Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

World Cup star Gee is in hunt for Red Bull victory

Mountain to climb: Riders battle it out in last year's Red Bull Fox Hunt in Cave Hill Country Park, Belfast

Four hundred riders will experience the thrill of the chase this weekend as Red Bull Fox Hunt returns to Ulster for a third year.

One of the biggest mass start downhill events in Europe will take place in the picturesque surroundings of the Mourne Mountains, at the Rostrevor Mountain Bike Trails.

Downhill mountain biking legend and multiple World Cup winner Gee Atherton has returned to Northern Ireland for the innovative downhill-pursuit challenge in which the hunters become the hunted.

This time 'the fox', Gee Atherton, is in pursuit of the hounds – 400 bikers who hail from Northern Ireland, the Republic and England, all competing in this fast-paced, cross-country, downhill mountain bike chase on the new tracks at Kilbroney Park.

Following qualifier Time Trials tomorrow, the chase will begin in earnest with the blast of a bugle on top of Slieve Martin on Sunday (1pm).

Riders can take in the beauty of the Newry and Mourne scenery before descending through sections of trail, moorland and forest to the sprint finish in an attempt to win the coveted bespoke Red Bull Fox Hunt trophy.

Last year Atherton was beaten to the finish by Greg Callahan.

"It felt pretty damn good to beat someone of such a high calibre," he said.

"I definitely had a bit of a buzz for a while after that one. Hopefully this year's race will be just as good – the guys always put on a great event."

Red Bull have brought in trail design specialists to construct a track to truly test the riders.

The 3.5 km single track is made up of variable mountain biking terrain, including fast descents, gravel transitions, forest trails as well as steep drops and jumps. This epic course is not for the faint of heart and is guaranteed to give both Atherton and the hunters a very tough challenge.

Atherton said: "I've been waiting for it all year. I was second last time so now I'm looking to win it but it's getting a bit more difficult every year because everyone is pushing harder, but I'm definitely there to win."

Spectators are welcome to come and cheer for hounds or the fox!

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