Adventure Racers are heading to the southern coast this weekend for the Skibbereen Charity Adventure Race SCAR to battle it out in the penultimate event for both Expert and Sport categories in the 2018 National Adventure Race Series. With titles still on the line and more importantly scores to be settled and previous bests to be challenged it looks like it will be a mighty day of racing.
In the Womens Expert category, while the title is already on its way to the wee county with Laura O’Driscoll amassing an astonishing 5 wins, the battle for placings is still open and it looks like Ger Kelly will be after the maximum points here in Skibbereen to make sure of second place in the series. It’s a tough bike course here so Yvonne Walsh, Regina Campbell will be expecting to do well and fight for the honors, Rose Murphy may be in with a podium shout also.
In the Mens Expert the focus will be on the 2 battling out for the overall series title, a win here for either Killian Heery or Shaun Stewart will put them on maximum points and force a showdown at Sea2 Summit in a few weeks’ time. On recent form Killian would appear to be the strongest position for this race but if the heavy summer of racing is starting to take its toll then the fresher legs and Shaun may win out on this one. The 2 most likely to be looking at that battle and spotting an opportunity to capitalize and sneak a win or at least a podium place will be Barry Cronin, on the back of a win and a second in his last 2 races, and Cathal Dillane. The dark horse to watch is Paul Mahon, some impressive feathers in his cap already this year and previous form on this course puts him in good stead and he will keep them looking over their shoulder.
The Mens Sport race should be the highlight of the day with 5 or 6 athletes all in with a shot. All eyes will be on the crucial kayak stage as this was a pivotal point in last years race which saw the lead change hands. In several of the Sport races this year the podium places have been decided by seconds rather than minutes and this should be a fast paced race right from the gun. We’re going to go for Matt Casey to just sneak this one and Bernard Smyth has a score to settle here also and Stephen Darby and Philip Smith should be in with a good shout…Gary Lalor will be looking to let fly as well after opting for the longer course in Killarney a few weeks ago and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if he finished strongly and nicked a podium place.
In the Womens Sport Race Regina Sheehan, fresh from a win in Killarney, will be looking to pick up valuable series points and will move in second place in the series after a finish here, Regina has only 4 results out of 5 to count so will leapfrog Marie Buicke in to second. A top 3 result here for Sharon Martin will pick up an additional few points and she will hold top spot going in to the last race in Westport in a few weeks’ time. For this race though its not all about these 2 and Caron McDermott, Debbie McCarty and Jenifer Wycherley have all an eye on the prize…we are going to go for Regina, Sharon and Jenifer for the podium here.
We sometimes tend to focus on the title chasers but the series is a great opportunity for athletes of all abilities, whether its to settle scores with clubmates, set benchmarks for themselves or just to track improvement over the year or years. Every year sees the emergence of new contenders and also sees regular competitors steadily improve and see the results of their training and its always good to see this progress…. The one to watch in this race is John Phelan (The Bikefit Physio)…John has been improving all year and has a few top 5 finishes to his name…he will be right up there with the best of them next year. In the expert series James Crowley has shown that the hard work pays off and he has steadily been moving up the ranks and is now becoming a regular top ten finisher, expect a decent result from him here again. Caron McDermott has also been putting a very consistent season together and it would be good to see this consistency rewarded at the weekend with another strong finish here and maybe even a podium spot.
Good Luck everyone and safe racing!!!
For full tables go to:
Quest Ireland SCAR Skibbereen Charity Adventure Race Westport Sea2Summit 2018 Dingle Adventure Race #multisportireland