If you have ever thought about giving Enduro racing a crack then the Mini Enduro series could be the place to start. Easy transitions with fun and technical timed stages all in a day belting round the woods with your mates, what more do you need? Our man Sandy Plenty hit the first Mini Enduro and caught up with UK race legend and Masters winner Andrew Titley ahead of a busy year of racing. If you want any info on the next race then check it out here.
Words: Sandy Plenty
Photos: Doc Ward
The sun shone on the Devonshire hillside last weekend, which meant happy racers, and a relieved race organiser, Chris Roberts. Chris and his crew put on a faultless event, with only one delay of 20 minutes due to a rider down. Nearly 200 riders across all categories made the journey to Haldon for the One Industries Mini Enduro.
An extra stage was added last minute, making it a four-stage event with plenty of variation. Stage one was similar to last year – a technical top half with lots of sniper roots that proved problematic for many riders. Once you’d negotiated that, you were on to a fast lower trail-centre section, testing the fittest of riders. With stage one in the bag it was a gentle pedal over to stage two. This is the stage that everyone was buzzing about; the locals call this area ‘Cafe Side’ and the trail they used is named ‘Rusty Pram’, on the other side of the busy A380 road. Having been built by some committed locals these trails are steeper, and contain bigger features, keeping everyone on their toes. Drops, berms and loamy turns made for some fast racing. Stage three took us back over to the trail centre sides – this was the shortest stage, but had plenty of ‘off piste’ sections to keep you focused. One part in particular that was being mentioned around the pits was a deep eroded gully, causing you to clip your pedals if you even wandered an inch off line. A fast lower section found most riders getting into top gear, flying off a table top and over the finish line. One last pedal up a long fire road, through the pit area, and we were at stage four (which in fact was a repeat of stage one). Racers enjoyed the bonus stage, due to having already raced it. The results for stage four where mixed though; some people went a lot quicker, and some noticeably slower. Pro-Am category had some quality riders battling for position.
Rowan Sorrell still has what it takes: 1st place Pro-Am
Rowan Sorrell (Bike Park Wales) took the win, even after a crash, with only half a second separating him from second place rider Robert Williams (Mojo Suspension). Wales’ answer to Shaun Palmer – Leon Rosser (Bike Park Wales) rode hard for a respectable 3rd. Other stand-out results were Rob Newman, who took the win in Seniors (this guy was pinned all weekend). Rich Webster (The Trailead/SantaCruz) showed consistency through all four stages to take the Vets Win over Andy Sadler (Bad Ass Bikes). Jim Buchanan showed his worth taking the stage one win in Vets.
Vini making the SPS crew proud. 1st Junior
Then there was newly signed Junior SPS Syndicate rider Vini Crighton-Poli who took the win by less than half a second. Some close racing went down on this Devon hillside. Rachael Gurney won the Women’s category convincingly with a clear 30-second advantage. Last but not least, Master rider Andrew Titley (Bad Ass Bikes) took the win from team mate Joe Finney. I caught up with Mr Titley just before his race runs, to ask him a few questions about his weekend and the season ahead:
Andrew Titley on route to the Masters win.
DIRT: So here we are at RD1 of the Mini Enduro at Haldon, how are you finding the tracks?
Titley: Yeah yeah, really good. They suit me actually as they are more or less all natural stuff. It’s a little bit greasy with plenty of routes, and it’s really good fun, yeah I’m loving it.
DIRT: 2014 for you is a new team and a new bike, does this come with a new focus?
Titley: Yeah I’m really pushing for the enduro stuff a little bit more this year. I did a fair bit of enduro last year alongside dowhill. I absolutely love it, you get plenty of time on the bike, plus it suits my style of riding. It reminds me of mountain biking back in the day a little bit, just out with your mates.
DIRT: You’re riding for Bad Ass Bikes this year, how’s that working out?
Titley: Yeah I’m riding for Bad Ass Bikes on Intense, dream bikes to be honest. I’m so stoked to be riding on the Carbine 29er, big wheels, I really enjoy riding it. It carries so much speed and the geometry is great. Riding for Box is great, having support from someone who really knows their stuff. It’s really helping me being around Box as he’s a fountain of knowledge when it comes to setup.
DIRT: Will we see you at a downhill race this year?
Titley: Yeah I still plan to do a good handful of BDS races. I’m riding the Intense Evo 951, so it will be interesting to see what it’s like on the slightly bigger wheels. You know, I’m still really stoked to be riding downhill and I don’t want to ever give it up completely. I still enjoy it equally as much. That just about sums up the Mini Enduro at Haldon.
I’d like to point out that a lot of hard work had been done by the FC, locals and Chris Roberts to get the trails running in time, after the recent storms down in Devon. Top work by all involved.
All the info on the races can be found at minienduro.tv