Round two of the Coillte Biking Blitz saw Garreth Davis ride to victory at Ballyhoura, Limerick.
After an early battle with rivals Brian Melia and Feidlim Dignam, Team biking.ie rider Davis pulled clear to claim a memorable win and with it take over the Super Pro Men championship lead.
In the Super Pro Women class, Marlena Drozdziok secured victory over round one winner Joanna Bula.
Following an exciting start to the series at Ballinastoe two weeks ago, the four-round Coillte Biking Blitz headed to Limerick and the fabled Ballyhoura Mountain Bike Trails.
With over 220 riders out on track across the day it was another busy time on the mountains for all.
A single lap format saw the Super Pro Category tackle the 35-kilometre White Loop, while the Baggy Shorts crew had a slight easier 17-kilometre Brown Loop. After riders had given their all, a final climb to the finish ensured one last hard kick to hold position.
Davis Sets The Pace At Ballyhoura
Runner-up at round one, Davis was keen to go one place better in Limerick. However an early battle saw both Melia and Dignam keep him honest during the first half of the loop.
Grabbing advantage on the smoother trails, Davis broke clear to claim a 17-second margin of victory.
“I’m extremely stoked and pleasantly surprised by how today went,” told Garreth. “It’s a great feeling to take the top step after a great race with Brian and Feidlim.
“I had to be clever with tactics as both of the lads were on full-suspension bikes, effortlessly dropping me on the really tough stuff as I had to stop my hands from falling off on my hardtail.
“I took the lead half way through the lap, just before some smoother trails and came in about 20 seconds ahead after a few wild moments and a big spill!”
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I WON! Extremely stoked and again pleasantly surprised by how today's @bikingblitz in Ballyhoura went. Great feeling to take top step after a great race with Brian and @f_dignan . I lost my water bottle in the first trail, which wasn't ideal! 😝 I had to be clever with tactics as both the lads were on full sus bikes, effortlessly dropping me on the really tough stuff as I had to stop my hands from falling off on my hardtail! I took the lead half way through the lap just before some smoother trails and came in about 20 seconds ahead after a few wild moments and a big spill! I came in 45 seconds quicker than last year's time even though our loop this year had a detour, adding an extra 3km to the loop. Extremely stoked right now 😄😄😄 Should say fair play to the locals @cianoc_01and the lads for keeping the stoke high! ✌ #bikesofinstagram #racing #snow #hardship #mtb #crosscountry #bikinginireland #vitusbikes #goodtimes #mtb #cycling #realtalk #win #winning #feelingood #happy @vitusbikes @ionactionsports @gformprotects @biking_ie @teambiking.ie
The fight for the runner-up result proved intense between Melia and Dignam, with Melia finding enough juice left in his legs to beat Dignam across the line for second.
Behind the leading trio, Vinnie Fitzsimon improved on his round one ninth to take fourth, while Michael Oakley completed the top five.
Drozdziok Takes Women’s Victory
In the Super Pro Women class there was no stopping the powerhouse of Marlena Drozdziok in Ballyhoura.
On flying form, she stormed clear of her classmates to take a 20-minute victory over Joanna Bula in a time that would have seen her finish top 10 in Super Pro Men.
With Bula forced to settle for second, Leah McCarthy completed the podium with third.
Doherty Best In Baggy Shorts
As the heavily contested class, 88 riders took to the start line of the Baggy Shorts category. Brian Doherty topped the podium with a comfortable two-minute margin of victory.
Peter O’Driscoll crossed the finish line in second, while Radek Blaha was third.
Sinead Ryan was best of the Baggy Shorts Women class, finishing over 90 seconds clear of Lisa Stapelbroek. Ciara Nolan rounded out the top three.
The Junior category was won by Ruairi Coghlan. Behind him Fionn Desmond beat Aron Finnerty by three seconds to snatch the runner-up result.
David McCarty and Stephanie Roche were fourth and fifth respectively.
Youth Blitz Ballyhoura
It was a busy morning for Youths in Ballyhoura with 57 competitors taking on a shortened course.
Nicholas McCarty was best of the Under 6, Billy Maher won Under 8, while Fionn Crinion took the Under 10 victory.
Lewis Tiarney tied on a dead heat with Cody Lawlor for the Under 12 win, while Ryan McCarty secured top honours in the Under 14 class.
The Coillte Biking Blitz continues with round three at Derroura, Galway on March 10.
Results – Coillte Biking Blitz, Round 2
Complete Results: Biking Blitz, Round 2