Cameron Orr was the top finisher for the province on the Nerang Mountain Bike Trails at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in Brisbane, Australia. Marc Potts finished 18th in the same race, after switching his focus from the track to the trails for the day.
While Potts has recently been more accustomed to the smooth fast track in a Velodrome, he relished the opportunity to test himself on the trails. “The mountain bike race was unreal,” described a still buzzing Potts after the race, “that’s the best atmosphere I’ve had at a race since I used to do downhill. Nothing can compare with it. Everyone was going crazy at the side of the track.”
The 32.2km race was won by New Zealand’s U23 Cross-Country World Champion Samuel Gaze in a time of 1 hour 17.36. Teammate Anton Cooper won silver and South Africa’s Alan Hatherly was third.
“From the gun four guys just rode off – the good guys like Sam Gaze rode off with other world cup riders, so I was left with guys of a decent level. They were still guys who had done world cups, but I knew I wasn’t competing to win, so I was just trying to enjoy myself, and it was brilliant,” Potts explained after the race.
The focus for the 26-year-old was to enjoy the racing – “I really, really enjoyed it, so glad I did it,” he admitted, “It was amazing, I was glad I was able to still do it again, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to ride the mountain bike fast, I was still alright. I wasn’t top level, but was still good enough to enjoy it. It was great,” added Potts.
Mountain biking is one of the most fun, and adrenalin fuelled strands of cycling, and Potts made the most of the opportunity to enjoy it on a top international stage –
“Everyone was going crazy at the side of the track. And there’s a section there at the bottom of the course with loads of jumps – there were loads of people going crazy wanting people to do the jumps, but I don’t think a lot of people were doing them. I think it’s quicker if they didn’t do them, but I was just doing them anyway, cos it was so much fun.”
Commenting on Orr’s performance, Manager, Anthony Mitchell said:
“Cameron was vying for 5th place throughout the race in a group of 3 and only dropped back on the final lap and was caught by an Australian, to end up 8th.
“This is an excellent performance from a first year senior rider building on his junior world cup placings in 2017.
“His result gives NI 3 top 8 placings in cycling events at the games with Marcus Christie’s 7th in the TT and Lydia Boylan’s 8th in the Women’s scratch event.
“Cycling concludes tomorrow (sat) with the Road Races with Eileen Burns and Lydia Boylan in action in the 112km women’s race and Mark Downey, Marc Potts, Marcus Christie, Xeno Young and Cameron Orr all in the 168km men’s event.”
Men’s Mountain Bike Race – 32.2km
Gold Samuel Gaze (New Zealand) 1.17.36
Silver Anton Cooper (New Zealand) 1.17.36
Bronze Alan Hatherly (South Africa) 1.17.36
8th Cameron Orr (Northern Ireland) 1.20.06
18th Marc Potts (Northern Ireland) LAP + 9.16