[su_row][su_column size="2/3"]April 24th saw round 3 of the Cube Munster Enduro Series being held at the Ballyhoura Trail Centre in Co. Limerick. With 139 names on the results sheet its obvious that the success of the first two rounds in the series sparked the interest of a lot of mountain bikers.
Some of the preview videos published on social media in the run-up to the race led to fears that the stages would be very wet and slippery. But the weather cooperated with a week of sun shine prior to the weekend, drying most of the stages out to be fast and grippy. Race day itself was blessed with perfect biking conditions, dry and mild.
The race, like the previous rounds, consisted of three stages. Riders could run each stage twice, with their best times counting toward the final result. As this was a one day event, there was no practice - a blind race format. The first try on each stage was a leap into the unknown, and some of the features took riders by surprise.
Starting from the trail head, riders transitioned up through some of the trail centre’s routes and fire roads to where the stages started. After few minutes climbing, at the end of a fire road, competitors had to dismount and push their bikes up a relatively short but steep path through the forest to the start of stage 1. This was a good and fast trail twisting through the loamy forest and over some large rocks waiting to catch out the unwary. A sharp drop led onto a fire road which had to be crossed to enter the next section of singletrack eventually turning in to a short run over one of the trail centre’s loops. A short climb up a fire road before dropping back in to the forest, twisting between the trees and over logs at speed before shooting across a walking path into a feature that surprised a few riders, a double roller back in to the trees before reaching the finish.
Stage 2 was the furthest from the trail centre and involved a long fire road climb up to the start point. Most riders exploded from the start with speed, but very quickly had to slow for the twisty rocky turns and steep drops that made up the top section of the trail. A straight sprint down some single track brought you to a section of the green trail centre loop. Some fast pedalling on both of those built up a lot of speed but did take a toll on the legs, especially the second time round. A sharp left then sent bikes down a mostly straight but slippery run where time could be made up if you kept an eye out for rocks and mud. This was followed by a quick sprint along another fire road before turning left on to the bottom section twisting through the trees.
The third stage involved a long hard climb on foot pushing your bike up the hill. The area at the top of the trail was often full of people taking a well earned break and topping up their energy reserves. This was the shortest stage of the race, but probably the most technically challenging. From the start competitors descended a steep slope through the trees with plenty of muddy turns and dips thrown in to keep them on their toes, or flat on their faces in a few cases. Toward the bottom the trail levelled out a bit more and made for a great fast and flowy run to the stage finish. This stage ended only a few hundred meters from the start of stage 1 which greatly reduced the amount of transition climbing required.
The entire day was well organised, with the only real queueing happening, as is to be expected, in the morning when entrants had to register and collect their timing chips. All the trails and transitions were well marked and marshals were present to guide riders at any potentially confusing fire road crossings, as well as at all the stage start and finish points.
- Jonathan Maunsell (Team Ballyhoura)
- Killian Callaghan (Biking.ie)
- Cameron Cornforth (021 Racing)
- Leah Maunsell (Team Ballyhoura)
- Sinead Ryan (The ML Syndicate)
- Bernadette O'Neill (Galway MTB)
- Chris O'Callaghan (Cube Ireland)
- Paul McLoughlin (Bespoke cycles)
- Gary Williams (The ML Syndicate)
- Jamie Whelan (Mad Elk Cycles)
- Colm Bradley (Mad Elk)
- Damian Daly (021 Racing)
18 to 30s
- Daniel Kedney (Crucial MTB)
- Garreth Davis (Biking.ie)
- Peter Taylor
- Ollie Cornforth (021 Racing)
- Oisin O'Callaghan (Cube Ireland)
- Cian O'Connell
[su_box title="Helpful Links" style="soft" radius="0”]Complete Round 3 Results
Cube Munster Enduro Series Facebook page
Clear Skies Ahead photo gallery
Ballyhoura Trail Centre[/su_box]