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 2019 Continental National Adventure Race Series.
While the expert series title was settled when Shane Scully recorded his 5th win of the series at Quest Killarney last weekend, second and third places in that category are still in the mix and with just 2 races to go there is still everything to play for all the other categories and still time for a few people to lay claim to the top 3 spots. With only a week since the last round of the series in Killarney there may be some tired legs but we are sure there are scores to be settled and personal goals to be met and we are looking forward to a cracker in Skibbereen.
In the women’s expert race Ellen Vitting should be a firm favorite to take the win here. On the back of a fantastic win in Killarney a top spot here in Skibbereen will move her to the top of the series table. An interesting name in the start list is Fiona Meade, a former winner and a phenomenal athlete, for sure she is more than capable of winning this race. Ger Kelly has been consistently producing great results all year and will be a strong contender, and as a past winner she knows this course well. Karen Shannon has been having a great year also and like Ger has the benefit of completing Ironman Cork so this will help enormously on this course which favors the stronger cyclists. Gillian Power has been promising a big performance, she recorded a good finish at Off The Bloom which was also bike heavy. Long distance AR racers Linda O’Connor and Yasmin Kenny will have no problem with this distance but we will have to see if they can match the speed on this course and Yvonne Thompson could take her best result of the year here. Based on this years form it looks like Ellen for the win, Ger second and Karen for third…we haven’t seen Fiona race for a while but if she is race fit then we won’t be surprised if she pushes Ellen all the way and we are likely to see her on the podium.
The competition for second and third in the men’s expert series has headed up to boiling point and the outcome of the SCAR expert race could have an impact on the final standings. With a strong field here we are expecting a fascinating race and the stronger bikers should have an advantage. Barry Cronin has been the most consistent racer this year and is a SCAR veteran…once the beast of a course at Quest Killarney last weekend hasn’t drained the legs then we think Barry is well positioned to notch up his first National Series win of the year. Sebastien Giraud too has been in flying form this year and has been up there with the best of the bikers so he will feel confident that he too can come in first here. John Magner, Darren Quinn, James Crowley, Kieran Crowley and Tadgh Moriarty will be looking to join the Barry and Seb on the podium…Darren is due a good result but we think John Magner will be fresher after sitting out Killarney and are calling it as Barry/Seb/John.
The Mens Sport race once again looks to be where the most competitive racing will be and as is now the case there are at least 5 or 6 athletes all in with a shot. At a slightly longer than normal distance the crucial kayak stage will be a pivotal point in the race. 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. Philip Smith is the man of the moment and has delivered some fantastic results in the last few races. A win or even a top 3 here will move him to the top of the series table so he will be much focused and will be hard to beat. Bernard Smyth has a strange relationship with this course, could this be the year he overcomes bad luck and take a podium spot? Stephen Darby will of course perform well here as he usually does but John Phelan could sneak into the top 3 also and Leon Whelton and Jerry Keohane are surely top 5 contenders. Positioning at the kayak stage is crucial…there can be up to 2 minutes made or lost on this stage. Philip or Bernard for the win…form says Philip but Bernard is due some luck here, Stephen Darby for 3rd and the wildcard is Declan Donnellan…he has been threatening all year and has come close on occasion but we think he is the man to watch and just might end up on the podium here.
In the Womens Sport Race, Niamh Cleary is hoping to pick up points which could move her up from her current 3rd position. Second in Killarney last week going 1 better here has to the goal. A good result in Lough Derg and the benefit of not racing last week will boost Orlaith Smiths chances here and Niamh Garvey and Catherine Hallahan are also looking to increase their points standings. However Agnieszka Wozniak is likely to be amongst the favourites and a veteran of this race will be the one to beat. We are going for Agnieszka/Niamh C/Orlaith for top 3 and Catherine and Niamh G for top 5. Sharon Martin, Debbie McCarty and Jenifer Wycherley to follow these up.