Catching up with Beefy Mullan as the Chain Reaction Cycles Belfast rider readies himself for a return to racing post COVID-19 lockdown.
It’s been a great couple of seasons for Philip ‘Beefy’ Mullan. Coming to form, he won all Master A titles in enduro and downhill in 2018 and then backed that up with a clean sweep of Master B titles in 2019.
Although 2020 has been on hold due to coronavirus, the Limavady man is not one to standstill and has thrown his energy into setting up his Race Fit MTB Coaching with the same vigour and passion he’s shown on track.
With a move to the Pro ranks on the cards for 2020 when things finally get going, the Chain Reaction Cycles Belfast rider is eager to prove his worth in the top-tier category of Irish mountain biking…
When did you first get into mountain biking?
Beefy Mullan: “I first got into MTB in late 2013. I bought a bike for fitness and a friend of mine took me around Ballykelly forest (my local) and I was hooked. As a failed MX rider I seen it as a cheaper alternative with the same thrill I was missing. But in May 2014 I had an unfortunate stag-do weekend mishap which left me with a badly smashed foot that kept me off the bike for nearly a year, so I didn’t really get going until 2015. After that I really started to knuckle down an get into it properly.”
Looking across your racing career, what’s been some of your personal highlights so far?
“I’ve been lucky to have a fair few highlights, but for me representing CRC Belfast has to be the biggest. It’s followed closely by winning triple championships back-to-back in 2018 and 2019. Then there’s all the great MTB people I’ve met over the past five years.”
What more do you want to achieve in racing and in MTB itself?
“I’d love to win the National Enduro and Downhill Champs, but racing up against J Mac, Rob Davis etc it’ll always be a mighty task. I’ve also started group coaching sessions, Race Fit MTB Coaching, which has been a massive success. I am hoping this will grow in the coming months with everyone starting biking over lockdown. It’s just me giving something back to the MTB community and hopefully boosting the scene in my local area.”
Now two years with CRC Belfast, what benefits does being on a team like that bring?
“The benefits of riding for the best team in the country are that every last detail is on point. Everything and anything we need is on hand either track side or in store – physical and mental support, info on bike maintenance, constant updates on results etc. The bikes are also A1, anything they need they get. But it also has its draw backs. There’s no pressure to perform from CRC, but the pressure I put on myself to do well is through the roof. And some negative comments from the paddock can also play games on your mindset. The overall setup has brought four individuals together along with our families and friends and now the whole thing is a massive big family, I know for one when it’s all over I’ll will leave with a heavy heart, but also know I’ve made friends for life.”
Who’s the biggest joker on the team then?
“I know the rest of the team will say me, I’ve no idea why. I do enjoy the banter with both Hannah (Harvey) and Daniel Lappin (short ass).”
What personal modifications have you made to your Vitus Sommet?
“Not much in the way of set up from my behalf. I fitted 2 tokens in the forks, few tweaks front and rear, a set of Shimano DX pedals and the Vitus Sommet 27 CRX was good to go. I used the same settings I had for my 2019 bike, so the suspension is exactly the same.”
What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned from racing enduro?
“The biggest thing I’ve learned racing enduro is no matter what happens keep going regardless as you never know what has happened to everyone else during the stages in the race. Mark (O’Kane) and myself learned this lesson at the Vitus First Tracks Ballycastle race. Both of us had miserable days and dropped the heads, but when we finished both of us were fourth in our respective categories, missing podiums by seconds all because we give up after a couple of small crashes.”
What’s your top tip to putting in your best stage time?
“Getting a good clean run is the best tip I can give. It’s easy to attack a stage full-on from the start, but sometimes you can get a little excited and make a complete pigs ear of it – I’m talking from experience a few times!”
If you could build your dream trail what would it consist of?
“Tollymore’s Fallen Tree run, again Tollymore’s Champs Trail, the Shaft (a new section in Ballycarton we’ve built), any trail in Carrick and the switch backs from Tweedlove 2017 (the SMTB boys will know them).”
For anyone starting out in the sport, what two pieces of advice can you offer?
“Don’t start biking it will totally take over your life!! No seriously, no matter what you’re riding, be it be a £100 bike or £10,000 bike, just go out an enjoy every minute of it. And if you’re looking to push for podiums at the races a bit of hard graft three nights a week will go along way to help you achieve them.”
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- Chain Reaction Cycles Belfast announce proven four-rider team for 2020
- Mark O’Kane – “Mountain biking is my passion”