The Enduro World Series has sailed across the Irish sea and landed in Scotland for round three of the series, the Cannondale Alpine Bikes World Enduro at TweedLove.
Swapping the Emerald Isle for the equally green hills of the Tweed Valley, that’s about where the similarities between these two races end. If Ireland was a fairytale, Scotland is more of a suspense story – complete with all the plot twists the genre implies. With eight stages, two long days of racing and a weekend of wild weather in store, who makes it on to the top step of the podium is anyone’s guess.
Riders will be up against eight stages across two days, with an intense 2,695 metres of climbing over 93km. As well as the physicality of the liaisons, the stages themselves are technical – many riders found themselves caught off guard by them last year. Steep drops and dark forests tripped up a lot of racers, but not Tracy Moseley and Nico Lau who secured the win here in 2014.
One rider expected to do well here is man of the hour Greg Callaghan. Riding high after his momentous win last weekend, there’s every chance the Irish man could do something special. He’s familiar with the trails and placed in the top ten last year – he’s also at an advantage that he’s used to riding in the wet.
The area has produced some outstanding talent over the years, so there’s plenty of local riders capable of mixing things up at the top of the table. Scotland’s Joe Barnes had his first taste of the podium when he came third here last year and he was also on form in Ireland last weekend, he was on course for a top three finish until a puncture ended his race. Former downhill world champion Ruaridh Cunningham won a stage here last year and will be looking for more of the same, but unfortunately a crash in practice has ruled out local hero Gary Forrest. In the master’s category living legend and former world cup downhiller Crawford Carrick Anderson will be looking to make his mark, whilst in the women’s race all eyes will be on Peebles’ own Katy Winton.
Also right at home on these trails is Chris Ball, Managing Director of the Enduro World Series, who lives just a stone’s throw from the race. He said: “This weekend’s race is going to be really different to Ireland and not just because of the weather. The trails here are much steeper and two full days of racing means managing fatigue will be really important.
“It’s going to be a tough race, but the trails are so much fun and the fans here are so enthusiastic that I think all the riders are in for a really good time.”
Neil Dalgleish, TweedLove’s Director, said: “The Tweed Valley has got something to test every rider, and that’s reflected in the stages. It’s two big days in the saddle so fitness will be key, but there’s plenty of skill needed on the technical sections too. The possibility of rain means that conditions will be tough – it’s going to make for a very exciting race.
“But TweedLove is about more than just the racing, it’s about the local riding community coming together to work really hard, put on an amazing event and showcase what is we do here all year round – and that’s ride the first class trails we have in our back yard. It’s incredible to see the way the local area has embraced this event and I couldn’t be prouder of what we’ve achieved together.”
You can view all of last year’s video highlights right here on our dedicated Youtube EWS Playlist.. You might want to think about subscribing to our Youtube channel too. It’s free of course.
And finally, check out our gallery of last year’s pics from our top snapper on the ground, Sam Needham.
Standby for more reports, videos and amazing photography as this year’s Scottish EWS unfolds over the coming days.