Report from Irish Downhill Riders at Rheola

Over the weekend of 13-14 April 2024, twelve Irish riders made the trip to South Wales for the first round of the British Downhill Series (BDS). Rheola is one of the toughest on the calendar and for most it was their first time at the venue. With heavy rain during Saturday’s practice, conditions were very tricky for race day on Sunday. A series of delays and red flags meant the race runs were cancelled and seeding times were used for results, which was disappointing for the riders unable to improve on their positions.

In the Juvenile category both Brodie Hull & Diarmuid O’Sealbhaigh had difficult seeding runs with a crash and a puncture finishing 14th and 20th respectively. However, it was great experience for the lads in their first BDS and a lot more to come from them this season. Darragh Ryan took an excellent 6th spot in the very competitive youth category but a crash for Ros O’Keeffe left him well down the order. Female Youth category had the results scrapped due to red flags and it was deemed unfair as only a few riders finished but again it gave Simone Kelly invaluable experience. Bree’s Jake Kavanagh was 14th in the Expert category in what he described as the toughest race he’s entered. Perhaps the only one happy the race runs were cancelled was Robin Sim who was right on the pace taking 2nd in the senior category, again at his first BDS with Paddy Furlong 9th. Irish Junior Champion Callum Morris caught the rider in front and lost some time but still managed 6th & happy with his pace ahead of the world cup season.
In the female elite category, Hannah Mullin used her experience getting to grips with the technical course finishing 6th. Reigning Irish champ Megan Flanagan had a heavy crash in practice but was soon back up to speed finishing 4th. Finally in Elite men, Ross Ennis was 20th and was another rider that would have improved his position had the race runs been completed.

Overall a mixed bag of results but impressive racing from all the Irish at a venue that is a massive step up from what they are used to.

Report by Jamie Morris

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