With four big rounds planned for 2018, the fast-approaching Vitus First Tracks Enduro Cup is set to be a “Season of Savages”.
Kicking things off this weekend, April 7/8, at Castlewellan, the championship then takes in another three top-notch rounds at Bigwood, Rostrevor and Tollymore.
Hard at work putting the finishing touches to the series opener, Glyn O’Brien and the First Tracks team have been busy prepping the popular Castlewellan Mountain Bike Trails to bring together fresh natural tracks mixed with the trail centre’s hot spots.
“Things are definitely looking great for this weekend in Castlewellan,” tells Glyn. “After months of preparation and being super busy during the off-season, it’s crazy to think it’s almost race time.
“We’ve put a lot of work into shaping a proper good weekend of racing — it won’t just be a normal run around Castlewellan. We’re going to use the best parts of the trail centre and mix it up with lots of natural sections, overall it’s about a 50/50 breakdown.
“We also looked closely at how the stages have ridden during previous years, so have aimed to achieve stages with a more gravity fed focus than pedal sections.”
With five stages planned for the main class and four for both the Youth and Challenger categories, competitors will have a four-hour window to complete the course. Plenty of time, but just enough to keep them on their toes reckons Glyn…
“For round one I think we’ve hit the nail on the head with the course layout. We want it to be a challenge for riders, it is enduro after all, so fitness will feature.
“But in general everyone should have enough time to complete the stages and still have the craic with their mates on the way round.”
It’s about the craic
Having the craic is what it’s all about and for mates who are racing in different categories but want to ride together they can book the same start time at registration on race day.
“If you want to ride with your mates but aren’t in the same category then you can organise that during registration,” tells Glyn.
“Groups of six riders start at two-minute intervals, so you should be able to get out together without issue.”
Under 21 Young Guns
New for 2018 is the Under 21 category to tie in with what’s happening in the Enduro World Series.
“There’s some top talent coming through the ranks right now and so to acknowledge that, while keeping in line with the EWS, we’ve also added an Under 21 category.
“It’s going to be interesting to see just how fast these guys go, we can be sure of a few surprises and some savage moments on Sunday.”
Entries are still open and riders can enter on the day if spaces are available. Check the Vitus First Tracks Enduro Cup Facebook page or contact organisers for up to date information.
Open practice starts Saturday at 10am, with racing on Sunday starting at 9.30am for Challenger and Youth. The Main Race gets going at 10am, before the Pro Men start at 12.30pm.
Vitus First Tracks Enduro Cup Schedule
09.30-13.00 – Registration
10.00-16.00 – Practice
09.00-11.00 – Registration
09.30 – Challenger & Youth (12-13)
10.00 – Main Race
12.30 – Pro Men
13.30 – Youth (12-13) podium
16.00 – Podiums
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