Team Mavic CRC’s Kelan Grant has won the 2019 Cycling Ireland Irish National Enduro Championships in Ravensdale, Co. Louth. Grant was on top form, recording a clean sweep of stage wins to secure this year’s title in style.
Putting in a dominant display, Grant led home outgoing champion Greg Callaghan (Cube Action Team) by 23 seconds. Impressing with third outright, Drew Armstrong (Vitus First Tracks Race Division) was crowned the Junior champion, while Kona’s Leah Maunsell successfully defended her Women’s title.
The 2019 Cycling Ireland Irish National Enduro Championships took place over the weekend of the June 22-23 at Ravensdale Forest, Co. Louth hosted by Chain Reaction Cycles / First Tracks. The event tripled-up as round three of the Vitus First Tracks Enduro Cup and a qualifier round for the Enduro World Series (EWS).
Super Sunday at Ravensdale #3 Vitus First Tracks Enduro Cup & Irish Champs well done to all the new Irish Champs !! photos now online from Sunday. https://www.industryimage.com/irish-champs-vitus-rd3
Five Stages Await
Already a fixture for the opening round of the First Tracks Cup in April, organisers pulled out all the stops to deliver a fresh twist on trails and stages when news came that the original venue of Rostrevor for the Irish Championships had to be pulled.
For the weekend, five stages awaited the 280 competitors who turned out in force to compete. Topping the bill, stage three – a reworking of the original Ravensdale DH course – was a clear favourite among many.
With the country’s best Enduro riders out in force, all eyes were on reigning champion Greg Callaghan to see if he could defend his sleeve for another year. Returning to competitive action the previous weekend at Slade following a broken foot, the Cube rider may not have been fully firing on all cylinders but was determined not to give up a fight. However, Grant – the 2017 champ – had his sights set on victory and was ready to attack.
Grant Off To Flying Start
Off to a flying start, both riders were neck-and-neck at the end of stage one – with Grant just over half a second in front and a further four seconds up on Armstrong in third. Fastest again on stage two, Grant was ultimately handed a 11-second advantage he needed when Callaghan made a mistake.
Keeping hard on the gas for the remainder of the day, he rode on to sweep the remaining three stages, to ultimately claim victory and with it this year’s Irish Enduro Championship.
Despite his best efforts, Callaghan was forced to play second fiddle to Grant on the day and had to be content with the runner-up result. Incredibly the defeat marks his first loss on Irish soil since 2014. Ending his day fourth overall, Specialized Racing’s Killian Callaghan completed the Senior category top-three.
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Few raw race clips for @djouceman Totally intentional tripoding 👀🏁 @nukeproofbikes @chainreactioncycles @teamchainreactioncycles @mavic_mtb @srammtb @rockshox @supremelabs @7protection @supremelabs @ride100percent @clifbar @mudhugger2 @mucoff @handupgloves @michelinbicycle
Armstrong Hard On The Gas
A standout performance by Armstrong, placing no lower than third outright on all five stages earned him the Junior Men’s title with third overall.
Completing the top five overall, Expert Cycle’s Harry Byrne placed as Junior Men’s runner-up, with Armstrong’s teammate Jack Devlin third.
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🇮🇪 Irish Champion 🇮🇪 Belting day at @vitusfirsttracksmtb Round 3 in Ravensdale for Irish Champs and @world_enduro Qualifier. So happy to get the u21 win and become Irish Champ and also 3rd fastest time of the day. Heading to Europe now for 2 weeks for some more racing and I couldn't be more excited! Huge thanks to @glynobrien and @cato_ob for another top event @vitusbikes #ridemore #belgianproject.cc
Maunsell And Baxter Go To Battle For Women’s Title
In the Women’s class, it was a fierce battle between defending champ Maunsell and Irish legend Meave Baxter (Green Bikes) for top honours.
On home turf, Baxter was disappointed with how things went last time out in April and was determined to make up for it when it mattered most.
Hot out of the traps, she took stage one by three seconds. Maunsell reacted fast with the stage two win to draw level, before winning stages three and four – showing her pace on the XC-style trail ELC.
Baxter fought back to win stage 5 Born Slippy by two seconds, but it wasn’t enough to deny Maunsell back-to-back Irish crowns.
Riding third throughout, Chain Reaction Cycles Belfast Hannah Harvey finished 37 seconds behind Baxter to complete the top three, while 13-year-old Hannah Mullin (Green Bikes) impressed with fourth.
In total 13 female riders competed in this year’s Women’s Irish Enduro Championship.
MacFerran Triumphs In Masters M30
In the Masters M30, Cycleology Racing’s James MacFerran took the win thanks to his sixth place overall. He was joined on the podium by Rob Davis and Brendan Foley.
Ending his day seventh overall, Glen O’Brien (VFTRD) secured top spot in the Masters M40 class, from Paul McLoughlin and Derek McLaughlin (Sperrin Mountain Bike Club)
The Masters M50 saw Brendan Masterson (Gravity BC) ride to a 14-second margin of victory over Brian Finnegan and John Glover.
Go Pro from stage 1 in yesterday's Vitus First Tracks Enduro Cup in Ravensdale, which was class. Results aren't there at the moment but I'm definitely having a good time and riding well at times. Just need to up the ole race craft and put it all together! Note to self: eyes up, heels down, pedal more and brake less! On to the next one! 😎Vitus Bikes Schwalbe tires Biking.ie Gravity Enduro Ireland Gform Ireland Mitsubishi Motors Ireland Gaz
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Morris Best Youth Rider
While not counted towards the National champs, Dirtyrides MTB’s Callum Morris once again dominated the Youth 12-13 category with three stage wins from three starts.
In the fight for the remainder of the podium, George Thompson edged out Jay McCord for second.
The Hardtail category saw Daniel Eastwood pocket a five-second victory over Barry Power, with Alan Gilkinson third.
Conroy Controls Junior 14-16
Very much the rider on form in 2019, Bespoke Cycles Brendan Conroy (aka @Djouceman) was the one to beat in the Junior 14-16 class. With three stage wins from five, he carded a comfortable 32-second margin of victory.
Behind him, second was closely fought out between Carnwheelers Ryan Skelly and McConvey Cycles Scott Roberts. Each took a stage win, but it was Skelly who grabbed the runner-up result by less than one second.
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Good weekend at national champs in ravensdale happy to take the win on fun stages thanks to @vitusfirsttracksmtb for organizing a great event 👍 @50to01 #50to01 #bananaclan #jibs #instagood #ireland #allthelads #irishfitfam #wheellove #etniescrank #lovesbackwheel #irish #mtb #letsavew #vandercraig #rideforcharlie #doyouevendriftbro #mountainbiking #mtbindonesia #gupordie @bikestable #bespokecycles @santacruzbicycles @etnies
Seven E-bikes took to the start in Ravensdale, with Tomas Kuczma winning by 37 seconds over Ian McIntyre and Aidan McErlain a further two minutes behind in third.
With the 2019 National champs settled, the fourth and final round of the Vitus First Tracks Enduro Cup concludes in Castlewellan, Co. Down on September 14/15.
2019 Cycling Ireland Irish National Championships
1 – Leah Maunsell (Team Ballyhoura)
2 – Meave Baxter (Cuchulainn CC)
3 – Bernie Commins (MTB Assoc of Dublin)
1 – Drew Armstrong (Killinchy Cycling Club)
2 – Harry Byrne (EPIC MTB / Expert Cycles)
3 – Ross Ennis (McNally Swords CC)
1 – Kelan Grant (Gortin MTB)
2 – Greg Callaghan (Cube Action Team)
3 – Killian Callaghan (Specialized Racing)
1 – James Mac Ferran (Banbridge CC)
2 – Rob Davis (021racing)
3 – Brendan Foley (Limerick Mountain Biking Club)
1 – Glyn O’Brien (Chain Reaction Cycles)
2 – Paul McLoughlin (Un-Attached Leinster)
3 – Derek McLaughlin (Sperrin Mountain Bike Club)
1 – Brendan Masterson (Gravity BC)
2 – Brian Finnegan (Cuchulainn CC)
3 – John Glover (PLUSHmtb)
National Championship: Results
Results – Vitus First Tracks Enduro Cup, Round 3: Ravensdale
Complete Results: Round 3
Lead Image © Ryan Callaghan