When it comes to the Red Bull Foxhunt, Colin Ross is King of the Mountain having now sealed his fourth victory in this year’s race at Rostrevor. A near-perfect run for the Vitus Bikes’ rider, Ross grabbed the holeshot over the 550 riders on the start line and pretty much checked out.
Still buzzing off the podium celebrations (and after we’d managed to get down the mountain ourselves in one piece) we caught up with the four-time winner to find out how it all went down…
Listen In: Audio Interview
Congratulations Colin, you’re now a four-time Red Bull Foxhunt champion, you must be buzzing off this victory!
Colin Ross: “Yeah, it’s just amazing to take my fourth win in this race. You know it’s crazy, I haven’t won it for two years because I raced as a Fox last year, so that’s a long time to stay competitive in this company. Also it’s such an unpredictable race – anything can happen, so to win four times is unbelievable.”
You led from start-to-finish, but were there any close moments?
“I got a good lead but nearly killed myself halfway when I slipped off the wooden boardwalk before dropping into ‘On The Pulse’. It was greasy because of the rain and I hit the banking. I ended up running beside my bike down the hill. All the time thinking ‘I’m in the lead, don’t lose it’. After that I told myself ‘Colin, don’t risk anything, just ride down the track and get to the finish!’. It was only when I rolled into the finish that winning it for the fourth time began to sink in.
The start is chaotic with so much pure carnage, how was it for you?
“When we got the 30-second warning, I got into a good track stand ready for the start, with Glyn O’Brien on my left and Kelan Grant on my right. When I heard that horn blast I snapped into action and got my elbows in front. I got the holeshot and managed a decent gap over the wooden bridge to hit the trail centre climb first.”
At any point in the race did you know what length of a lead you had?
“I had a section where I knew I could give a cheeky look back and that was as we turned onto the downhill section. I looked over my shoulder and saw at that point I had about 10 seconds over Glyn, so thought ‘right lets keep this going’. But after the crash on the boardwalk I ended up taking a few more unplanned checks behind me.”
It must be a surreal feeling to charge past the crowd at Heckler’s Rock with such a big lead, knowing you’re about to win?
“For me Heckler’s Rock is special because I know my wife and son are standing in the crowd waiting to see who’s going to come down the hill first. That’s all they came for. Coming in there I’m thinking about them, so to be leading at that point is pretty special.”
Having raced as both, how does being a Fox compare being a Hound in this race?
“I’d rather race as a Hound any day of the week! I don’t have the mentality to bump anyone during the race and the only way as a Fox is to put in the hard passes. But this race is so hard as a Hound. It’s so tough to deal with the cold while you wait around on the start line for hours. Then in an instant you’ve got to race a downhill track at 100 per cent. Also, we practiced in the dry on Saturday and Sunday morning. So when it rained before the race I was first guy down a greasy track.”
With 550 riders entered in the Red Bull Foxhunt it’s become the ‘must-do’ for many?
“It’s so good to see this race grow – the level keeps rising each year. To see 550 riders here this weekend is incredible. It’s definitely the highlight for our wee Northern Ireland country and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for it.”
Finally, you’ve had a phenomenal season – Masters World Champion, National Champion and now a four-time Red Bull Foxhunt winner – 2018 has got to be as good as it gets?
“I honestly couldn’t have dreamed it would be this good. But the truth is these last five years have been amazing too. I’m 35 years old now and since I turned 30 it’s been a dream five years. Of course, the Masters World title was the complete icing on the cake for me and this is now another add on to that – a record for the young guns coming through to target.”
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Title Image: Duncan Phillpott/Red Bull Content Pool