The inaugural running of Ed Fest went down a storm at Ravensdale with Conor Campbell crowned King of the Hill as the overall winner of the Cross-Country and Enduro combined.
Green Bikes’ Conor Campbell proved the overall rider to beat, while in the morning two-lap XC race Simon Lennon took the win, before Vitus Bikes’ Glyn O’Brien ruled the roost in the two-stage enduro.
“I’m delighted to have won King of the Hill,” told Campbell. “It’s been a great day’s craic on a class new trail.”
Ed Fest ELC Course Preview
We take a rip down Ravensdale's newest MTB trail ELC, ahead of this weekend's Ed Fest. A brand new beginner-intermediate trail, it's over 1.3km in length and blast to ride – with a few hidden surprises to leave you gasping at the end! 🤘🤘Big thanks to Bordo Baxter for the guided tour! Thanks to Chain Reaction Cycles Belfast for use of their Vitus Bikes Escarpe 29 VRX. Check out Cuchulainn Cycling Club for info on Ed Fest, or visit freewheelin.ie for latest event info.#freewheelin #MTB #bikesareclass
Posted by Freewheelin' on Friday, 8 March 2019
A strong crowd of about 40 riders gathered to Ravensdale for the official opening of its new trail ELC, while helping to celebrate the life and memory of long-standing Cuchulainn Off-Road member Ed Lenox-Conyngham.
Ed lost his fight with cancer in October 2018 and in honour of the great man, the Cuchulainn crew named their new trail after him, while organising Ed Fest to pay homage.
Featuring a morning XC race on ELC and then two timed enduro runs on ELC, the day also raised over €1000 to help promote youth cycling in the Dundalk area.
Greeted with typical March weather, riders raced their way through a changeable mixture of blue skies followed by blizzards of snow, repeated every 30 minutes or so.
Ed Fest XC – Lennon Wins Three-Way Fight For Victory
Kicking things off at 11am, the XC race saw hot favourites Simon Lennon, David O’Neill and Conor Campbell set the pace out front.
O’Neill led the opening 15-minute lap by eight seconds from Campbell, with Lennon sitting four seconds off the back of Campbell in third.
Dropping the hammer on the final lap, Lennon clawed his way past the duo to take control of the race lead, eventually pulling away for a 13-second margin of victory over O’Neill and Campbell.
Two minutes behind, PJ Hynes held fourth throughout, while Christopher Stapleton completed the top five.
In the battle for sixth, Mickey Clarke pipped Brendan Foley to the post by six seconds, with Jason Malone shadowing them home for eighth. Des Stapleton and Alan Gilkinson completed the top 10.
Ed Fest Enduro – O’Brien Keeps Young Guns At Bay
The afternoon’s action saw a big entry get down to business for the best-of-two-stage enduro on ELC.
Glyn O’Brien, Drew Armstrong, Jack Devlin, Peter Davison, Michael Cowan, Conor Campbell and Nathan McCormick were just a few of the country’s top names to fit the billing.
Over 1.3 kilometres in length, there was a lot of talk as to whether the five-minute barrier would be broke under race conditions – despite the wet, muddy and slippery conditions.
Hot out of the traps, O’Brien set the benchmark with a four-minute 53-second time. Armstrong was the only other rider to crack the five-minute mark on Run 1 with four-minute 59 seconds.
Devlin, Campbell and Davison completed the top five at the end of Run 1, but missed the elusive five-minute marker.
On Run 2, teammates Armstrong and O’Brien put it all on the line. Glyn shaved four seconds off his first run, while Drew managed 10, to set an identical time of four minutes and 49 seconds.
However, with the result going back to Run 1 on the tie-breaker, O’Brien grabbed the top step of the podium.
“I’m stoked to take the enduro win,” laughed O’Brien. “At about five minutes it’s tight on the legs and lungs – you really had to try and save a bit for the end.
“Drew definitely kept me honest and it was all to play for on that final run. It’s cool to win in what was a great day’s craic and all for a good cause too.”
Lighting it up on his second run, Devlin also dipped inside the five-minute mark to grab third overall.
Campbell knocked 16 seconds off Run 2 to jump up to fourth overall, pushing Davison back to fifth.
McCormick’s one-run gamble paid off with sixth.In a three-way battle for seventh, Brendan Foley, Cowan and Jason Malone all tied on time at the end of Run 1.
A faster ride second time around saw Foley secure seventh, with Cowan eighth and Malone ninth. Simon Lennon completed the enduro top-10.
Ed Fest Results:
Lead Image: Conor Campbell takes King of the Hill crown