Words and all Photos: Jerry Tatton | @jwdtphotography
Additional Photography where credited: Adam Sherratt
Above: Snowdonia can be seen from the Marin trail……….(obviously when the cloud’s not low and it’s not raining heavily)
It’s been more than 20 years since I have been to this part of the UK. In what seems like a previous life I stayed at the barracks just outside Betws-y-Coed whilst doing some training with the Royal Regiment Artillery. When asked if I’d join Adam (a good photography friend) to photograph the Welsh Enduro Series, there was absolutely no hesitation to return! Wales is an amazing place, steeped in history and industry with vast slate mines, beautiful valleys and some pretty impressive mountains.
Darren Mansell pinning it through the berms on Stage 1
The Welsh Enduro Series is a race series organised by Borderline, the guys that also bring us The National Downhill championships and the ever popular PMBA races.
David McKendry keeping it low on a jump in stage 3 @Adam Sherratt
The venue for this race was the Marin Trail just outside Betws-y-Coed. In the grand scheme of things this was a reasonably tame trail for enduro, but having spoken to a few of the riders, the vibes were really good. When I say tame, that does not account for the weather that North Wales threw into the mix, nor the characteristic grey slate, that provided some evil little snipers which caused several riders to puncture! The really tough reality, that puncturing during a stage is the end of the game as far as putting in a competitive time.
Daniel Cooke on the long, and slightly uphill firewood sprint. Image: Sherratt
David McKendry giving it some serious speed on stage 3, in the jump zone!
The race consisted of 3 timed stages within a loop of approximately 13 miles. Stage 1 and 3 were close to the event centre based in the forestry car park. Stage 2 was more of a hike to get to, being approximately 5 miles out towards the other side of the hill.
The Marin trail itself is quoted as being a must to ride in North Wales, this being one of the first dedicated MTB trails to be made. The trail is a true classic with big climbs, big descents, singletrack – and fabulous views of the Snowdonia mountains along the way.
Having said that about the Snowdonia views, the weather could not have been any more brutal, with low clouds and sustained and biblical rainfall at times, just before the race got started.
Phil Camsell looking loose through the jumps.
Most riders would have completed their practice session in the morning, before the heavens opened though. The final stage was a behemoth of a stage in length taking the fastest riders in the region of 5 ½ minutes to complete. This stage took in some superb berms, rocks and some pretty sweet jumps when taken at speed.
Phil Roberts, your overall winner, cutting into the sharp flat corner on stage 3 on his Cannonade Lefty hardtail. Image: Sherratt
All in all 122 riders signed in to race. Fastest man down the stages was Phil Roberts on his hardtail in a stunning 10:48.51. Second place was James Green in 11:10.49. The fastest woman was Nicky Healy in 13:34.76 and second place was Kirsty Townsend in 14:42.37.
Mark Hudson getting air where there was little air to be had.
Borderlines put on many races throughout the year and with no exceptions, this was another well organised belter of an event in some beautiful North Wales territory. Full credit to Mike Marsden and his team again, for another belting race!
Credit to the marshals, who kept their spirits high throughout the biblical rainfall.
John Pritchard looking ahead for a line without evil jagged Welsh slate. Image: Sherratt
Will Langley negotiating slippery roots. Image :Sherratt
Jordan Ward giving it some style…….we photographers like a bit of style!
Photographs for Descent World by Dialed in UK, who are Adam Sherratt & Jerry Tatton. They have extra images available to purchase on Roots and Rain.
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