I love the when the Enduro series rolls round to Ticknock.
Maybe it's because the hill is literally on my doorstep and I don't have to
do anything other than jump on the bike and ride up there, maybe it's the
awesome views over Dublin city from the north face or the epic scenery of
the Wicklow mountains to the south.
Maybe it's the promise of a well-earned cold pint and recounting a few tall
tales in the Blue Light after a hard days riding. Maybe it's the epic
trails, carved into the hillside entreating 365 athletes to test their
mortal selves and their bikes to see who will prove victorious on Sunday
Truth be told, it's probably all of these things combined, helped along in
no little part by the organisational nous that series boss Niall Davis and
his Biking.ie team bring to the party.
After a sell-out season opener in Ballinastoe, Ticknock was proving to be
yet another hot ticket with the increased allocation of entries, up from 350
for R1, sold out with over a month to go. As always there was good
representation across all the age categories with particularly strong
Women's and Junior fields entered. Good representation also from the club
scene, with a strong showing from all the local clubs and teams who would be
regular visitors to Ticknock's slopes.
That notwithstanding there was a healthy entry from across all the provinces
and even a few international entries with Katie Winton, Fiona Beattie and
Joe Barnes travelling from bonny Scotland to compete.
Also fresh from their respective World and European Enduro endeavours were a
couple of home-grown international contenders in the Pro category - Greg
Callaghan & Dan Wolfe here hoping to stamp their authority on that class on
Given the wealth of local knowledge then, and to keep with the spirit of the
blind racing format, this year's stages were quite different from what
competitors had experienced for the last two runnings of this event and the
exact stages were not made known until the tape went up on the Friday
Although the overall distance was relatively short due to the compact nature
of the site, there was plenty of climbing to keep the legs busy with the 5
transitions requiring the competitors to traverse almost 1000 vertical
It would be fair to assume then that the descents were going to be steep
also - they were! The stages had a little of everything thrown in to the mix
- Fast flowing manmade single track; choppy, rocky rain gullies; open,
grassy hillside; loamy forest floor with ninja roots and wall jumps galore.
A test for both man and machine designed to not favour any specialist rider
or setup (apart from the skilled, fearless & most committed of course!)
The weather on race day, while not quite the glorious sunshine that had
favoured the Saturday practise, held fair for the event with the rain that
had been threatening all day only arriving as the podium celebrations got
As expected the main contenders for the overall race were going to be the
international trio of Dan Wolfe, Greg Callaghan & Joe Barnes and this is in
fact how they finished with Wolfe acing two of the three stages to claim the
win by 4.4 seconds from Callaghan with Barnes a further 6.6 in arrears.
In the age categories Conor Lavelle of Biking.ie took the honours yet again
in the 14-18 group, 1:07 adrift of the winning time which saw him 5th
overall. Michael Lee of Hollingsworth Cycles claimed top spot in the 19-29
category. Alan Mellon won the 30-34 prize, while the Cycle Inn's Ian Coates
stood on the top step once more in the 35-39 group. Bike Addiction's Joules
Dormer took the top step once more in the 40-49 age group while Team
Ballyhoura's Joe Bergin took top honours in the 50+ category.
The women's category saw some tight racing also with Pivot Morvelo Enduro
Racing's Katy Winton taking the top step ahead of MBW Kona Ireland Racing's
Leah Maunsell by a margin of 40 seconds with Epic MTB's Orla McLean a
further 29 seconds adrift.
Full results and timings are available here:
With the podium celebrations complete there was little else to do but retire
to the Blue Light for a pint and a tasty burger from the barbecue, listen to
some music, tell some war stories and to look forward to the next event in
Limerick in a little under two months' time.
Entries are available here:
As the first two rounds sold out well in advance, it'd be a wise move to get
your entry sent in good time to avoid disappointment.
Words & Images by Alan Duffy
Event gallery here: