On the 12th of September a unique road race, the Red Bull Road Rage, took place high in the French Pyrennees. I represented Ireland amongst a World Class field thanks to support from Mick Jordan from The Cycle Inn and finished 6th just behind legend Cédric Gracia with Frédéric Moncassin in 1st. Ben from Spoke.ie recently met with me for a chat about my experiences of the race and future plans.
* What was your motivation to take part in RBRR?
I’ve always been into anything that gives me a good adrenalin kick especially if two wheels are involved. Not many people seem to be able to keep up with me on the road downhills here in Wicklow so I thought I’d give it a shot. I never expected to do so well because I’d never had the chance to race top pros but now that I’ve proved I’m at their level I’m even more motivated to do the next one.
* What characteristics do you think you need to make a good RBRR downhiller?
There are several characteristics that play a decisive role in making a good RBRR racer: It involves two distinctly different disciplines, the first one being an individual time trial for the qualifying and seeding run and the second racing as a group of four, similar to 4X in mountainbiking. There are loads of twists and turns at speeds of up to 100km/h, so you have to be a confident technical bike handler capable of high levels of concentration who is also comfortable with the fear factor and high adrenaline levels. The important thing is to get the right lines through the corners to carry your speed through as well as have qualities of a sprinter to accelerate quickly out of bends. That said doing all the above correctly doesn’t automatically result in victory, as sometimes you also have to play it smart. Drafting competitors can give you the edge in top end speed down the finishing straight and help you cross the line in first place which is why Moncassin won in the end.
* How do you feel about your 6th place considering you were lining up against such a strong field containing so many pros and ex-pros?
To be honest I was fairly disappointed not to make the final because I was one of only 2 riders to have a top 4 time in every round and I missed out through a photo finish. Then again I had the 3rd fastest time on the day and fastest time in the wet which gives me good confidence going into the next race.
* Having raced one RBRR how do you expect the experience to help you the next time ’round?
I learnt a lot about tactics and racing in the 4 cross format. Coming so close has also really fired up my motivation to try even harder to make the final and hopefully even climb up on the podium.
* Being a new event, Where do you see RBRR going from here?
I can see the sport growing over the next few years, even possibly becoming a full blown series spread over a season. Already the next event was oversubscribed so registration for male participants had to be closed early. This can only be a good sign in terms of its growing popularity. I guess time will tell how it really develops as a sport.
* When are you next racing a RBRR?
I have signed up for the next RBRR event which takes place near Nuremburg, Germany on 10 October 2009. This promises to be slightly different compared to previous events as the road will be much narrower and the course generally more technical which suits my strengths. This event is also the first RBRR where separate categories for men and women have been implemented which is good to see.
* Any last words?
I would like to say a huge thanks to my generous sponsor Mick Jordan from the Cycle Inn, without whose support this would not have been possible.
Full table of times and results for the first Red Bull Road Rage in France.
Individual time trial and seeding run – Dry road. 4th with a time of 4m19s171 – Moncassin clocks fastest time of the day and betters me by 5.9 seconds.
|Pos.||NAME||#||Qualif. time||Avg. km/h|
|7||Luca Pais Maden||37||04:22.147||54,93|
|17||François Xavier Plaçais||18||04:32.398||52,86|
|20||Jean phillipe cerquiera||46||04:34.354||52,49|
|27||Pierre Jean Rigaud||32||04:39.102||51,59|
|32||Sebastien st Criq||16||04:42.849||50,91|
1/8 finals – Wet road. Fastest time this round with 4m17s187 (3rd fastest of the day and fastest time in the wet).
|Pos.||NAME||#||1/16 finals time||Avg. km/h|
|7||Luca Pais Maden||37||04:22.318||54,90|
|21||François Xavier Plaçais||18||04:32.234||52,90|
|22||Jean phillipe cerquiera||46||04:32.345||52,87|
|29||Pierre Jean Rigaud||32||04:33.494||52,65|
|36||Sebastien st Criq||16||04:37.934||51,81|
1/4 finals – First round under heavy rainfall which persisted until the finals. 2nd fastest time of the round with 4m33s964.
|Pos.||NAME||#||1/8 finals time||Avg. km/h|
|13||François Xavier Plaçais||18||04:47.793||50,04|
|22||Jean phillipe cerquiera||46||05:14.692||45,76|
1/2 finals – 4th fastest time of the round with 4m32s434. Mid race format change resulted in only the group winner going through to the final, thus shortening the race by one round. Missed out on a place in the final by a photo finish: 0.307s! Identical situation for Cédric Gracia who was beaten by 0.02s, but adjudicated to be close enough to be called a draw and allowed race in the final. Result: Overall 6th place.
|Pos.||NAME||#||1/4 finals time||Avg. km/h|
|8||François Xavier Plaçais||18||04:42.864||50,91|
Final – Frédéric Moncassin is victorious! Fastest man all day and a deserved winner!!
|Pos.||NAME||#||Finals time||Avg. km/h|