Last weekend saw Limerick’s Oisin O Callaghan who was recently crowned National Champion head to the alpine high-altitude resort of Pila to compete at the Ixs European Downhill Championship Round 4.
With European races structured like World Cups, they provide the perfect opportunity for improving time management and mental focus.
The resort has elevation of up to 9000ft with views of Mt Blanc and Matterhorn.
Oisin’s practice went well on Friday and saw him get up to speed straight away.
The course consisted like an old school track with plenty of corners to see who’s technique was up to it with quality rock gardens and 20ft drops with roots consistently looking to grab that front wheel.
With the weather getting very wet on Saturday Oisin decided to try a tyre suited for the damp conditions and give him that vital extra bit of grip.
In qualifying on Saturday, Oisin was in irresistible form, winning qualifying by 11 seconds and finishing top 20 in the Elites.
With a tough decision to make regarding tyres for the Sunday, Oisin chose wet tyres which would prove to be the major difference as he finished in second, just 0.3 seconds behind Portuguese National Champion with a time of 4 minutes and 4 seconds, a full 11 seconds better than his qualifying time. Ryan Brannen from the UK finished in 3rd place.
Big thank you to Rick Schubert for the photos, Ixs Cup organisers for a great weekend and Hotel Chacaril in Pila for their hospitality. Onwards to Val Di Sole World Cup to start sowing seeds for 2020