And so we head to West Cork for SCAR21, the penultimate event in the 2021 Continental Tyres National Adventure Race Series
. 3 out of the 4 titles still have several people in contention of winning the series and plenty are still in with a chance of a top 3 overall result. We expect a great day racing and when the dust settles on Saturday afternoon we will have a picture of where things stand and who is in primed for overall winner.
It’s a strong field and with the all new courses it should make for interesting racing. The beloved “wall” is still on the bike route so all those that love the bit of suffering in the bike will still get your fix!
Weather is looking mixed…small chance of a few showers….as they say in Squid Game….”good rain knows the best time to fall”.
In the Women’s Expert race Ellen Vitting looks like the main contender here and expect her to win and have a little to spare here. A win will put her in pole position with just 1 event after this and we don’t see her being beaten on Saturday. The fight for the podium sees Nessa Rochford and Fiona Meade as the likely challengers, and Ger Kelly, Anna Field, Ann Horan and Heather O’Brien will be in with a shout. Ellen for the win, Nessa 2nd and Fiona third….Heather and Anna to complete the top 5 we think.
In the Men’s Expert Luke McMullan definitely won’t win, absolutely not, has no chance at all…there, that’s the form guide curse/jinx removed!! The pace of the first 14km run may be critical and an early break might split the group before the first of 3 bike stages. Sebastien Giraud has been the man of the moment, a great win at FEAR makes it 2 out of 2 for him, expect him to be fighting for the top spot right to the end here, a win for Seb would ensure him the overall series title so expect him to take no prisoners. After a ding dong battle with Seb 2 weeks ago Luke might have his racing fully tuned in and will be relishing the chance to win this. John Magner, Philip Smith, Colin Pollock and Darren Quinn all line out and could be well in the mix. From what we have seen it appears to be Seb or Luke for the win…if Luke has a buffer by the kayak then he should hold it, if Seb in the mix by the kayak then he could take it. Hard to call who will round out the top 3, John Magner is the likely favourite…but sure anything can happen on the day and maybe Philip, Darren and Colin might earn a spot in the honours.
In the Women’s Sport race Niamh Cleary makes the trip to Castlehaven safe in the knowledge that she has already secured the National title so that must take a bit of pressure off. Denise Molloy had a super result in FEAR and will be in a shot but Orla Hayes has a good chance to upset the party for Niamh. Nicola Ennis and Suzie Mitchel might push for top 3 but our bet is Niamh, Orla and Denise for the silverware. Much like the mens race the top 5 reaching the kayak will share the spoils so getting to kayak wary is critical.
The Men’s sport race could be the Series leader Bernard Smyth will need a good result here to try and close out the series and not end up with a showdown in Wicklow at Quest Glendalough. There is serious competition here, John Mullin is probably on paper the favourite but Kevin McGuinness will be chasing a win after 2 second place finishes in his last 2 outings. After a great performance in Q12 Beara Gary Lawlor is on the start list and returns to the shorter stuff, should be considered a serious contender if he starts. Declan Donnellan, James Crowley, Steven Darby, Cathal Dillane and John Phelan are all top 5 contenders and might have an outside short at a podium….A risky bet here…we would be wise to keep our money in our pockets as it might be foolish to try and predict this….but we’ll shout Mullin/McGuinness/Smyth for top 3.
Disclaimer: Form guide is based on very unreliable data and even more unreliable analysis which factors in full moons, high tides, Bitcoin prices, current mart prices, European interest rates and should be viewed as no more than the rambling of an old adventure racer who has too much time on his hands. 🙂