It had almost been an entire season since we’d been treated to the delights of a Mini-Enduro, due to director Chris Roberts having been tied up in handling the timing for the UKGE’s. Now past the end of most racing series for 2015, Chris decided to run a ‘late in the year’ race for all the avid Mini-Enduro fans. My mates and I headed down to The Forest of Dean early on Saturday morning for a full weekend of fun on bikes excited at the prospect at riding in one of my favorite places.
For my friends and myself these races are always a treat, because with their relaxed format they never really seem like a race, more of a razz round with your buddies. Saturday isn’t official practice, but the short stages and small transitions are all mapped out for riding. As usual we spent the day checking all these out, my mates Stu and Coop winding each other up about who was quickest, Stu fast and precise at 40 yrs old and Coop hellish fast aggressive but mega sketchy, proving he has a lot to learn at 26 yrs old according to Stu!
The stages were all fun, all in the woods, with natural being the best description for each one. They wound their way down and across the very prime hardwood landscape of the area, tackling root sections, slick (in places) hard packed singletrack dirt and loose freshly cut peaty sections. Nothing was really that hard to ride, but all was technical and challenging enough to be classed as fun. After a great day of riding we also popped over to some fantastic local riding/jump spots hosted by Wide Open Magazine rider, the super fast 16 yr old Charlie Hatton.
Sunday came and we were back, practicing a couple of stages in the morning before racing kicked off at lunch time. I had my new all-singing all-dancing dream-build titanium Kingdom bike for its virgin ride and was slowly getting to grips with it, although struggling with the ridiculous on or off power of the Magura brakes. I had spent the previous day applying the brakes with the same pressure as Hopes and found myself constantly fighting them from locking up. “Follow me in Doose” I said, as we hit stage 3 “I know the lines here” Well that was the last riding I will be doing for a while! I got a good pace on, had a bit of a wobbly moment on the front, panic braked hard and went down like a sack of spuds. The crash wasn’t too bad, but the fact my foot got caught in something and ended up literally pointing the wrong way, meant the end for me.
I sit here now at home, bound to the sofa, ankle having been dislocated, with two fractures and now pinned and screwed, I wonder how I would have got on and am even more pissed off because I did it at one of my favorite races. Anyway life goes on and so did the race (apologies to anyone who got stopped practicing stage three) The riders got through the day as they shipped me off in the yellow donkey bus and as usual the event was a success.
Category winners were Women- Maddy Brown (Pedalabikeaway) | Elite Women- Rachael Gurney (MBUK) | Hardtail- Tobias Pantling (Orange) | Grand Vets- Carl Woodman (QECP Collective) | Vets- Chris Blackmore (Bike Motion) | Masters- Gareth Hopkins (Mojo/Team Skene) | Seniors- Charles Jones | U18- Ruairi Phelan (Kreek Racing Team) | Elite- 1st Leigh Johnson (Marin/Stans No Tubes) 2nd Charlie Hatton (WideopenMag.co.uk) 3rd Andrew Cooper (Enduro-mtb.com)
Full Results: here
Big thanks to Chris for putting on another top weekend and to all my friends who stopped riding and patiently helped me off the hill.
Words: | Jim Buchanan | Photos: FOD Fotos
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