Ronan Dunne: Doing Dangerous Stuff Safely
Part One: The Must Watch
Ronan Dunne is one of the most exciting talents to grace the Downhill World Cup in the past several years. A 20-year-old farmer from Wicklow, Ireland, Ronan is the real deal.
Scroll back to Snowshoe 2022 and watch his face as the realization set in that he would be standing on a World Cup Podium, it’s simply spine-tingling. It’s the moment Ronan — then just 19-years-old — made history as the first Irish rider to stand on a UCI World Cup podium, shoulder to shoulder with some incredible company. It’s a day the Continental-Nukeproof ace will remember for the rest of his days.
But while this was the day most World Cup downhill fans were introduced to Ronan, he’s long held as the “one to watch” by his competitors on the elite circuit. If there is a dubious line or sketchy section on the track, Ronan will be sending it. He's the unofficial king of practice and in the second half of 2022 he exploded onto the World Cup circuit, both with his on-track results and off-track antics.
But just one year earlier it was all different. In 2021, Ronan wasn’t planning on racing anything, let alone World Cups. He’s won pretty much everything in Ireland — a fine place to live, but a location that can be tough to travel from to the sport’s biggest events. Making it all the harder for Ronan to gain the attention of international media and win industry support.
“No words could describe the feeling, so unreal and never thought it be possible that’s why I’ll do everything in my power to get that feeling back”
— Rónán Dunne, Continental-Nukeproof Factory Racing
This changed with a call from just north of the border from the Cumming family. They were also in a similar position, but the Cumming’s had a (slightly) ambitious plan — set up an elite team to support Irish riders on the world stage. Thanks to the support and belief of Continental Tires (and a little help from Nukeproof), this dream was made a reality in 2021 with the creation of Continental-Nukeproof Factory Racing.
It wasn’t just Ronan’s breakthrough result of 17th place at the 2021 Les Gets UCI World Cup that put the team on the map, the team has made the Continental-Nukeproof pits the go-to place for young strays to hang out. On any given Sunday, you will see a selection of energy capped young adults winding down after the race and having a good time. It’s serious racing and serious fun, all done in a supportive family environment.
Before we fully introduce you to the prestigious talent that is Ronan Dunne, its only right we give you a taster. What better way than sending Caldwell Visuals to capture a bit of the lifestyle and wildness from Ronan's back yard. While Wicklow, Ireland isn’t blessed with huge elevation, it houses some wicked technical terrain. Wet sniper roots and dicey booters make for some spicy practice tracks to prepare you for World Cup glory.
Tommy C captures the insanity perfectly, be sure to watch it again and again to take in the speed and skill of the proud Irishman.
The Must-Watch Edit:
Video by Cadwell Visuals
Soundtrack - Spectres 'The Head & the Heart' - with thanks to Artoffact Records - https://artoffact.com - & Storming the Base
Photos By Briggy Smalls