OMAGH’S Kelan Grant is going into his debut Enduro World Series season with confidence after enjoying a solid winter training schedule that has seen him tackle tracks from Tollymore to Tennessee.
And he faces much more travelling over the course of the next seven months, which will see him start the season with rounds in Chile and Columbia before races across Europe and Canada.
Having been working hard on his fitness and riding, with regular outings at Rostrevor and Tollymore Forest, the 24-year-old Team Chain Reaction Cycles Mavic man spent a week fine-tuning his skills in Wales before travelling to the USA for a pre-season test with his team-mates, reigning world champion Sam Hill and under-21 front-runner, Elliott Heap.
He found the trip to Tennessee’s Windrock Bike Park particularly ‘beneficial’ as it allowed him time to get to know and study his team-mates and get used to his new Nukeproof 650b bike, which has given him added confidence ahead of the World Series opener in Chile on March 24.
“It was brilliant, really good. We got loads of suspension testing done and because it’s a new bike to me, with new suspension and smaller wheels, I got plent of time on it and I’m getting along really well with it,” he explained.
“We [he and his team-mates] bonded really well, we did loads of riding and got to know each other, it was very beneficial.
“To have someone like Sam Hill as a team-mate is fantastic because he has a lot more experience than me and he has a unique style, so it was great to be able to follow him, to ride behind him and see what he does with the bike.
“My preparations have been really good, I’m just trying to stay healthy but I’m feeling confident ahead of the first round.
“Like me, everyone is going to be keen to do well, but I’m aiming for the top 20, so hopefully it will work out and it all goes to plan.”
Ahead of the season opener, Kelan got a very pleasant surprise from his team when presented with his new kit for the season. As the reigning Irish champion, Grant is entitled to have a ‘national sleeve’ on his shirt and he is delighted to stand out from the crowd.
“I’m really happy with the new kit with the national sleeve on it,” he beamed. “I wasn’t expecting that and to have us all kitted out the same, but to be a wee bit different is great!”
Enduro World Series schedule: March 24-25, Lo Barnechea, Chile; March 31-April 1, Manizales, Columbia; May 12-13, Olargues-Montagnes Du Caroux, France; June 30-July1, Petzen-Jamnica, Austria/Slovenia; July 21 and 22, La Thuile, Italy; August 12, Whistler, Canada; September 22-23, Ainsa-Sobrarbe, Spain; September 29-30, Ligure, Italy.