And just like that, the Irish Vitus Gravity Enduro Series 2021 season comes to an end. A short season indeed due to current world conditions but hey, at least we are out there doing what we all love, mountain biking and riding our bikes on amazing trails.
The second and last race of the Gravity Series chooses the known location of Carrick Mountain for its mix of trails. We couldn't ask for a better weekend to ride bikes, no rain and temperatures reaching 20 degrees, not very common in Ireland. With 15km, 510m climb and 3 stages to go most of the riders choose to pace themselves and split the day in two, doing a first run of the trails as a practice run and a second one after lunch at race pace. This format is welcomed by most of the riders as it allows them to ride the trails in any order they want and repeat the ones they feel they can push harder and squeeze some extra seconds. Some of the main Irish riders were out in France this weekend racing the EWS so the field was open to battle for a podium and battel we had, with some not so unexpected surprises.
Saturday was time for Masters and eBikes. Glyn O'Brien won M40 and the overall, beating James Mac Ferran, winner of M30, by just 2.38s. Jason Murphy and Clarence Ballantine completed the M30 podium with Peter O'Neill and Craig Gallaway following Glyn on the M40. Phillip Mullan and Garreth Davis were in constant battle all day to get into M30 podium and missed by just 1sec, finishing fourth and fifth in their category. Glyn was dominant throughout the day winning all stages.
Sunday race was even hotter if that's possible and trails were loose and almost completely dry by the end of the day, more than one rider got a taste of the terrain pushing their tires to the limit. Sunday was time for women, youngsters and elite riders to show their skills. Leah Maunsell, recently proclaimed Irish Enduro champ for 7th time, won all stages and women overall with a margin of 31.25s over Hannah Mullin that also had a great day grabbing 2nd spot on all stages. Maeve Baxter closed the top3 women 45s behind Leah, beating by just 2s Eilis Davey.
On the Elite and Senior (20-29) categories two Brazilian riders were in charge of leading the race. Matheus Braian Neitzke won on elite and overall with 9.97s over his nearest competitor, Gary Donaldson and 17.14 over Emmet Callaghan. Gary Donaldson put in a good fight and got two second places with Tommy Magnenat grabbing second spot on SS1. Drew Armstrong was consistent throughout the day and it paid off with a 4th position. A 10th place on SS3 dashed Tommy opportunity to be on the podium. Matheus Braian will no longer be considered the underdog and for sure it's now under everyone's radar as a rider to always count on for the podium. Another Brazilian, William Fernando, won in the Senior category with 2.07s over Youen Horner and 11.52s on Aidan Hawkins.
Tools for all needs
Leah Maunsell pushing those tires to the limit
Racing means some ups and downs, 3 flats for this one, that's bad luck
1st. Matheus Braian Neitzke 6:44.24
2nd. Gary Donaldson 6:54.21 +0:09.97
3rd. Emmet Callaghan 7:01.39 +0:17.15
4th. Drew Armstrong 7:03.64 +0:19.40
5th. Tommy Magnenat 7:05.44 +0:21.20
1st. Leah Maunsell 7:51.56
2nd. Hannah Mullin 8:22.81 +0:31.25
3rd. Meave Baxter 8:37.30 +0:45.74
4th. Eilis Davey 8:39.35 +0:47.79
5th. Niamh McKiverigan 9:04.81 +1:13.25