Our blogger James Green of the Leisure Lakes/Yeti Gravity Enduro team reports from the first round of this year’s Fetish Gravity Enduro series. The weather was fine, big names including Tracy Moseley and enduro legend Jerome Clementz turned out to mix it with the general public and the trails were hard, fast and fun. Timing issues played mayhem with on site results but a good time was still had by all…
For those of you who are unaware the first round of the 2012 Fetish UK Gravity Enduro series in Innerleithen has come and gone. The first race was completely sold out, which is awesome news for Gravity Enduro racing here in the UK and interest seems to be growing by the day.
The first round took place in the mountain bike Mecca of Innerleithen in the Scottish borders and it sure didn’t disappoint. Arriving in the car park we struggled to find a spot to pitch up the Leisure Lakes E-Z up as the car park was packed. So many people were fettling their bikes and it was great to see so many people raring to get going. With it being the first round it was a real opportunity to see who had been putting in the miles over the winter. With a number of new faces in the Elite category, including past winner of the Mega Avalanche (Jerome Clementz) and a Downhill World Champion (Tracy Moseley) I couldn’t wait to get going and see where I stood.
The venue has played host to many a successful regional, national and international downhill races but of late has had a number of Gravity Enduro style races held there. Rumours were going round the pits that each lap was around 20 miles and had around 2,000m of climbing so I knew it was going to be a long weekend in the saddle. I made sure I packed an extra pack of Haribo and after giving my new SB66 a thorough car park test, my team mate (John Adams Martin) and I headed on up the hill.
After a short but steep climb of about 40 minutes you reached the top fire road where the run began part way down Cresta run. The run began with some fast sweeping corners through the trees at warp speed and didn’t let up until the tight left hand corner at the finish. If you weren’t awake at the start of the run you sure were at the finish.
Due to descending most of the hill on run 1 you then had to climb right back to the very top where the stage began. This trail (known as Alastair Lee’s) was mainly a natural trail and had more lose rocks and greasy roots than you could shake a stick at. Letting the bike run and staying off the brakes was vital as one dab on a greasy root would have sent you flying.
Following another steady climb of around 40 minutes the stage began with a flat out blast down Point 22 and then wound its way through some tight twisty trees and onto a fire road. The fire road sprint was a case of hitting the dropper post lever to full extension and powering the biggest gear you could possibly push. You hardly had time to catch you breath and you were fired right back into Interstellar which was littered with flat out, boulder strewn rutted shoots which pointed straight down the hill. It was a case of point and shoot and pray that the catch berm didn’t disintegrate when trying to corner at the bottom.
Stage 4 was a real test of all your riding bag of tricks as the beginning was fresh muddy slop, which then dropped into the black route (mainly trail centre type riding) and then into the steepest most technical riding of the day. If you got through this stage cleanly you were having a good day.
The final stage of the day was also used as the qualifying stage on the Saturday so the riders got to know this stage well. The stage followed the 2009 DH national champs course to begin with, starting just above the quarry. The beginning fired you into ‘the tunnel’ at warp speed and sent you into a number of straight line jumps. The speed didn’t drop until a horrible right hand turn on freshly laid gravel on the fire road. Getting the correct gear ready for this was crucial to get going on the long fire road sprint, which followed on into Jane’s Lane and then finally Caddon Bank and on into the finish arena.
Qualifying on Saturday seeded everyone into their race order for Sunday’s race and there were no surprises in the Elite category in that Jerome Clementz qualified fastest by 6 seconds.
For race day the sun shone all day which seemed to put people’s minds off the tiredness and sore legs that most were feeling. As the day went on the mystery of who was putting in the fastest times continued. Not until crossing the finish line would the riders know the results. Unfortunately due to some riders not making their start times at the later stages, start times for some riders had to be adjusted and when it came down to working out the times at the end of the race it took a little longer than expected.
Organiser Steve Parr explained that he wanted to run the race with stricter times between the stages this year, as they do in the European Superenduro races, and with hind sight maybe didn’t realise how fast his old weary legs could pedal, resulting in transition times that were too tight for some riders.
Anyway the results were announced and after looking in more detail it was realised that there had been a slight mistake with the Elite category and overall in that Crawford Carrick Anderson was announced as the Elite and overall winner but in fact Jerome Clementz had won.
These are the published results on the Race Timing Systems website which may show some slight differences to those published at the end of the race.
Bike Soup Under 18
1st Josh Lowe
2nd Will Weston
3rd Phil Atwill
Osprey Europe Women
1st Cher Mills
2nd Sally Evamy
3rd Fiona Thomson
Troy Lee Veteran
1st Justin Grice
2nd Marcus Jones
3rd Phil McGrath
1st Dave Wills
2nd Alan Turnbull
3rd David Heath
Osprey Europe Master
1st Stuart Nicholson
2nd Bruce McLeary
3rd Andy Barlow
Streak Clothing Senior
1st Lewis Kirkwood
2nd Sam Flanagan
3rd David Mirfield
Schwalbe Tyres Elite Women
1st Tracey Moseley
2nd Sarah Newman
3rd Carrie Poole
Continental Tyres Elite Men
1st Jerome Clementz
2nd Crawford Carrick Anderson
3rd Gary Forrest
1st Jerome Clementz
2nd Crawford Carrick Anderson
3rd Gary Forrest
4th Neil Donohue
5th Ralph Jones
I personally thought this was one of the best Gravity Enduro races the UK has staged thus far as it combined amazing stages, a real test of endurance and awesome weather. I think many people agreed, some saying that it was one of the best races they’ve ever done:
Richard Harman 33rd Senior (Stemair racing): “After years of racing downhill I thought I’d give this Enduro a go as I got bored of sitting in the back of uplift trailers. I feel as though this race was a bit of a baptism of fire and think I might need to do a bit more training for the next one. It was like riding five downhill races in one go.”
Gary Forrest 3rd Elite (Orange Bikes): “It’s been a good weekend, the weather has made it. I felt as though I struggled on the more pedally stages but really enjoyed the steeper ones.”
All in all it was a great race and let’s hope that the timing glitches are sorted for the next round at Coed Y Brenin on 28/29th April. Get your entries in soon as it’s almost sold out.
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For further shots of the event, head to Roots & Rain…