditions for Saturday, the first day of racing. "Hero dirt" and "loamy" was the best way to describe the trails inside the forest. The work done on the days before the race by the Trail Breaker crew was visible and everyone had a blast racing once again. For this race riders had 4h to complete the full race course as many times as they wanted, the best time on each stage would be the one taken into account for the final standings. The exception was the Elite riders, to race on Sunday, things must be a bit more difficult for them, right? Elite riders needed to do a minimum of 2 laps to the track, and final timings was the sum of all stages taking into account the 2 fastest descents.
On Saturday race all masters categories, M30, M40 and M50 plus ebikes had the trails for themselves. James Mac Ferran (Cycleology Racing) won the overall of the day winning SS2 to get also the Irish championship title on M30. Following close, just 1.58 behind, Glyn O'Brien (Vitus First Tracks Race Division) also managed to win one stage, SS1, and won the M40 category to get that 2021 Irish champ sleeve for himself. On M50 Joe Ward won with a comfortable margin of 21s over John Glover and got the Irish Champ title in his category. On M30 battle was fierce to get that podium and second was Jason Murphy (The Big Little Bike Shop) who also won one stage, followed by Jamie McCullough, Garreth Davis (Team Biking.ie) and Brazilian Vitor Aquino (Expert Cycles/Silverfish UK).
Sunday race had even better conditions if that is possible, by the end of the day the starting top section of SS1 was running dry and dusty, with some blown corners that made some riders bite the dust more than once. It was time for the youngsters, women and elite riders to show their skills. In the women's category, Leah Maunsell (Liv Cycling UK) is the rider to beat and doesn't look that there is a serious contender right now, a full swipe on all stages and she is the 2021 Irish Enduro Championship by 39.60s over the second rider, 15-year-old Hannah Mullin (Specialized Ireland). Third was Meave Baxter (Cuchulainn / RCR) that may double Leah age but is always fighting for the top5. Hannah Harvey (CRC Belfast)came fourth, completely recovered from her knee injury a month ago in Ravensdale race. Fifth Michelle Muldoon (Sportsroom Wicklow) +46.18s from Leah.
Elite riders had the opportunity to test themselves and some committed very seriously doing even 3 full laps of the racecourse. Kelan Grant was one of those and indeed it paid off as he managed to defend his 2019 Irish Enduro Champ title. Following close, +8.66s behind, Gavin Carroll with SS2 win on his belt. Gavin had a big injury on his elbow 2 months ago but seeing him racing seems like he never injured himself, racing EWS seems to have helped him to seriously step up his game. Three times Irish Downhill champion, Jacob Dickson, was 3rd +8.9 from Kelan, winning also one stage, SS3. In fourth came a barely known rider, the underdog if you wanna call it, Matheus Braian Neitzke, a young Brazilian rider with only 2 enduro races under his belt. But back-to-back Downhill titles in Brazil and one Pan-American DH title means that we certainly will see Matheus fighting for the podiums on the next races. Fifth was Emmet Callaghan 40.93s behind Kelan.
The next stop of the Vitus Gravity Enduro Series 2021 is in Carrick, first weekend of September, see you all there!
1st. Kelan Grant 13:07.14
2nd.Gavin Carroll 13:15.80
3rd. Jacob Dickson 13:16.04
4th. Matheus Braian Neitzke 13:40.61
5th. Emmet Callaghan 13:48.07
1st.Leah Maunsell 8:02.26
2nd.Hannah Mullin 8:41.86
3rd. Meave Baxter 8:43.85
4th. Hannah Harvey 8:44.05
5th. Michelle Muldoon 8:48.44