The much-anticipated return of the Vitus Gravity Enduro was finally upon us last weekend and it certainly didn’t disappoint. This event brought us 2 races over 2 days with 5 stages, 16 categories and all at a top-class venue that is unlike any other in the country with it’s technical, steep and loose terrain! The event welcomed 500 riders from grassroots to pro level all with at least 1 goal in common – get down the hill as quick as you can!
This year saw the return of the ‘Classic’ two-day format with practice on Saturday followed by the race on Sunday. Riders had to complete a 25km loop with 5 mainly downhill timed stages within the 4-hour allotted time frame. You only get 1 opportunity to race each stage, so the stakes are high and you’ve got to make each stage count!
The event organisers also decided to keep the newer ‘Mash-up’ style format which became popular the past 2 years during Covid so there really was something for everyone at this event. The mash-up was run on Saturday over a 15km course consisting of 3 downhill timed stages. Participants could ride the stages in any order and as many times as they liked so it tends to have a more relaxed feeling to it as you can repeat the stages if you make a mistake.
We had a whopping 51 GAP MTB Club Members entered into both races, so there was a real buzz building up and we knew the weekend was going to be amazing! Some heavy rainfall during the week threatened to make for some very sketchy riding but thankfully the trails held up and were in tip-top condition although we’re sure there was still plenty of sketchy riding all the same! The riding conditions were perfect all weekend with a mix of sunshine and dry weather. Here’s how everyone got on…
GAP Sponsored Rider & Club Member Jamie Wall decided to enter the Classic. He was feeling a little under-prepared after missing quite a bit of ride-time since his British DH Race in Fortwilliam the previous month due to injury. He picked up 3rd in category and 26th overall, what a result for him. He told us all about his experience…
“For the first round of the Gravity Enduro in Djouce I decided to race the 2-day Classic instead of the Mash-up as I knew it would be more competitive and give me better experience for the future. Practice day on Saturday went really well, I found loads of great lines and did all the tracks once and 3, 4 and 5 twice. Race day came and I was definitely a bit tired from the day before and going into stage 1 I felt weird not having done any warm-up laps. I managed to get a good stage done anyway. Stage 2 I pushed a bit hard and forced some mistakes which was similar in stage 3 when I forced a crash. I managed to find some nice flow in stage 4 and 5 which left me in 3rd place. Bittersweet knowing if I hadn’t had that crash the 2nd place was on. We Move!”
All things considered, a serious result. Well done Jamie!
GAP Ambassador Cat Brady placed 1st place in the Mash-up on Saturday winning on all 3 stages. Here’s what Cat had to say…
“We competed in the Mash-up style Race at Djouce on Saturday and to say the trail conditions were awesome was on understatement. I was very nervous about this race as Djouce was where I had torn my bicep a few months previously. Because of this I decided to stay within my comfort zone on the steep or rooty stuff and where there was a pedal bit to try hard! There were three stages and I repeated stage 1 as it was the longest. I was delighted to take 11 seconds off my first run. I was absolutely stunned to come first and was in some great company with Brigette Egan and Cliona O Kelly on the podium. I can honestly say I loved every minute, and it was a fab day especially seeing so many GAP crew doing awesomely too! Can’t wait till the next one!”
While Cat may have been surprised by her result it’s safe to say none of us were one bit surprised – well done!
Conor Cartwright, our U17’s Sponsored Rider nabbed himself a winning time on stage 2 to finish with a respectable 2nd place overall in a very competitive category. He’ll be pushing hard for the win at the next round no doubt. We asked Conor about his day…
“My first run on stage one wasn’t the best as I got stuck behind someone and made a few mistakes. On stage 2 I got a decent clean run on my first try and I had an amazing run on stage 3. At the end of the day I was very happy with my results and hope to do better at the next race”.
You were amazing Conor and we know that illusive win will become a reality soon!
Our youngest Sponsored Rider Jamie Duffy put in a solid performance in the mash-up also to finish up 5th in his category and getting the fastest time on stage 2. Jamie has been nursing an injury from his last race. His category was a talented bunch, and he certainly didn’t look out of place and did so well this weekend. This is what Jamie had to say afterwards…
“I raced the Gravity Enduro Mash-up on Saturday, completing all 3 stages and doing some twice. My fastest time was on stage 2 which was also fastest in my category. I learned a lot from the race as it was my first back from injury”.
Club Member Luke Jennings wasn’t happy to settle for his first 3rd place podium finish in Rostrevor last month and went one better to finish up in 2nd place this time around. Luke is really progressing as a rider and his new bike seems to be doing the trick for him – he can thank Bren Mulvey for that one! Luke gives us the low-down on the day…
“Race was good overall, nice people. Stage 2 was the hardest and a few people went overboard on the 1st berm. Stage 3 was the nicest, it was fast, rooty and lots of high lines. Stage 1 was fast flowy and lots of turns at the top and xc parts at the bottom”.
Will Luke make it a 3, 2 ,1 at his next race? Fingers crossed!
GAP MTB member Kevin O’Keeffe finished in a very respectable 18/55 in his mash-up race on Saturday among some extremely fast riders. Well done Kev, we know you were feeling the tension before this race!
“Was nervous for this one, Djouce can be very unforgiving. Stage 1 and 2 went smoothly, Stage 3 I bottled it on the same rooty corner on both runs. Skills and confidence still need work. Finished 18th in my class with a time of 8:27. Consistent top half finishes so far this year but work to do to bridge the gap to the riders above”.
We know that top 10 finish is coming Kev #keepworking
We had tonnes of other amazing club results over the weekend also including:
CLASSIC Top 10 Results:
Al Redmond 8th in E-bike
Josh Gallagher 8th in U21
MASH-UP Top 10 Results:
Cian Sullivan 1st and Morgan Kelly 3rd in U21
Simone O’Kelly 1st in Women U17
Brigitte Egan 2nd and Aisling Castle 4th in Women Vets
Cathal O’Neill 3rd in E-bike
Alan Duffy 4th in Super Vets
Diego Sherrard 4th, Oran Brennan 5th and Daragh Farrelly 9th in U17
Ryan Smith 7th, Calvin Barry 8th and Ross McGowan 9th in Youth
Declan Brady 9th in Vets
What an incredible weekend’s racing! See you at Round 2 in Ballinastoe next month…
Results can be found here:
Results and photos can also be found here: