For 2018, 19-year-old Jack Devlin was crowned the Ulster Elite Enduro Champion with a dominant ride at the third stop of the Vitus First Tracks Enduro Cup in Rostrevor.
In baking hot conditions, the First Tracks Race Division rider took all-bar-one of the five stages to win the Under 21 category, set the fastest outright time of the day and land bragging rights as this year’s Cycling Ireland Ulster Enduro Champion.
With the dust barely settled, we caught up with Jack to chat about his day and his Enduro World Series summer that lies ahead…
Listen In: Audio Interview
Congratulations Jack you are the Ulster Elite Enduro Champion for 2018 — sounds nice?
Jack Devlin: “Thanks, it feels awesome to win. I really wanted an Ulster title for 2018, so to come away with the Elite title is just fantastic. I can’t really ask for better than that. I’m buzzing on today’s ride.”
With some seriously fast stage times all day, you certainly came into Rostrevor swinging!
“To be honest I had a slow start to the year and knew I needed to pick things up. I had a tough round at Bigwood and so went back to the drawing board. I refocused on what I needed to be doing and it’s paid off. Overall I just loved the trails — the stages were my cup of tea with so much flowing downhill stuff.”
You seemed to settle into a rythym breaking away from the Pro Men group you were riding with and hitting the latter stages first. Did that make the difference — keeping the pace high?
“I blew a few corners out on stage 1 but found a flow on stage 2 and sort of settled into that. After stage 3 I cracked on with the transfers to keep that rythym going. On stage 5 I wasn’t sure whether to push or not, or hold on to the end. But I knew Nathan McComb and myself would be tight on times so I just had to go for it, no holds back. I emptied the legs on the last one for sure.
With stage 5 finishing on Rostrevor’s Bin Runs it was a tough finish?
“Yeah, it was pure rowdy from top to bottom. I actually got a front flat at the end too. I heard it hiss on the last drop and just told myself to keep going.”
Next it’s on to the Enduro World Series with rounds in Austria, Italy and Canada. It’s going to be a busy summer for you?
“I’m buzzing for it. It gets intense from here on out for the EWS. I go to Austria for two weeks, then Italy and then out to Canada for the round in Whistler. I’m home for one week and then off to Spain and Italy to close it out. It’s going to be a case of trying to work the peaks and hopefully keep the ball rolling. Winning here is certainly a good confidence boost to bring into the world stage.”
Luckily you’ve also got some good past EWS experience to draw on too?
“I’ve done a couple of world rounds so I know what to expect. Last year’s Irish EWS round was my best with a ninth place finish. Whistler was an amazing learning experience too. Those races teach you a lot. Between practice and racing they are four massive days of riding. It’s mentally challenging too — there’s a lot going on to keep you and your bike in check. Just doing that to finish out the day is hard enough let alone trying to put in top times stage after stage.”
Finally, what goals have you set for your EWS summer?
“Last year I wanted to learn but this year I’m trying to do the best I possibly can. I definitely want to be in the top 10 and consistently inside the top 15. I believe I’m capable of that. But it’ll be no easy feat — there’s a lot of fast dudes in the EWS.”
Keep track of Jack Devlin’s EWS campaign on Instagram
Just landed in Austria 🇦🇹EWS time! Not looking like there will be as much dust here as there was this weekend! @industry_image 📸 @vitusbikes / #vitusbikes / #vitusfirsttracks @wildernesstrailbikes / #ridewtb / @primeseatz / #primeseatz / @silverfishuk / #silverfishuk @raceface604 / #raceface / @gymtechnewry / #gymtechnewry / @thinkstudiodesign / #thinkstudio / @spin11 / #spin11 @chainreactioncycles / #riderepeat