The Cannonade British Enduro Series rocked into Innerleithen this weeekend for the 5th and final round of the year. The Tweed Valley has played host to the worlds best when the Enduro World Series signed up and raced here in 2014/15, and to add to that the new International race last year which attracted over 500 entries. Innerleithen is well known for it’s downhill biking trails stretching back to the mid 1990’s nurturing some of the best riders in the UK. With the growth of “Enduro racing” the valley has a new life blood flowing through it and this only add’s to the old hardcore downhill racing scene.
The format for the BES is a very different affair to other races and is split over 2 days, Saturday saw the riders head up the local’s favourite hill “The Golfy” to practice and race 2 stages. 1st stage was a classic Repeat Offender then over to the other side of the hill to drop down into Waterworld. Times from these 2 stages were added and used to seed the riders for Sundays showdown to determin who was going to come out on top and take the over all series wins. Coming to Scotland in October for a race you’d expect a cold and wet one but the weather gods have been kind to Si Paton and is crew. It hasn’t rained for weeks so the trails are dry and dusty and running super quick.
Sunday started of with a thick blanket of cloud draped over the valley, a light shower of rain through the night hadn’t really got through the trees to the ground so the trails were still bone dry. Stages for the day were a lesser know local classic Prospacker which has a bit of everything starting with a steep chute into off camber roots and tree furrows. After that you turn down left into some sweet steep switchbacks down to a fast traverse through a boggy stream and finished with another few steep switchbacks into another stream crossing.
Second stage on Sunday was the old Alistair Lees enduro classic, this was the shortest stage of the weekend but probably the most sessioned one with so many lines to choose from. It’s exposed rocks and roots just spit you from one side of the trail to the other if you get of your line. Here Veteran winner Andrew Titley misses the tight line and ends up trying to thread his way through the stumps and rocks.
A stream of riders head back up stage 4 to try and get the line choices sorted out, so many to choose from and deviate from them and you’d pay the price of dropping valuable seconds.
Stage 5 and the last of the day was a super fun run down the Cresta DH trail into the Gold bottom section cutting across down into the gully spitting you out down across the road into the event arena and across the finish line. Polly Henderson may only be 15 yrs old but she can certainly shred that bike taking the women’s win by a huge margin of 2 minutes. One to look out for in the future for sure.
Bex Baraona is fresh back from an amazing years racing all over the world in the EWS ending up 7th in the world, she didn’t mess around here either taking the win by 23 seconds and winning all 5 stages.
Transitions over the weekend were pretty tight but a cheery affair, well until the dropped down into stage 3 that is..
Junior rider Ian Taylor was flying all weekend taking all 5 stage wins from second placed fellow Base student rider Corey Watson.
A group of riders looking down into the big drop into stage 3 and figuring out how to get a clean one round the tight right hander.
Hardtail rider Tom Dunn had no problem with it and took the win today along with the overall for the series.
After taking a hard knock to the head on Saturday Oliver Parton rode a steady fast pace to get third on the weekend but it was enough to take the overall youth title.
Jamie Edmondson brought his DH skills to the enduro table this weekend and took the youth win by a fair margin of 59 seconds.
Another DH racer Pete Williams thought he’d have a bash at this enduro racing this weekend and surprised himself by coming away with the win and the fastest time of the day. Rumours have already started that he might be considering a move away from DH…
Before we wrap things up here a special shout out to Si Paton and his crew who have battled all year to make this event work, lets hope they get the support next year and make this national series a success it deserves to be.
Fair play to Lewis Summers as most would just call it a day when you snap your rear chain stay. No not going to change/borrow a bike and take a 5 minute penalty what we’ll do is glue and gorilla tape the frame and cable tie it together. Lewis then pushed and ran with the bike to the top whilst glue set and dried. He then hammered the bike round the last 3 stages to take 2nd place and 2nd overall in the series!! #nevergiveup
Second place behind Pete Williams this weekend was enough for Leigh Johnson to take the overall elite series title.
Struggling with his bottle of champers Pete got well and truly hosed down with the stuff and dropped his bottle in the process.
Your overall winners podium for the 2016 British Enduro Series.