With a definite spring in their step, it’s a full steam ahead for organisers of this weekend’s Vitus Gravity Enduro Ireland Series 2018 opener in Ballinastoe.
Set to get the new series off to a flying start, the popular Wicklow venue always delivers a great mix of stages to deliver some closely fought racing.
For the new year, new classes, including two for women and an Under 21, means there’s more trophies up for grabs.
Catching up with head honcho Niall Davis between stage building shifts, we get the lowdown on what’s in store this weekend, along with news that Greg Callaghan will be racing too. It’s all systems go…
Warning: less than 100 places remaining for round 1! Please remember we do NOT take entries on the day.https://www.sientries.co.uk/series.php?series_id=249
Niall, how are preparations going for round one of the 2018 Vitus Gravity Enduro Ireland Series?
Niall Davis: “Things are shaping up nicely, even the weather — there’s a definite hint of spring in the air! Like always there’s been a lot of hard work behind the scenes organising, but now everything is clicking into place. I think everyone is ready to put this long winter behind us and we’re buzzing to kickstart the season. Plus Greg Callaghan is also racing too, so it’s going to be a cracking start to the series.”
How are conditions looking in Ballinastoe for this weekend’s racing?
“Ballinastoe always delivers a class mix of trail centre and natural off piste trails. The trick with this round has been to select the most hardy of sections on the hill simply because the ground has been so wet. Even this week we’ve had to make a few last minute changes to tracks that we know won’t hold up to racing. So there will be a bit more trail centre than we’d like this time around, but considering the weather of late we’re confident we’ve made the right call.”
Want to ride like EWS ninja Greg Callaghan?Greg has kindly offered to take 5 lucky people down one of the stages this…
Will round one be a big test of fitness or does the course lend itself to shorter liaisons but with plenty of stage time to ease riders into the 2018 series?
“I guess the liaisons are really a priority for us so we’ll give riders ample time to get around. And the fact that it is also a trail centre means there is a great bit of single track climbing too, which (hopefully) distracts you some what. We have actually decided to make the stages quite long this year, throwing in some extra sprint climbs to get to more downhill sections. In 2017 we went very DH bias with the trails, so now it’s time to get more of a balance.”
Can you tell us more about the Team Category included in the series?
“It’s basically a race within the main race — kind of a mates race but just for fun. It’s yourself and two mates’ times added up across the five stages, nothing too series, just a bit of craic! On the day you can also race together even if you compete in separate classes.”
Finally, what’s new for the Vitus Gravity Enduro Ireland Series in 2018?
“We’ve added in a few extra changes for 2018. Firstly we’ve now got two categories for women — Women and Pro Women — which we hope to see grow during the year. There’s now a Hardtail class too. Also a new and important addition is the addition of a 17-21 age class, which brings things in line with what’s happening internationally. Finally, round two at Mt Leinster will additional act as a round of the Enduro World Series qualifier which we’re very excited about.”
So that’s the talking done, it’s time to go racing. Saturday is practice, with round one’s five-stage race taking place on Sunday.