Oisin O’Callaghan picked up an impressive 12th-place finish at the Downhill World Championships, while the Road World Championship kicked off with junior men’s and women’s races. Ryan Henderson also featured in the BMX Freestyle Park and there was another session on the track to look forward to.
O’Callaghan powered to a top 15 result in the elite men’s final at the Downhill World Championships in Fort William on Saturday afternoon.
The former Junior World Champion, O’Callaghan posted the 3rd quickest time and spent considerable time on the podium hot seat, ultimately finishing in 12th place a huge improvement on his qualifying run where he placed 26th.
The result was also more impressive as O’Callaghan’s run took place in rainy conditions while many other riders’ runs took place in more favourable conditions.
Three other Irish riders competed in the final today: Chris Cumming finished 42nd, Conor Bate 49th, and Niall Clerkin 51st.
Ronan Dunne was due to compete at the World Championships however, due to an injury sustained at home prior to arriving, it was hoped that Ronan would be fit to race but unfortunately his injury has not sufficiently healed and is still causing him issues.
Oisin O’Callaghan said, “The race run’s done, I’m stoked at the result and my best elite result so far – I ended up in 12th. I couldn’t be happier really, it’s close to the top ten so that’s a goal for the next one. I’m happy to be flying the Irish flag high and bringing it home for the Irish fans out there (on the course).”
Junior Road Race
The Road World Championships kicked off on Saturday as Seth Dunwoody and Liam O’Brien took on the junior men’s road race while Lucy Benezet Minns and Aine Doherty raced in the junior women’s road race.
Seth Dunwoody during the junior men’s road race (Image: SWPix)
Nine laps of the 14km circuit awaited the junior men as they took on a total of 127km around the Glasgow City Centre, which features several short and sharp climbs – the last of which – Montrose Street – was the most severe at almost 11% gradient for over 200m with slopes rising to over 14% in places.
O’Brien unfortunately suffered a crash towards the end of the opening lap before the Montrose Street climb, and after a bike change, he continued for almost two more laps.
However, O’Brien stepped off the bike before the end of the third lap after battling well throughout the race.
Dunwoody was amongst the main group for the opening two laps and remained in the top forty riders of the race until the final three laps but suffered cramp in the final 40km.
But the Armagh native persevered and came in to take a 69th place in his first Road World Championships at junior level.
Seth Dunwoody said:
“(My) first World Championships was a shock to the system to say the least. A longer race, 127km, longer than usual. Hell of a lot of corners to deal with but stayed upright for majority of the race. I had to get the elbows out on the first lap which was chaos. I think me and Liam started virtually at the back, so we had 155 riders in front of us to try make our way through.”
“Then early on in the race there was a split just in the group and I was just on the wrong side of it which was unfortunate but I kept plugging away around the course and ended forming a nice chase group of four up one of the steep climbs but the legs started to tighten up and cramp with about 40km to go so it was never going to look good after that.”
“I kept fighting, fighting my way around. The Irish crowds definitely pushed me around that until the very end, which was nice, but it was a surreal experience to say the least.”
Benezet Minns and Doherty delivered encouraging performances in the junior women’s road race on Saturday morning.
Benezet Minns showed strong determination to stay with an elite main bunch for the opening three laps as the top riders set a blistering pace throughout. She lost contact with that main group but battled well to earn a 32nd place finish.
Doherty suffered a crash in the opening 20km as well as a mechanical issue later in the race, but spurred on by a vocal Irish contingent roadside, finished in 50th place.
Aine Doherty during the junior women’s road race (Image: SWPix)
Both riders put in encouraging performances in a tough circuit which featured a series of technical corners within Glasgow City Centre.
Lucy Benezet Minns said, “It was good, it was fun. Probably not the ride that I know I’m capable of doing but it was good fun, and the Irish crowds were really good on the streets, which was great.
“It was full gas from the start which was a bit annoying for me. I got stuck behind a crash, so I was basically chasing for a lot of the first lap which was really frustrating. The crowds were really great.”
On the road, attention switches to the elite men’s road race on Sunday as an Ireland team of six riders take to the start line in Edinburgh.
In the Para-cycling Track World Championships, Chris Burns finished in 9th place in the Men’s C2 scratch race. A high paced race from start to finish, Burns now moves into 7th place in the omnium standings after three events.
Competing in his first bunch race on track, William Clifford finished in 8th place in the Men’s C3 scratch race, a very strong ride against a tough field.
Ryan Henderson was in action today competing in the BMX Freestyle Park qualifier. The rider from Belfast put in a solid first run scoring 58.8 with the average score from two runs counting towards qualification.
Henderson was fired up for his second run, however a fall in the opening stages of that run while attempting to land a double back flip cost him crucial points. Quick to remount his bike, Henderson was determined to make up for this and didn’t throw in the towel.
He finished with an average score of 41.00 which unfortunately wasn’t enough to see him through to the final.
Ryan Henderson said, “First run went well, I was happy with the first run. We felt well prepared going into this. Second run, I think I was just so fired up and so ready that when I dropped in, I just put an extra crank in so when I did the double back flip, I was landing so far past the landing I just missed the rotation. So, it is what it is. We’ve learned a lot from this one, we adjusted pretty quick I thought, I am happy but also disappointed with the second run but yah, just learning from each event and trying to bring it on to the next one.”
Ryan Henderson during the BMX Freestyle Park Qualification (Image: SWPix)
Results – Saturday, 5th August
Mountain Bike Downhill
Men Elite – Final
Oisin O’Callaghan (12th), Chris Cumming (42nd), Conor Bate (49th), Niall Clerkin (51st)
BMX Freestyle Park
Men Elite Qualifying: Ryan Henderson
Men C2 Scratch Race (Omnium): Chris Burns (9th)
Men C3 Scratch Race (Omnium): William Clifford (8th)
Women Junior Road Race: Lucy Bénézet Minns (32nd), Aine Doherty (50th)
Men Junior Road Race: Seth Dunwoody (69th), Liam O’Brien (DNF)