Vitus Bikes’ Colin Ross staked his claim as King of the Mountain, storming through to victory in the year’s Red Bull Foxhunt in Rostrevor. Leading home a field of 550 riders, Ross secured a record-smashing fourth win and was joined on the podium by Frenchman Kilian Bron (Intense Cycles) and local legend Glyn O’Brien (Vitus Bikes) in third.
In the battle of the Foxes, Gee Atherthon was first home in sixth, with home hero Greg Callaghan pipping world champion Loic Bruni across the finish line for 12th.
Fourth Red Bull Foxhunt win for Rosco
“I honestly can’t believe it,” told winner Rosco. “To win the Red Bull Foxhunt four times is amazing. I felt like I could do it, but with 550 guys on the start line you just never know how this race will go.
“The start here is so important. I managed to get the holeshot and lead the whole way down the hill. I had one big mistake when I almost threw it all away on one of the boardwalk sections. The rain made it super greasy and as first rider in it nearly got away from me, but luckily I had enough in hand to hang on in there.
“Dropping into Heckers Rock was crazy, there were so many spectators there watching. I knew my wife and son were in the crowd too, so it was pretty special coming through there for the win. To win a world championship this year, national title and now get my fourth Foxhunt win caps off an unbelievable year for sure.”
Gusty up top
With the mass start race getting underway just after 2pm in blustery weather up top, all eyes were on who would get down the mountain first. Rosco did the damage early on. Grabbing the holeshot, he powered through the first trail centre climb, opening up a big lead to give himself a start-to-finish win.
Behind him and the battle for the remainder of the podium was undecided. Glyn O’Brien held the upper hand in second for the majority of the race but he had Frenchman Killian Bron chasing him down. Finally finding a way through, Bron denied the home crowd a local 1-2, snatching the runner-up result by six seconds from O’Brien.
“Amazing, totally insane,” said Bron. “I’m so happy with second it’s been an awesome race.”
O’Brien third for local 1-3
Forced to settle for third, O’Brien was still chuffed to have made the podium, having last visited it when the race was held in Belfast.
“Second would have been the dream result for sure, but third is still bloody brilliant,” smiled O’Brien. “I was in second for most of the way and near the end was getting nervous, wondering who was behind me. Then I heard the nicest, politest French accent say ‘Excusez-moi’ and knew the race was on, but I couldn’t hold him back.”
With the top three breaking away from the rest of the pack to the tune of 15 seconds, Richard Marini was fourth home with Ian Coates behind him in fifth.
Atherton first Fox home
Gee Atherton was best of the Foxes crossing the line in sixth…
“It’s been another great Foxhunt. It was wild and tough with nearly 600 guys charging. The carnage up top was amazing but I loved it,” said Atherton.
“I feel like I got a good start but was caught up in the early bottleneck. Once I got over the pedal section I could start chipping away at the riders. Overall I had a good run, it was slippery but I did a lot of overtaking.”
The run for the top 10 was tight with seven seconds separating four riders. Kona Bikes’ Jonathan Maunsell took seventh, finishing just one second behind Atherton. Chain Reaction Cycles Michael Cowan held off young gun Chris Cummings for eighth, while Frazer Morrison (Mech Monkey) completed the top 10.
Downhill chaos! When 550 riders join these foxes on track, things are going to get wild at Red Bull Foxhunt. 🦊
Posted by Red Bull Bike on Sunday, 7 October 2018
Callaghan beats Bruni in sprint finish
Loving his debut ride as a Fox, Greg Callaghan was home in 12th, pipping fellow Fox Loic Bruni across the finish line.
“The was the most ridiculous awesome race I’ve ever done. It was absolute carnage in places – at one point I got ran over,” laughed Greg. “I crashed and then some one ended up on top of me – it was just crazy but so good and such a laugh.
“I had no idea what to expect riding as a Fox – I was scared off the start because we came hammering into the guys, hoping to find a gap in the crowd. It was cool to be the second Fox home too. I had a sprint finish with Loic to the line and we were side-by-side through the Red Bull arch. All in, it’s just been nuts but I’ve loved it so much.”
“It was wilder than last year!”
“It was even wilder than last year but I loved it,” told Bruni. “The conditions were difficult because it rained between practice and the race so the track was super slick in places but then still dust in others, which was hard to judge.
“I had a decent start but then got into a little crash at the bridge and lost some time. But I had a blast fighting my way to the front, which is what it’s all about. Greg and myself were neck-and-neck across the line – it was so close.”
Grant breaks chain in title defence
While Rosco stole the show, the expected battle between him and defending Foxhunt champion Kelan Grant didn’t materialise. A broken chain from the first pedal stroke meant a disastrous race for Grant. Forced to run with him bike through the opening trail centre, he heroically still came home in 62nd.
“Win some, you lose some,” explained Grant. “I don’t really know what happened, just bad luck I guess. My chain broke on the first pedal stroke and the race was over before it even began. Gutted but we’ll come back stronger next year.”
The Freewheelin’ crew were also in the thick of the action, albeit further back in the pack. Niall McEntegart first home in 139th grabbed the bragging rights for another year. Robert Lynn cracked the 200 mark with 194th and Ryan Callaghan was 220th.
Live at the top
Posted by MountainBikeNI on Sunday, 7 October 2018
Results – Red Bull Foxhunt top 50
Complete Results: Red Bull Foxhunt 2018