The 2018 mountain bike enduro season is almost upon us. If you’re looking to plan out the year ahead, then here’s your handy guide to know what’s on where in Ireland.
Vitus First Tracks Enduro Cup
The Vitus First Tracks Enduro Cup is Ulster’s premier enduro series with four quality rounds planned for 2018. Mixing trail centres with some hidden gem riding, organisers have handpicked some of the best mountain biking spots in Northern Ireland.
Castlewellan opens things up in early April and uses a combination of the centre’s purpose built trails that will be familiar to many plus fresh-cut tracks specific to the race. The series moves on to Bigwood between Newry and Warrenpoint in Co. Down in May for round two with natural flowing forestry single track.
At 24 kilometres long round three in Rostrevor will be the longest course of the championship. Home to the epic Red Bull Fox Hunt and Northern Ireland’s top trail centre, Rostrevor has all the ingredients needed for a lung-busting day in the saddle.
Tollymore signs the season off in September with round four. Always a favourite among competitors, its 100 per cent natural trails will decide championship honours.
The Vitus First Tracks Enduro Cup is broken down into two days of action, Saturday is an optional practice day with Sunday racing. For 2018 there will be a shorter Challenger category course with approximately two less stages than the Main Race.
Round 1: Castlewellan – 7/8th April
Round 2: Bigwood – 12/13th May
Round 3: Rostrevor – 23/24th June
Round 4: Tollymore – 15/16th September
Vitus Gravity Enduro Series
As the original enduro race series in Ireland, the Vitus Gravity Enduro Series is also one of the most popular with the majority of rounds regularly sold out in advance. Five rounds are planned for 2018 with each one featuring an optional practice day on Saturday followed by racing on Sunday.
The popular Ballinastoe stomping grounds in Wicklow kick things off in April. With some excellent stages combined with some of the shortest transitions it’s a perfect mix of riding to kick start the series.
Straddling the border of Wexford and Carlow, Mt Leinster’s all-natural trails await riders for round two and will suit those who can think on their feet as racing lines develop. The event also plays host to a round of the International Enduro World Series Qualifier.
Overlooking Dublin city, Three Rock Mountain is the location for this year’s Championship race. A true test of ability, the venue has a wide mixture of open mountain trails and steep technical tracks. Short-but-steep transitions keep the lungs working hard all day.
Heading to Limerick for round three, Ballyhoura features some of the series’ longest stages to test your limits. A mixture of natural tracks and trail centre action ensures there’s plenty of variety to put a smile on competitors’ faces.
A return to Wicklow signs off the 2018 calendar for round four in Carrick. A rider’s favourite, the venue was put on the world map thanks to the Enduro World Series. If you fancy sampling the same tracks as ridden by the world’s best mountain bikers, then this is the place to come.
Round 1: Ballinastoe Woods, Wicklow — 21/22 April
Round 2: Mt Leinster, Carlow — 19/20 May
Champs: Three Rock Mountain, Dublin — 16/17 June
Round 3: Ballyhoura, Limerick — 4/5 August
Round 4: Carrick Mountain, Wicklow — 8/9 September
Polygon Grassroots Enduro Series
The five round Polygon Grassroots Enduro Series supported by BikingDirty.com is promoted by local clubs in Cork, Tipperary and Wexford.
The championship gets underway in Fermoy, Cork on April 1st with the popular Bike Park Ireland venue marking round two at the end of the month. Two rounds take place in Wexford in June and July with Cahir in Tipperary signing things off on the final Sunday in September.
Held as one-day events, it operates a unique blind race format meaning no practice day beforehand. Riders can attempt the stages twice within the time allowance meaning plenty of riding time on the day.
Round 1: The Nagles, Cork — 1 April
Round 2: Bike Park Ireland, Tipperary — 29 April
Round 3: Sliabh Bhui Askamore, Wexford — 3 June
Round 4: Bree, Wexford — 1 July
Round 5: Chair, Tipperary — 30 September