jonathan maunsell

Jonathan Maunsell Wins Round 4 of Grass Roots

One half of our Irish Enduro racing family was back in action yesterday at Round 4 of the Grassroots Enduro Series. Jonathan Maunsell has had a stellar year so far with several big victories aboard his Process 153CR. This weekend was no exception, capturing yet another victory at the Grassroots.

He said,  “After taking the win at the first 3 rounds, I was feeling the target on my back this weekend but the DH style stages suited me and I’m happy to make it 4/4! Looking forward to heading out to Europe for the next EWS round!”

Action shots: @home_of_the_mind

Podium pic: @cahirmedia

Leah and Jonathan Maunsell take first and first at Round 4 of the Grassroots Enduro Series

How fitting that our last race before we head off to France would be at home in Ballyhoura for Round 4 of the Grassroots Enduro Series. It would seem that this season has consisted of lots of wet races so why would this one different? It rained all week in the lead up to race weekend which would certainly affect the trails and make for a very exciting race. Especially considering the one day blind race format which is unique to this series – meaning that riders do not get to practice in advance, but can attempt the three stages as many times as they like before the cut-off time. Getting out early was going to be key if you wanted any chance of racing on clean stages. As we predicted the track conditions deteriorated throughout the day.
Team Maunsell had a great day and luckily put in some fantastic stage times early on in the day. Although the trails may have gotten slower throughout the day, it didn’t dampen the spirits or the fun. It was such a good day riding with all of the locals and catching up with familiar faces. You can’t beat that feeling of racing at home. Jonathan put in the fastest time of the day to win the Elite Men and Leah won the Women’s Category and posted a time that would have placed her 5th overall! Two Kona Process 153DL’s on the top step!

Kona Super Grassroots rider Leah Maunsell wins at County Down

This weekend was the final Enduro race of the season for me and there was no better way to wrap it up! Team Maunsell made the five-hour journey up North to the FirstTracks Enduro Cup in Donard, Co Down. It was sure to be a great weekend with 5 natural stages at a new venue for us!img_5346

Saturday practice didn’t get off to the best start for me after suffering a muscle spasm in my back early on. But after a quick trip to the chemist to get some healing stuff, I was good to head back up the hill for more practice. It was a long day on the hill but it was worth it for the 5 amazing dry stages. The weather forecast wasn’t so promising for race day though!

Sunday morning came and it was a race against the rain! Dad and I headed out early and only got caught in one shower heading up for our final stage. Jonathan, however, had completely different track conditions later in the day after the rain.

The stages were technical and had quite a few tight sections. You really had to be consistent and not make too many mistakes as there wasn’t much pedalling to make back time. I was happy with how my day went, having consistent smooth stages. Time to head back to the paddock to check in our times.img_5347

There’s a first time for everything! Team Maunsell take a podium position each in their respective categories for the first time! Leah won the Elite Women’s category, Jonathan came third in Elite Men and Cieran (Dad/Mechanic/Driver) came third in his age category (old man category)! What a successful end to a fantastic Enduro season. All three Kona Process 153DL’s performed perfectly all weekend! Now onto the final race of the season, a downhill race next weekend.img_5348

Leah Maunsell reports from The Kona Rookies Camp at Serfaus Fiss Ladis in Austria

20160806_180527Wow! What a great week spent with amazing people. This week Leah and Jonathan Maunsell headed out to Bikepark Serfaus Fiss Ladis in Austria for the Kona Rookies Camp. The camp group came together on Monday evening and the Bikepark shredding began early on the following day. Jonathan was there to spend the week coaching and tutoring the young rippers alongside Alicia Kuhne and Andre Vogele. Leah joined the camp and listened in for some tips. It wasn’t long before Jonathan realized he wouldn’t be doing all the teaching, but perhaps learning some style from the young kids who started at just 10 years of age and were already sending all the jumps and even doing suicide no handers.20160801_174342

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday consisted of lots of fast bike park laps and some big mountain descents including the newly improved Frommes Trail. The work the trail shapers do at Bikepark Serfaus Fiss Ladis is second to none and has to be seen for yourself.IMG_5032

It was obvious that everyone’s riding ability had really come on leaps and bounds during the week as all of the kids tackled the challenging race track for the IXS Cup and the Kona International Rookies Cup. Friday’s practice was cancelled due to extremely wet weather conditions, however the Pumptrack Challenge still went on with a really good display of skills on show.

p4pb13792049The downhill track went from dusty berms to sloppy corners overnight, but that didn’t hold back the young racers as they smashed out plenty of practice runs early Saturday morning ahead of the afternoons racing. Leah had a good race run taking her to third position in the U17/19 girls race. She was very happy with this considering it was her first DH race outside of Ireland.IMG_5029

Sunday morning arrived and the sloppy corners had turned to drier mud but it wasn’t long before it became almost as bad as the previous day. Jonathan spent the morning on track offering up any tips or line choice advice to any of the young Kona Rookies Camp kids. Leah’s race run wasn’t so clean with a big off causing her to get caught up in the race tape and wasted a lot of time trying to get on track.IMG_5028

Now that the week has come to an end, we now have the time to watch back some of the crazy Go Pro footage and remember all the good times we had this past week. It’s time to say thank you to everyone that has been a part of making this week so good.

Huge thank you to Kona Bikes for this amazing opportunity and we can’t wait to go back again next year!

Leah Maunsell dominates her home tracks in the Irish Gravity Enduro Series

This weekend was a home race for Team Maunsell at their local in Ballyhoura for round two of the Irish Gravity Enduro Series. Saturday was practice day and it didn’t get off to the best start. Jonathan crashed early on Stage 1 taking a hard hit, crushing his fingers. He went to get them checked out by the medics, luckily they were just badly bruised and he would be ok to race. The rest of the day consisted mainly of having the craic with some friends and enjoying dialling in some good lines.

Sunday was race day with five stages to get done. The weather was very changeable and after practicing on mostly dry trails on Saturday the rain came in over night changing the trails dramatically. This was good for Team Maunsell as they knew what the trails rode like in all conditions.

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It was going to be a tough day out on the longest loop of the series with the very unpredictable weather conditions. Leah got off to a good start and kept it clean for most of the day. She really enjoyed racing at home and especially racing down stage five which was the trail ‘Peace Process’ built by her brother Jonathan. It was a really steep, technical, muddy trail – the Maunsell’s favourite! Leah took her Process 153DL to the top spot in the Elite Women’s category!

Jonathan snapped his chain on the start line of stage one. He fixed it and rode on for the day to come back and place fourth and second on the final two stages just two seconds off the win on both! On the bright side he is on the ferry to France right now headed to the Alps for two months. Next up for Team Maunsell is the EWS round in La Thuile Italy.

Leah Maunsell takes the win at the First Tracks Enduro

IMG_4084This weekend Team Maunsell made the journey from one corner of Ireland to the other, heading to the First Tracks Enduro in Bigwood up north. It was an early start, leaving home at 6am on Saturday morning, but with the sun shining it made things a little easier. Team Maunsell had an extra member representing them this weekend too, with Papa Maunsell (Cieran) making a comeback from injury. It was a new venue for Leah and Cieran so the excitement levels were high.IMG_4086-1

Saturday was practice and although the weather was good, the tracks were still a bit greasy. Unfortunately Jonathan didn’t have much luck and suffered a really bad crash in practice on stage one taking him out for the remainder of the day. He hit a tree at full speed and suffered a very bad dead leg. Leah and Cieran finished out the day hassle free and were ready for race day. The stages were tough with lots of flat and uphill sprinting. Sunday was going to be a tough days racing.IMG_4087-1

After a full evening and morning doing everything he could to get his leg feeling somewhat like normal Jonathan wasn’t going to be able to race at full speed. He was still determined to get out and ride despite having no practice on the stages and suffering badly when it came to sprinting. Adrenaline kept him upright and he rode to a 12th place finish in Elite Men.IMG_4090

Leah had a good day, with consistent stage times taking her Process 153DL to the top of the podium in the Elite Women’s category. Cieran also had a really good day and his results prove that all that time off from injury didn’t hold him back too much. He came third in the old man category on his Kona Process 167!

 

Leah Maunsell reports from Round One of the Irish Downhill series

The first round of the Irish Downhill MTB Series kicked off last weekend. It was the usual one day of practice on the Saturday and one seeding run, followed by a timed race run on Sunday morning. The weather was very changeable on Sunday with the track running completely different every run down. It was a wet seeding run after practicing mostly in the dry.IMG_5567I had a good smooth seeding run putting me in first place for finals. I rode a good race run with no mistakes to take the win in elite women by 36 seconds.

Jonathan seeded in 4th in elite men on his Process 153DL, just 3 seconds back. In finals he was on a solid run until he had a disaster three feet from the finish line, crashing into a tree!IMG_5564

This weekend it’s back to enduro racing up in Northern Ireland for the us so stay tuned

 

 

 

Jonathan Maunsell rides the Precept 200 in Crans-Montana

While we had enduro shredder Jonathan Maunsell with us in Switzerland for our recent All Mountain Precept shoot, we figured it was too good an opportunity not to utilize the small Irishman’s skill and speed to test the Precept 200 in the incredibly picturesque setting of the Crans-Montana bike park. The Precept 200 was practically built for the place, it handled multiple laps of the rugged DH tracks with aplomb and begged for more.

The results of these multiple laps have been worked in to this short but very sweet Precept 200 video, where Jonathan’s riding and the Precept 200 speak for themselves.

Precept-Kona-Crans-9890The Precept 200 (that’s 200mm of travel) is the ultimate bike for first time downhillers, or those on a bit of budget. It takes design cues from the Operator platform and rolls them into a more affordable package. Affordable doesn’t mean we skimped on the parts though, the Precept 200 features a RockShox Boxxer RC fork up front, the ever reliable RockShox Kage R shock out back, SRAM Guide R brakes and bombproof Truvativ Ruktion cranks.

Precept-Kona-Crans-9987Designed with geometry and suspension characteristics similar to our Operator platform, the Precept 200s Swinger Independent Suspension platform had its leverage rate curve refined to improve overall performance: more consistent in the beginning, with an overall more intuitive and predictable feel.

Find out more about the Precept 200 here.

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Two Days in the Alps on the All-New 2016 Precepts

To showcase the breadth and depth of Kona’s Precept Platform, we headed deep into the Swiss Alps, the heartland of up, down and all around mountain biking. With trails that wind through every type of challenge and vista, it was the perfect place to capture the pure, all-mountain essence of Kona’s 2016 Precept 120, 130 and 150.

crans_precept_PB-Our shoot started with a well-organized plan. Take a super fast enduro racing Irish brother and sister, put them on a plane to Switzerland, get them on board our Precept range, then set them free. The mountain though, had other ideas. On what would be the third shot of the trip, Kona Super Grassroots rider Leah Maunsell went down. It was an awkward bail that left her with a cleanly broken wrist. Time for a plan B.

crans_precept_PB-7358It just so happened that Leah’s chaperone, sponsor and fully converted fat bike rider Garry Daveron was on hand to step up. The question was, could he remember how to ride a “normal” mountain bike? The answer was a resounding yes.

crans_precept_PB-7485After getting Leah back from hospital, we awoke the next morning to a light drizzle that soon turned into a heavy snowfall. Extremities begin to freeze and once grippy roots relinquish any and all traction.

crans_precept_PB-7706 snow v2The trails in and around the Crans-Montana resort are massively varied, with roots, rocks, pine needles, and ball-bearing sized pebbles around every corner. Want a bit more excitement, just add water—or in our case, snow.

crans_precept_PB-7933Kona’s in-house filmmaker, Joonas Vinnari knows a thing or two about the cold. Born and raised in Helsinki, the Finn came prepared for the wild fall weather that can often hit the Alps in September.

crans_precept_PB-7824Outside of the Crans-Montana Bike Park boundaries we found ourselves sharing the trials with a multitude of users, from horse riders and walkers, to ski-pole-totting mountain runners, and just about the entire Swiss Jeep Club.

crans_precept_PB-8149When fingers and toes went numb, we retreated to our chalet’s outdoor fireplace for a quick warm up.

crans_precept_PB-9510-v2The clouds and snow didn’t stick around though, and the sun soon pushed through, revealing what was hidden from us earlier in the day—a high-speed ribbon of Swiss bliss singletrack. Paralleling a high mountain stream, the ride was pure natural flow, punctuated by the perfect amount of tech.

crans_precept_PB-7123Crans-Montana had invited some of Europe’s leading graffiti artists to cover up every bare bit of concrete on the hill. Literally every mountain building (and there are a lot of them) had a coat of fresh spray paint, with some amazing artworks on display.

crans_precept_PB-8208As much as we wanted to find more hidden graffiti, one epic hike-a-bike was calling our name. It didn’t look that steep from a distance, but riding up this thing just wasn’t happening. Bikes were shouldered and the awkward pelican case housing the drone was reluctantly dragged to the top.

crans_precept_PB-8378We’d been promised an epic backcountry descent off the back, but the previous day’s snow had hidden any sign of trail. When we did eventually find it, it was under a foot of snow and then half that again of sticky mud.

crans_precept_PB-8460Lunchtime in the Swiss Alps is all about cheese and sausage.

crans_precept_PB-8547The sun had been out all day, and what looked like a black ribbon through white mountainside earlier had changed dramatically after lunch. The snow was melting fast and that meant staying on track was becoming a whole lot easier. The flipside was the trail had become a veritable river of smile-inducing mud.

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Not only did Joonas have to look out for his own low-flying drone, he had to contend with angry eagles.

crans_precept_PB-9213Alpine rocks gave way to high-speed alpine meadows as we descended out of the slush zone. The Precept 150’s were on fire, bobbing, weaving, and boosting along surprisingly technical trails.

crans_precept_PB-8801This is what alpine riding on 150mm travel bikes is all about.

crans_precept_PB-9025When we spied this piece of track we decided a little detour was in order, that was, until the cliff above us started spitting out diner plate size pieces of shale as the snow continued to melt.

crans_precept_PB-6784After traversing across the top of Crans-Montana we performed a bit of a loop and headed back mid-mountain. This traverse kept us on our toes and offered insane views. At times it was fast, others it was steep, the whole time rocky as hell.

crans_precept_PB-6952Did I say that the traverse back across mid mountain was good? Well it was, much better than taking those stairs way up in the cliff that is for sure.

crans_precept_PB-7306The traverse puts you back at the top of the Crans-Montana Bike Park proper where you have a couple of classic European bike park options down. Berms, tables, and even more berms await on the intermediate trail, while the black advanced trail is a rugged, steep and raw descent that would have your hands shaped like a claws after only a couple of runs.

crans_precept_PB-9509-v2We opted for a little of both.

crans_precept_PB-9401Kona would like to thank Marilyne at Crans-Montana Tourism as well as the Crans-Montana Bike Park. We’d like to thank our athletes Leah and Jonathan Maunsell, and Garry Davoren for stepping in to fill Leah’s shoes and spending a few days on a narrow tired bike. You know you love it.

Super Grassroots Rider Jonathan Maunsell shreds Intellectual Property in Les Arcs

This video should suck. It’s shaky, it’s mostly handheld, the filmer’s bike is in at least five of the shots and to make matters worse the whole thing is shot on a super sunny dappled light day. But Super Grassroots rider Jonathan Maunsell’s flowy and fast riding (he did build the trail after all) makes this video worth watching, in fact the riding and the trail will have you forgetting just how lo-fi the whole thing is and wanting to get out side and ride. Fast.

Jonathan Maunsell takes the win in Cyprus! 

Kona super grassroots rider Jonathan Maunsell recently travelled to Cyprus to compete in the second last round of the Cyprus Downhill Cup. 

“I got the invite last minute from the guys at The Pro Rider performance centre, a Kona dealer on the island. I travelled to the final round at the end of last season and thought it would be a great trip to round of my season again this year! The guys from the scene there are very friendly and are passionate about growing the sport. So I helped to design a new DH track during my visit last year and it was cool to see the building process is going well and they are racing that track in the final round of the series”

IMG_4315The format for the race was a little different to your typical DH style, practice was on Saturday and on Sunday the best of two runs counted. Jonathan stuck in a fantastic second run to take the win on the day! 

“I was sitting in second place after run 1 around 2.5s behind the current national champ Andreas Theodorou. I took some extra chances on my second run and took the win by just 0.1 of a second! It was such a tight battle and great racing” IMG_4313

Jonathan would like to sent out  a massive thank you to everyone who made this trip possible and so damn enjoyable. 

All Photos: Andreas Iacovou