After claiming the Mountain Bike NI award for best MTB event 2014 we knew we had to step up the game for 2015. With adult races and a night enduro organised in the past three years it was time to look at the stars of the future.
This year we introduced a family fun weekend with coaching sessions and youth races. The races for boys and girls in age categories which included under 8, 10, 12 and 14. The purpose of the coaching and youth races was youth development while having fun.
Youth Enduro Saturday 27th June 2015
The weekend started with registration for the young riders. Sign-on and bike check from Chain Reaction Cycles mechanics. Once registered and bike checked the kids gathered at the pump track and skills loop. The weather was good and everyone seemed in great form. We wanted to make this event fun but also an event the kids could take something from. We had asked 7 time national DH champion Colin Ross from Rosco Lines to come along and do a coaching session and demo for the kids. The good thing about the Mountain bike community is everyone wants to help promote it and this event was no different. Carn Wheelers youth development members Shane Elder and Graeme Elliott had said they would help out and later we had Mark Harvey Cycling Ireland off road commission youth development coordinator offer his assistance also. Brendan McAleer from Peter McAleer insurance brokers would complete our youth development team.
Colin Ross and Mark Harvey split the 50 children up and took one set to the pump track and the other to the skills loop. Families watched from the side as the kids took it in turns to ride the tracks under the expert eyes of our youth development team. The guys then done a demo on how to approach different aspects of MTBing allowing the children to then put this into practice. It was visibly effective as kids started to look like proper little racers on their bikes.
After the coaching sessions it was time for the children to get into their age categories and meet their leader for the race. It was the leaders job to guide the children to the start of each stage. Under 14 and under 12 rode 6 full stages and under 10 and under 8 rode only the final 3 stages. At the stage start they where greeted by a marshal who would set them off at intervals into the stages. The leaders rode the stages first and waited for the group to complete the stage before regrouping and travelling to the next stage together. Again to keep the races fun a parent was allowed to come and ride close to their children. Most decided to leave them to it only following after they had completed the stages. Something some of them had said was only possible due to the coaching session they had earlier took part in. Confidence is a massive part of MTB and seeing these kids gain that confidence and take to the stages was amazing. As the little ones took to the stages the atmosphere really built with the sounds of CRC Cow bells the families really helped make the race a memorable occasion. Once back at the race village the kids got fed and watered and made great use of the bouncy castles and slides that we had on site. The podiums took place to round off the first part of the weekends action.
Under 8 Girls
Under 8 Boys
1st Harvey Sinnamon 2nd Alexander Gray 3rd Phelim James
Under 10 Boys
1st Travis Harkness 2nd Adam Rafferty 3rd Ethan Davison
Under 12 Boys
1st Darren Rafferty 2nd Dean Harvey 3rd Niall Clerkin
Under 14 Girls
1st Emma Elder 2nd Sarah Elder 3rd Darcey Harkness
Under 14 Boys
1st Drew Armstrong 2nd Diarmuid Murphy 3rd Lee Harvey
Senior Enduro Sunday 28th June 2015
The youth enduro proved to be a success so onwards to the senior race. New for the senior race was the air timing system. This meant riders times were clocked over a rolling start and finish. A much appreciated addition to the event with this state of the art timing system. Registration and bike scrutiny took place by the CRC mechanics in the morning. Riders got their goodie bag, T-Shirts and collected their timing chips. A brief explanation of the timing system and they registered their cards. After registration riders set off around the 14 mile course. Heavy rain the previous night had created a few puddles here and there but made the grip perfect. We had 6 stages of varying length and added a few natural trails to mix to bring something new for 2015. The day stayed bright and with a forest full of smiling Mountain bikers there is no other place you would want to be on a day like this. All stages were marshalled top and bottom and our event medical team were on stand by should they be needed. Like any adrenaline fuelled high tempo event there is the odd spill here and there. Mountain bikers are a tough breed and thankfully our professional medics were not needed. The only causality of the day was a small generator that ran under our timing crews van. I drove around between stages as a roving marshal as radio and phone signals are not the greatest in Davagh. I could see that everyone was smiling, enjoying racing and the craic. Sure who wouldn't enjoy being out on a mountain bike with like minded folk.
David Burns ETCC using the racing line for a pass just before the line.
Racing was incredibly tight in places yet some categories had clear winners. Some sections designed to really push the riders out of there comfort zone yet keep it manageable for someone just getting into the sport. Stage 1 and 4 started with a natural section leading into a pedal fuelled middle section on trail centre trail finally splitting into two very fast flowing descents at wolfs hill and Big Wig Jig. Stage 2 started on a fast flowing trail centre trail. Mini table tops, bermed corners that kept the pace super fast. The stage then crossed a fireroad and dropped into a natural section. The stage ended with two tight switch backs and across a small bridge and over the line. The switch backs had a sneaky racers line that cut out one of the corners and was the scene of a few moments. Stage 3 was the popular run ragley run short and fast but made the riders work hard. Stage 5 was a long drag with a bit of everything thrown into the mix a real tester for the stamina. Fast trail centre descents with rocky steps, flat sections, climbs and the ever popular boundary rock. A slab of granite that kept the pulses racing before a small rock jump and series of falling berms to finish. Stage 6 was the reverse of the trail centre direction on a short punchy stage.
Colin Ross on his way to victory
It was great to see local mountain bikers on the podiums and finish with some great results. Alan Gilkinson of East Tyrone Cycling Club and Davagh regular took 4th overall and 1st in Male Intermediate closely followed by Philip Harkness of Carn wheelers in 5th overall and 1st in Male Sport. I was delighted to see good friend Barry McGuigan the first Draperstown man home in a fantastic 21st overall and 7th in Male sport. Barry has only taken up mountain biking this year and his results show what a bit of determination and hard work can do.
1st Lesley Archer 2nd Carolynne Ferris 3rd Susan Williams
1st Callum Coogan 2nd Aarron Mcaleer 3rd Adam Stronge
1st Philip Harkness 2nd Kane McGarvey 3rd Colin McQuillian
1st Alan Gilkinson 2nd Adam McKeown 3rd Philip Mullan
1st Colin Ross 2nd Nathan McComb 3rd Glyn O'Brien
The event has an ever growing list of nationalities that have taken part. This year I spoke to a Bulgarian, Polish and South African rider. Others who travelled from as far as Wicklow, Galway, Connemara and Sligo.
The family aspect really worked well with campsites full. People staying locally all weekend was a great boost to the local economy. We also had father son podiums, mother daughter podium and a father daughter podium just highlighting how much this sport is growing.
This event wouldn't be possible without my right hand man Ivan Park. I get a lot of the credit for these events but without Ivan and the team it just couldn't work so thank you all.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our sponsors and helpers who have made it possible to run this event.
Our main Sponsor: Chain Reaction Cycles took along their mechanics and provided goody bags. Our stage sponsors:
Stage 1 Steelweld Fabrications Ltd Cookstown,
Stage 2 Meat at Regan's Draperstown,
Stage 3 The Shepherds Rest (Our official Camping Partner) Sixtowns
Stage 4 The Market Inn Draperstown
Stage 5 Diamond Service Station Draperstown
Stage 6 Peter McAleer Insurance (Event Insurance provider) Omagh
The signs, number boards, certificates and podium boards were designed by Jason Devine Blackthorn Designs (Gortin) and printed by Signal Signs (Omagh)
Catering by Joan Trengove
Sperrin Bakery suppliers of the Meat at Regan's Sausage rolls, Buns and cakes and soup rolls.
Wilson's fruit and Veg for the Bananas
All the Ladies and Gents from S.T.E.P.S. for helping with the registration and catering and staffing the kids play area.
Marga for keeping me fed and watered and helping with set up, clear up and van driver for course Marking.
Our Youth Development team:
Colin Ross (Rosco Lines MTB Tuition and personal training)
Mark Harvey (Cycling Ireland off road commission youth development coordinator)
Graeme Elliott and Shane Elder (Carn Wheelers youth division group leaders)
Brendan McAleer (Group Leader)
Our Marshals who do a fantastic job of keeping riders up to date and on course.
Gary McNamee who supplied the barriers to keep the kids play area safe and protected.
Keep up to date on all things Davagh Enduro on our facebook page.
Youth Race Saturday 27th June 2015
Senior Race Sunday 28th June 2015