It’s go time for the 2019 Vitus First Tracks Enduro Cup with the stage set for the opener at Ravensdale this weekend.
We’ve been out previewing the stages ahead of this weekend’s round one with Green Bikes’ Meave Baxter. Sit back and check out the trails before the race tape goes up…
Kicking winter to the kerb, the Irish mountain bike season gets into full swing, with 250-plus competitors heading to Ravensdale, Co. Louth for two days of action of the Vitus First Tracks Enduro Cup.
A new venue for 2019, the forestry is set to throw up a fistful of stoke, with five natural, rooty, rocky and raccy stages ready to challenge some of Ireland’s best.
O’Brien Enters Ravensdale As Regining Champ
As the 2018 champion, Vitus First Tracks Race Division’s Glyn O’Brien will be looking to make it a repeat in 2019.
But with a wealth of talent chasing him down, defending his crown won’t come easy, especially considering the new rule change.
New for 2019 is the introduction of an overall First Tracks Enduro Cup champion allowing those competing in Under 21, Senior, Master A, Master B, Veteran and Pro to push for outright glory.
Grant Brings EWS Pace To Ravensdale
Fresh off his 28th overall in last weekend’s Enduro World Series round two in Tasmania, Team Mavic CRC’s Kelan Grant has made plans to shake off the jet lag in Ravensdale.
No doubt a hotly tipped favourite, Grant will have his sights set on the top step of the podium.
Switching from Vitus to Propain during the off season, Masters DH World Champion Colin Ross will be out to make his presence felt. Ross stormed to victory at round one in 2018, and would naturally like to make it two-in-a-row.
The Mech Monkey duo of Ben Irwin and Peter Davison will be out in force. Both carded podium results in 2018 and are will start as riders to watch for.
So too will James MacFerran, Andrew Godfrey – fresh from his top 35 result at Chile’s Andres Pacifico – and Jamie McCullough.
Devlin Heads Under 21 charge
In the Under 21 category, the 2018 top trio of Jack Devlin (VFTRD), Aidan Hawkins (Shima Wheelers) and Drew Armstrong (VFTRD) will have a lot more at stake with overall honours also on the table.
Devlin already has had a taste of that with an outright win at Rostrevor in 2018 and will be pushing to sample those spoils of victory once more.
With competition high in Under 21, no doubt Hawkins and Armstrong won’t give Devlin an easy time of things, while guys like Frazer Morrison (Mech Monkey), Jack Murphy (Kmmotors) and Mark O’Kane (CRC Belfast) will have podium goals of their own.
Harvey Starts As Defending Women’s Champion
In the Women’s class, it’s CRC Belfast’s Hannah Harvey who starts as the defending champion. But she faces fierce competition from Green Bikes’ Meave Baxter.
Ravensdale is Baxter’s backyard, so if Harvey can bag a win at round one it will serve as a huge confidence boost for the rest of the year.
However, with Irish Champ Leah Maunsell an expected late addition to the line-up, the competition is set to be fierce.
Across the classes, the Senior top three of Adam Smiley, Jason Garrett and Cade McCullough will look to mix it up inside the top 20 overall.
As will Master’s Beefy Mullan, Steven Bradley, Russell Kerr, James Edwards, Mark Nulty and Brendan Foley.
Veteran’s Paul McLoughlin (Bespoke), Conor Campbell (Green Bikes) – EdFest winner – and Derek McLoughlin will all be names to watch for during the weekend.
Round one of the 2019 Vitus First Tracks Enduro Cup takes place in Ravensdale, Co. Louth on April 6/7.