Date/Location: Ae Forest 7 May/Kielder 11th June/Innerleithen 15th July/Eastridge 6th August/Afan 10th September
Price: £60www.ukgravityenduro.co.uk Description
Enduro racing is a cross country based event and is normally run on an existing red route cross country loop. The event is run like a stage rally event where each rider has to complete a set amount of stages, most of the timed stages will be downhill but some will have uphill sections. Each event will consist of five competitive stages where you will be set off as an individual with a gap between each rider. At the end of each stage you will ride on a non–timed section to get to the next stage, this will involve riding uphill. The times for the link sections will be very generous so you don’t have to ride quick on these sections, you will have time to take it easy. The rider with the quickest overall time for the five timed stages will win their category…there will be no waiting around to find out your results.Rider’s view, Steven Jones
Timing was always an issue at the three previous staged descents of UK’s forest centres. However all is about to change as this new series is set to be electronically timed and manually backed up, “A UK enduro has never been timed to this level.” Should prove an exciting series although the challenge will be to get off the worn out ribbons of man made trails.
Steve Parr: UK Gravity Enduro
Dirt: Steve really exciting news, we finally have a series in the UK. Why has it taken so long? Mega and Downieville been going 15 years, French enduro series seven, we’ve had trail centres for nearly two decades, 24 hour races, but only a couple of Mash Up’s which is the nearest thing.
Steve: Yeah, we’re really excited over the way the series is coming together, we have a great title sponsor in 661, all the categories are sponsored, top three all get prizes and we have some great spot prizes from BOS and Riviera Freeride, to name a couple. Entries are a little slow, but we are presuming this is people just curious about how it will go after some disasters at this format. Your gonna have to remember this is the UK, clouded in red tape and health and safety rules, we are still jumping through hoops for certain parties, also we only have a few mountains here, no Alp’s or a massive mountainbike community yet!All the GE events will be based in forest trail centres?
All but one of the rounds are based around trail centres, but there are going to be some twists in what people might expect just coming to a trail centre.What Euro events will GE be comparable to?
I’ve not been out to Europe to race, so can’t give you an answer to that, all I can say is that we are getting a bit of interest from the Euro riders about coming over. In the words of one Euro racer, “the UK has finally discovered Enduro, we may be in trouble”.Why will the entry fee be twice that of Euro equivalents?
That good question again, well the timing system we are using has manual back up, this means we need 12 staff to ensure the system runs. Stage 5 will be timed into a finish arena, this all costs money, a lot of money, £7K a round. Then you’ve got FC charges, BC insurance, private land owners fee’s, toilets…the list is almost endless and we get no local money from the Councils or BC. Hope that helps?How will the stages be ‘tuned’?
Every venue will be different, we are trying to mix some of them up as much as possible, we’re close to a perfect 50/50 mix at Ae and Inners of trail and natural terrain. Eastridge (Round 4) is all natural trail, with some great old–school descents.What will be the longest stage do you think?
Longest stage at the moment is about 7–8 minutes, but talking to you at Dirt HQ, there are some long sections at Afan we haven’t found yet.Will there be any off–piste riding or solely on established formal trails?
We are working with the FC to put some ‘off piste’ stuff in at as many rounds as possible, were looking for the biggest grin factor here, not the most knackered.What type of rider is going to dominate the series?
Going to stick my neck out here and say, a fit, Expert/Elite DH’er, they will have the skill level to gain grip and seconds, where the XC rider is not tested this way in the UK.What bike would you advise?
5 or 6 inches of usable travel, 150mm fork with bolt through hub, a drop down seat post, but my main thing would be to keep it as close to 30lbs as possible, you don’t want it to kill you on the climbs or flattish sections.Eastridge could turn out to be a UK national DH throwback to 12 years ago?
Round 4 should be a classic. Alex Langley and his crew have been doing some great stuff over at Easty’, there’s some quality new sections gone in over towards Snailbeach side. The likes of Crawford, Titley, Longden and yourself will no doubt remember the NPS there in the early 90’s; yes we are using some of those runs.Where do you want to take this sport?
Plans are already afoot to get BC rankings and move this sport forward. As to where it may take us? Hosting Euro rounds, tying in with Euro series, a World Cup series for Enduro, who knows? One thing you can guarantee is the UK riders will be pushing the top spots of the sport and if all goes to plan the UK series will be the place to be seen.