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Datatag UK National Enduro Championships

  •  Enduro, Photography, Reportage

Allan Brenkley (Royal Racing Roots) sending it large towards the finish line flying off the KSdrop

The PMBA Enduro Series has been about for a few years now, it was born back in 2013 when Kev Duckworth and Mike Marsden, the driving force of the team, put on an enduro race at Gisburn Forest. In 2014 the PMBA Enduro Series was created. The series has always maintained its stance about grass roots racing, and it’s clear to the see the progression these guys have made. Where other series have been and gone, the PMBA has grown year on year. With most races selling out, now was the time for something big.

The 2017 Datatag UK National Enduro Championships had been hotly anticipated since it was announced back in 2016 and last weekend did not disappoint.

Kev and Mike the driving force, but also a notably dedicated team, including marshals and medics.

With over 500 riders signed up for the 3 day event, this was going to be the biggest event the PMBA had hosted. Mike Marsden of Borderline Events had already hosted national race events like the downhill national champs, so this weekend was simply another day in the office…..or was it?

The race was based out of Graythwaite, a beautiful and large private estate between the lakes of Windermere and Coniston.

The race came in 2 flavours, the national champs which involved 10 stages across 44 km and approx 5315 ft of climbs and the non-champs which involved 8 stages and approximately 35km. This was a huge day out for all riders. The stages were set amongst the private land of Graythwaite and the mountain bike trail centre of Grizedale.

Many of the trails were fresh cut and with such a differing level of technicality. There was dust, loam, mud, “filthy dirty roots” to quote a rider on stage 7, trail centre and even pick your bike up and run up sharp hill inclines! “If that uphill is included this time Mike, I’ll throw you in the lake” one rider quoted. It was, but I don’t recall Mike going for a swim.

Ride, run or push uphill, this was one physical day out

“filthy dirty roots” even the most skilled of the elite riders could be seen dabbing away through here

The format of the race more akin to the EWS than a shorter days race out with mates. The event was over three days, with 2 full days of practice, followed by a 7 and 1/2 hours loop with transitions that were challenging for the uninitiated. The best bit was the following day being a bank holiday, meaning riders were encouraged to stay the night after and have some beers and compare race stages and admire war wounds.

After 7 1/2 hours in the saddle a well earned beer was in order, Kirkby Lonsdale providing “the Loam Ranger” ale

Van life. Olly Graham settling in for the weekend

Catching up with riders at the end, many were quoting stage 5 as their favourite. This stage was super steep and many compared it to the likes of the Golfie at Inners, in contrast, on the Friday night many were not so convinced by stage 5. This was due to loads of riders stop/starting on their way down during practice.

Given a clear run at it on race day and BOOM……it turned into many riders favourite of the day.

Stage 7 over at Grizedale didn’t have much love. Sections of it were very technical with large roots and loam, but also areas of thick energy sapping mud, that had riders dismounting and running through the thick of it. Even the elite riders could be seen dabbing their feet.

A sharp right turn into thick mud, dismount or ride?

With no flow and thick energy sapping mud, many riders ate some dirt here

In stark contrast on stage 7, riders could find some flow and thrash it through the bluebells

The 2017 Datatag UK National Enduro Championships was won by Matty Stuttard in an amazing 20:41.13, the only person to record a time in the 20 minutes zone, but Matty was being hotly chased by Joe Connell less than 20 seconds behind and Kelan Grant 25 seconds behind. What a race these guys produced!

Tracy Moseley took the overall win in the elite women in another blistering time of 23:27.77 but Katy Winton and Rebecca Baraona were hot on Tracy’s heels, not letting off any pressure throughout the race.

For a full rundown of the results head over here. Talking about a tough competition, you just have to look at the overall fastest times and you’ll see the top 4 Vets in the top 25 out of 400 riders, with one vet Dan Bishop making the top 20 overall. Never rule out the old guys!!

Matty Stuttard taking on a different battle on the podium as he is crowned the Datatag UK National Enduro Champion

Tracy Moseley crowned the Datatag UK National Enduro Champion

Even though many riders quoted this as being the toughest race they had encountered, the atmosphere in the event village was electric, with riders being greeted at the end to spectators cheers if they went big on the drop.

One rider I spoke with said “I think this was a bit beyond me”, but at the end of the day he did the distance. Kudos. It wasn’t just the riders who were finding it tough, the terrain was pretty unforgiving on the bikes, with mechanicals and punctures this would always jeopardise a podium place.

Punctures could be seen here and there

Look closely, this is Tom Wilson without a chain or rear mech from stage 7. He ran the transitions and rode the stages, he still came second place in under 19 men.

Going massive off the KSdrop into the event village during practice. There were 3 drops of varying size, however, due to high winds on the race day the two largest drops were taped off.

Taken at speed, even the smallest drop would send you flying, much like a ski jump

Dropping into the finish line, the beer tent in sight. 7 1/2 hours in the saddle well rewarded

Hiking up to the top of stage 1

The views from the top of stage 1 were superb, and during practice you were excused for taking a quick break

Matty taking the win on his HB.211

Stage 4 was more trail centre, but this meant riders could put on the style

PMBA National Champs Graythwaite Hall 2017

Full throttle and foot out (photo Adam Sherratt)

Stage one, and into dark loamy woods

Stage 1 didn’t provide riders with much of a warm up, it became steep and technical very quickly. One rider quoted “I just seemed to pinball all the way down

So that’s it, two UK National Enduro Champions were crowned at the weekend. Matty Stuttard and Tracy Moseley we salute you. For a full run down of the race results and over 10,000 photos head over to roots and rain here

The official race video is brought to you by whitenosugar productions and can be viewed here

The next PMBA enduro race will be Lee Quarry, another massive 2 day event, more details can be found here.

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