With both the Scottish and Welsh having their own 2017 series openers, it was the turn of the Irish this time. Team rider Kelan Grant reports from a successful trip.
Bellurgan Park in Co Louth is a private woodland in the heart of the Cooley Mountains and the venue for the opening round of the 2017 Vitus First Tracks Enduro Series. Only a stone’s throw from the already popular Lumpers trails these stages will get the juices flowing. This race consisted of existing classic trails mixed in with some fresh stuff.
Vitus First Tracks Race Division always put on a good show! Glyn and his hard working team always pull through for a great event and for once the weather played ball as well.
This has to be my favourite race series. Great friendly vibes around the pit areas catching up with old and new friends. Just an all round pleasant race to be apart of.
Practise kicked of on Saturday morning. A short 20km but some physical and challenging stages for riders of every ability. Stages one and five consisted of newly built trails by Glyn and his team that week, so watching the back wheel appear in front of you a few times was just the norm. Back wheel drifting, feet out trying to find traction, these stages had a lot to say about your bike handling skills. If you can two wheel drift you would shift!
Stages two, three and four. A mix of rut slapping and fresh dusty loam. More gravity fed stages and even the old Downhill track (stage Four) was included from 2011 Irish Downhill Series. The last time I was down that track it was open with no trees, so to ride down and to have 20 foot trees either side of the track was a shock but brought back so many good memories.
A quick lunch with the crew and another lap of enduro goodness and Saturday was at a close. Even got some sun to help turn the trails to an extra special thick peanut butter texture. Still savage to ride!
Race day. Everyone gets on so well with each other it never really feels like a race. Of course when the goggles go on its game time but in-between everyone is there for the same reason. To ride their bike, have the craic, make friends discuss lines and chat shite.
For me I don’t think the tracks suited me, but enduro is all about being able to ride anything the race demands and thrown at the rider. A crash on stages one and two left me a bit doubtful for taking the overall but I’ve learnt over time and racing to finish it out and its not over until its over. A strong enough finish on the last three stages helped me gain back the time lost.
Its all about the craic, fun and laughs but tension was high as young star and good friend Nathan Mccomb and downhill national champion Collin Ross approached the finish to clock in their times.
I was pretty shocked to take the win, but happy I stuck it out to the end.
Cant wait to the next round always a well ran event with great tracks and banter included. Hats off again to the Vitus First racks Team on another flawless race!
Full results and details on the remaining 2017 Vitus First Tracks Enduro Series on the website. Look out for more race reports from home turf from our team rider Kelan Grant.