World champions Atherton and Bruni chase 550-riders at Red Bull Foxhunt

Colin Ross produced an epic ride down the 2018 Red Bull Foxhunt to hold off Loïc Bruni and co and win for a fourth time.

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Local legend Ross had previously won three times on his mountain bike in Rostrevor between 2014-2016 before hunting down the pack last year as a Fox.

He returned to a record 550-rider field again this year, the biggest ever assembled for the unique mountain bike downhill race in Northern Ireland.

Three-time world downhill champion Bruni was joined by two-time world champion Gee Atherton and rising Irish MTB enduro star Greg Callaghan as the three Foxes.

Photographer Credit: Sebastian Marko/Red Bull Content Pool

Bruni, 24, declared on Instagram: “So much fun and carnage down the hill. This race brings back all the good feelings of riding bikes. I loved it!”

Lisburn’s Ross, though, knows no fear and he held his nerve from the mass start onwards to finish ahead of Canada’s Killian Bron and Ireland’s Glyn O’Brien with UCI MTB World Cup TV host Rob Warner in fifth.

Ross revealed: “It was so scary because we’d practiced in the dry, and then we were suddenly having to race on a freshly-greased track. I managed to build a decent enough lead and then about three quarters of the way into it I nearly had a massive crash, but I managed to get back on the bike. When you’re riding fast, all you want to think about is what’s in front of you but then all of a sudden you have to think about what’s behind as well. It’s a completely different kind of racing.”

Retired professional Warner, 48, said: “Today was one of the best days of my life. Once I got on the bridge I could see that there were one or two guys already on the downhill and once I got on to that I just let the brakes go. There are big jumps everywhere and blind drops – it’s a proper, full-blown, gnarly DH track.”