Victory at Beast of Ballyhoura, Ireland

Posted on 2015-07-03

The Beast of Ballyhoura race was back in residence at the University of Limerick last night for the prize giving ceremony, which was held at the Sports Pavilion restaurant.

Teams had the afternoon to rest up and sort out gear after the short coach ride back from the finish line in Kilfinanne and most then rode their bikes across to the Pavilion as it’s the other side of the huge campus. It was an ideal venue for such a big race and the tables soon filled up while the burger and salad meal went down well after all the race and hill food of the past few days.

Teams were anxious to here the results of course, and when RD Ivan Park arrived he gave each team the print out of their checkpoints visited plus any credits and penalties for them to check. This allowed teams to question any decisions before the results were finalised and it took around an hour for everything to be confirmed. (This was mainly as teams had penalties for riding on forbidden roads, but had to be persuaded this was correct and shown the tracks to convince them that they had!)

Once this was done it was time to give out the results in reverse order, with one member of each team going up to the podium to receive T-shirts for their team. Teams who knew they were in close contention with others were waiting, hoping not to hear their team called before their rivals.

Fifth were AR Team Polska, 4th Karlstad Multisport White (Sweden) and when these were announced the Irish racers realised that the home team ‘Get No Sleep’ had got into the top 3.  They placed an impressive 3rd, a great result for the team and Irish racing.  Then to the top two, and as expected it was Halti Adventure, the young team from Finland second, and the winners, who had defended their European title were adidas TERREX (UK).

In a very croaky voice Nick Gracie, the captain of adidas TERREX, thanked the organisers for a varied and challenging course, and thanked his team mates.  Jo Thom was still bandaged up from her nasty chin gash (which had cost the team a 3 hour visit to A&E). She had only joined the team as late replacement 2 weeks ago, and had not raced with them before.  Gracie said she was probably the strongest female racer he’d ever raced with, and thanked Stu Lynch for joining them at the last minute too saying, “Racing with him has shown me again why he’s the best Adventure Racer in the world.”  Chris Hope made up the winning four and he wasn’t showing any visible signs of 3 days of non-stop racing.  (He and Thom were the two in the team who had wanted to do more of the course at the end just to be sure of the points!)

Beside the podium there was a large green ‘model’ of the Ballyhoura Beast which most had not realised was actually a HUGE cake for all the teams, made by Ivan’s sister. So after receiving their winners cheque for the entry fee to this year’s AR World Champs in Brazil it was adidas TERREX who got to slay the beast and make the first of the cake before it was later shared around.

On the final ranking list 8 of the top 13 teams came from different European nations and there were 4 Irish teams in the top 10.  You can see the full ranking list here.

[The race will publish the full race data later today and this puts the teams in a different order to those on the leaderboard.  They’ve said all along the leaderboard is only the best approximation of what is happening at the time and the final results will be based on the teams timing chip data.

The changes are mainly because of the penalties for riding on a road right at the end of the course and as the checkpoints on the Ballyhoura Bike Trails and orienteering at the end are not shown on the leaderboard.  Also because in places on the treks the trackers of some teams did not update the leaderboard – so they visited some high scoring CP’s that didn’t register.  This is because the trackers are based on mobile phone signal so don’t cover 100% of the course.]