Mud, wet and gears...
The Epic Blast 2010,
Ballinastoe Mountain Bike Park, County Wicklow

Sunday 19 September 2010


Winner of the 2010 Blast - Greg Callaghan

The Blast is a unique mountain bike race which takes place each year in Ballinastoe Mountain Bike Park, County Wicklow. Hosting club EPIC have built up a reputation for running top notch events such as the Irish National Mountain Bike Champions and this year’s Blast was no exception. The format of the event is a spectacular combination of gravity assisted downhill racing and lung busting cross country mountain biking.

The course starts off on the top of the mountain in an open bog and gradually works its way down through the trees with lots of newly added drops and jumps. Heavy rain all day made for the wettest Blast in history with rivers running down the track in the pitch black wooded sections. But the weather didn’t stop anyone, over 300 riders signed on to battle it out for the title of ‘Ireland’s Deadliest Mountain Biker’

Practice seemed pointless, staying warm and saving your energy was the best tactic. The day started with the heats, followed by the finals and then the main blast. Heavy mist and driving rain at the top of the hill caused the organisers to shorten the bog trot for the heats and finals but no one seemed to mind, rather that than stand around in the freezing cold!

The first place finals were won by Dublin rider Niall Davis (biking.ie) with Newry’s masked crusader Glyn O’Brien (firtstracksguiding.com) in second followed by fellow Newry man Conor Campbell (revolutionbikestore.com) in third. But this meant absolutely nothing at all... the main event was yet to come.

Over 300 riders lined up at the top of a bog roaring and shouting, some from the cold, some from the fear but everyone was doing it for the fun! The flag drops, riders pedal off and everything goes blank for the next few minutes. I remember a few things, absolute carnage going into the first forest, the cheering marshals who stood out in the rain all day and crazy spectators waiting for crashes at the ‘Big Vinnie’ drop off... It’s such a crazy race, something every biker should experience.

Greg Callaghan took a great win and now holds the title of Ireland’s Deadliest Mountain Biker! The Blast is always the most fun race each year, thanks to EPIC for hosting another cracker.

Report: Niall Davis • www.Biking.ie


The ten gnarliest mountain bikers on the Island - official...

Richie Byrne makes like he's feeding the 5,000...

We spoke to 'Blast' winner Greg Callaghan about his new bike, set-up and title...

"The bike is a Solid Blade, supplied by OC Tuning. The intention was for the bike to be a winter training bike to be used for all mountain riding, but it turned out to handle the downhill stuff a lot better than expected, it also climbs like a xc full suss which is great and makes it the perfect bike for the Blast.

"I've had it out on 5 hour xc spins and gone for a days downhilling and it handled both better than I could have ever imagined, it really is an all round bike! I got the new 2011 Fox Talas forks with the kashima coating which feel amazing. We also built it up with Reverse components which helped keep the weight down and the strength up.

"We ended up building the perfect bike for The Epic Blast and I knew it would give me a good chance at the win yesterday... and that's exactly what it did.

"I have the option of running the bike at 160mm or 130mm of travel on the rear and chose for the 160mm setting for the blast because of the jumps and some of the rough bits. I made most of my time up on the downhill bits because of this but then managed to still stay ahead on the climbs. With Niall Davis being a xc rider and on a hardtail made it obvious that it would be tough to keep him behind me on the climbs, thankfully the bike pulled me up the climbs and I managed to fend him off and hold on to the end.

"I plan to use it for some of the Irish downhill races next year on some of the smaller, flatter courses and I think it will be more than able for it."


To see überdog's photographs from the Heats CLICK HERE

To see überdog's photographs from the Main Blast CLICK HERE

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Video by gavogavin hosted on www.pinkbike.com that proves its not about the results, its about the craic. There's nothing like racing 300 riders for a space barely big enough for two, this was the view shared with marshall Paul Cummin's - the eejit on the megaphone... enjoy.
See the original at: http://www.pinkbike.com/video/160975/